The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Wed., Mar. 31, 1999

First Session

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ. - Pictou Co.: School Closures - Oppose, Ms. E. O'Connell 5263
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Nova Scotia Forest Production Survey, 1997, Hon. K. MacAskill 5264
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Educ. - YNN: Proposal - Rejected, Hon. W. Gaudet 5265
Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Rural Communities - Commitment,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 5268
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2469, Agric. - Cranberry Mgt. Course (Coldbrook): Success -
Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 5271
Vote - Affirmative 5272
Res. 2470, Nat. Res. - Moose Hunting: Safety - Exercise,
Hon. K. MacAskill 5272
Vote - Affirmative 5273
Res. 2471, Commun. Serv. - Family Violence Prevention Week: Success -
Acknowledge, Hon. F. Cosman 5273
Vote - Affirmative 5274
Res. 2472, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Y2K Challenge: Commitment
(Employees) - Recognize, Hon. C. Huskilson 5274
Vote - Affirmative 5274
Res. 2473, Health - Dorothy Spence (TecKnowledge Healthcare
Systems): Natl. IWAY Award - Congrats., Hon. J. Smith 5274
Vote - Affirmative 5275
Res. 2474, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Hwy. No. 125 (Hwy. No. 105-
Leitches Creek, C.B. Co.) Twinning - Tender Acknowledge,
Hon. C. Huskilson 5275
Vote - Affirmative 5276
Res. 2475, Commun. Serv. - NSASW: Care/Compassion - Congrats.,
Hon. F. Cosman 5276
Vote - Affirmative 5277
Res. 2476, Agric. - Holstein Convention (Natl. [Hfx. 20/04-26/04/99]):
Opportunity - Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 5277
Vote - Affirmative 5277
Res. 2477, Health - Blood Donations: Easter Weekend - Give,
Hon. J. Smith 5278
Vote - Affirmative 5278
Res. 2478, Human Res. - Bowl for Kids' Sake: Participation - Congrats.,
Hon. F. Cosman 5278
Vote - Affirmative 5279
Res. 2479, Human Res. - Women's Commun. Econ. Dev. Network:
Success - Wish, Hon. F. Cosman 5279
Vote - Affirmative 5280
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2480, Exco - C.B.: Dept. & Agency Officials [N.S. New] - Locate,
Mr. R. Chisholm 5280
Res. 2481, SCS: Senior Citizens Day (N.S.) - Declare, Dr. J. Hamm 5281
Vote - Affirmative 5281
Res. 2482, Educ. - Ronald MacNeil (UCCB): Natl. IWAY Award -
Congrats., Ms. Helen MacDonald 5281
Vote - Affirmative 5282
Res. 2483, Culture - Anna. Reg. Commun. Arts Council: Success -
Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 5282
Vote - Affirmative 5283
Res. 2484, Fish. - Resource Harvesting: Mgt. Plan - Develop,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 5283
Res. 2485, Sports - Hockey (Stora Invitational Minor Tournament):
Participants/Organizers - Congrats., Hon. R. White 5284
Vote - Affirmative 5284
Res. 2486, Educ. - Dartmouth HS: Model Parliament -
Commitment Congrats., Mr. D. Chard 5284
Vote - Affirmative 5285
Res. 2487, Newfoundland & Labrador - Confederation: Anniv. 50th -
Congrats., Dr. J. Hamm 5285
Vote - Affirmative 5286
Res. 2488, Nunavut Territory: Welcome - Extend, Hon. D. Downe 5286
Vote - Affirmative 5286
Res. 2489, Health: Densitometers - Increase, Mr. B. Taylor 5287
Res. 2490, NDP (N.S.) Leader - Role Models: Better - Find,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 5287
Res. 2491, Fin. - Taxation: Reduction Permanent - Support,
Hon. D. Downe 5288
Vote - Affirmative 5288
Res. 2492, Sports - Curling: Colleen Jones Rink (Cdn. Champs.) -
Success Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 5289
Vote - Affirmative 5289
Res. 2493, Halifax, Port of - Maersk & Sealand: Securement -
Efforts Applaud, Hon. D. Downe 5289
Vote - Affirmative 5290
Res. 2494, NDP (N.S.) Leader: Sysco Performance - Contrast Sharp,
Mr. P. MacEwan 5290
Res. 2495, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Y2K: Readiness Excellent - Commend,
Hon. R. MacKinnon 5291
Res. 2496, Educ. - Charles P. Allen HS: Mengie Shulman Awards -
Winners Congrats., Hon. F. Cosman 5291
Vote - Affirmative 5292
Res. 2497, Leader of Opposition - Opinion (Negative N.S.): B.C. -
Move, Mr. Charles MacDonald 5292
Res. 2498, Educ. - Charles P. Allen HS: Recognition Night -
Honours Students Congrats., Hon. F. Cosman 5293
Vote - Affirmative 5294
Res. 2499, Educ. - Learning Abilities Assoc. (N.S.): Efforts -
Recognize, Mr. J. Muir 5294
Vote - Affirmative 5294
Res. 2500, Anna. Royal - Attractions Canada Awards Nominee: MLAs -
Visit Encourage, Mr. L. Montgomery 5294
Vote - Affirmative 5295
Res. 2501, Sports - Hockey (Air Canada Atl. Reg. Championships-Dart.):
Best Wishes - Extend, Hon. J. Smith 5295
Vote - Affirmative 5296
Res. 2502, Health - Long-Term Care Beds: Announcement - Encourage,
Mr. M. Baker 5296
Res. 2503, Sports - Hockey (CIAU) - Randy Gregg Award:
Brad Peddle (St. F.X.) - Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 5297
Vote - Affirmative 5297
Res. 2504, EMO - Muns.: Readiness - Efforts Indicate, Mr. J. DeWolfe 5297
Res. 2505, Sports - Curling (Mixed Champs. [Can.]): Paul Flemming
(Musquodoboit Hbr.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Colwell 5298
Vote - Affirmative 5299
Res. 2506, Fin. - Film Industry: Tax Credit - Extend, Mr. G. Balser 5299
Res. 2507, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Survival Systems (Dart.):
Expansion - Congrats., Hon. R. White 5299
Vote - Affirmative 5300
Res. 2508, Culture - Springhill & Area Irish Festival Soc.:
Musical Production - Congrats., Mr. M. Scott 5300
Vote - Affirmative 5301
Res. 2509, Educ. - Hfx. Youth Foundation: Family Learning -
Commitment Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet 5301
Res. 2510, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Hfx. Internat. Profile-Recognize -
Regions (N.S.)-Rivalry Discourage, Mr. G. Fogarty 5302
Vote - Affirmative 5302
Res. 2511, Educ. - Cabot HS: Students (St. F.X. 1st Yr.) -
Teachers Congrats., Hon. K. MacAskill 5302
Vote - Affirmative 5303
Res. 2512, Leader of Opposition - Coal Industry: Dockrill Proposal -
Position Reveal, Mr. P. MacEwan 5303
Res. 2513, C.B. Centre MLA - Devco: Res. 2376 - Actions Reflect,
Hon. M. Samson 5304
Res. 2514, Sports - Hockey (SEDMHA Internat. Minor Tournament-
Dart.): Organizers - Congrats., Hon. J. Smith 5304
Vote - Affirmative 5305
Res. 2515, C.B. East NDP Exec.: Resignations - Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 5305
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 758, Educ. - P3 Schools: Cost - Alternative, Mr. R. Chisholm 5306
No. 759, Sysco: Board of Directors - Role, Dr. J. Hamm 5307
No. 760, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Mac Timber: Monies - Investigation,
Mr. D. Dexter 5308
No. 761, Sysco: Hoogovens - Cost, Dr. J. Hamm 5310
No. 762, Educ.: School Closures - Commitment, Mr. R. Chisholm 5311
No. 763, Educ.: School Boards - Deficits, Mr. E. Fage 5312
No. 764, Educ.: Strait Reg. School Bd. - Commun. Consultation,
Ms. E. O'Connell 5313
No. 765, Educ.: Judique/Creignish Schools - Plans,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 5314
No. 766, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Mac Timber - Information Refusal,
Mr. G. Balser 5315
No. 767, Educ. - P3 Schools: Sale - Prevent, Mr. W. Estabrooks 5316
No. 768, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Pipeline (Hfx.) - Size,
Mr. G. Archibald 5317
No. 769, Educ. - P3 Schools: Commercial Enterprise - Guidelines
Develop, Mr. P. Delefes 5318
No. 770, Lbr.: Volunteer Firefighters - Assist, Mr. M. Baker 5319
No. 771, Educ.: Elmsdale Elem. School - Status, Mr. John MacDonell 5320
No. 772, Fish. - Mussel Farm (Tatamagouche Bay): Application -
Status, Mr. B. Taylor 5321
No. 773, Educ. - P3 Schools: Enhancements - Reduction,
Ms. E. O'Connell 5322
No. 774, Educ. - Horton HS: Cost - Increase, Mr. J. Holm 5323
No. 775, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Cumb. South: Property Assessments -
Increase, Mr. M. Scott 5324
No. 776, Educ. - P3 Schools: Horton HS - Ownership Disclose,
Mr. H. Epstein 5325
No. 777, Commun. Serv. - Secure Treatment: Ex-Province - Number,
Mr. J. Muir 5326
No. 778, Educ. - Schools: Communities - Accountability,
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 5327
No. 779, Health - Professions: Complementary - Legislation,
Mr. G. Moody 5328
No. 780, Educ. - N.S. Commun. Col.: Assistance - Increase,
Mr. P. Delefes 5329
No. 781, Environ. - Water Testing: Muns. Responsibility - Date,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 5330
No. 782, Fin. - Atl. Lottery Corp.: Withdrawal - Plans,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 5331
No. 783, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Truckers (Leon Thompson-TANS) -
Status, Mr. John MacDonell 5332
No. 784, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Unemployment - Definition,
Mr. E. Fage 5333
No. 785, Health - Care: Universal - Definition, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5334
No. 786, Educ. - Chignecto-Central School Bd.: Brookfield -
School Improvements, Mr. B. Taylor 5335
No. 787, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Paving: Priorities List - Table,
Mr. John Deveau 5336
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 66, Education Act 5337
Ms. E. O'Connell 5337
Hon. W. Gaudet 5340
Mr. E. Fage 5342
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 5344
No. 70, Fisheries Organizations Consultation (1998) Act 5346
Mr. John Deveau 5347
Hon. K. Colwell 5348
Mr. N. LeBlanc 5351
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5354
Mr. L. Montgomery 5356
Hon. M. Samson 5357
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Rural Businesses: Trade Missions - Success:
Mr. H. Fraser 5358
Mr. D. Dexter 5361
Mr. C. Parker 5362
Mr. G. Balser 5363
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thurs., Apr. 1st at 12:00 p.m. 5366

[Page 5263]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 1999

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we start with the daily routine, I would advise members that the Adjournment debate was submitted by the honourable member for Antigonish. It reads:

Therefore be it resolved that many rural Nova Scotia businesses are enjoying positive results from export sales that come as a direct result of international trade missions sponsored by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

That debate will take place at 6:00 p.m. this evening.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition bearing 225 signatures from residents of Pictou County who are concerned about public-private partnering in the construction of new schools. The operative clause reads, "We, the undersigned, are opposed to the closure of Pictou County's publicly owned, community High Schools and the construction of two amalgamated privately leased (P3) Mega High Schools. (We do support quality schools built and owned, when and where needed, by the taxpayers of Nova Scotia)". I have affixed my signature to the document.

5263

[Page 5264]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, on an introduction, I would like to bring to the attention of the House, the presence of a most distinguished Nova Scotian sitting in the east gallery, a very noted Cape Breton broadcaster and a distinguished candidate for the Liberal Party in the riding of Cape Breton East, Mr. David Wilson. (Applause)

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, in response to a question asked in the House yesterday, I want to table a report called the Nova Scotia Forest Production Survey and for the benefit of all members of the House, this report is for 1997. It is dated September 10, 1998 and the next report will be available next year around that time.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to introduce to the House, through you, a distinguished Pictonian involved in sports. I am also pleased to announce, he is the Liberal candidate for Pictou West, Mr. Paul Landry. Would you please rise? (Applause)

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, if you would allow me, I would like to make an introduction first.

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. GAUDET: In the east gallery, we have the presence of Mr. Frank Barteaux with the Nova Scotia School Boards Association and I would ask him to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 5265]

AN HON. MEMBER: How come you didn't mention his athletic career?

MR. GAUDET: We will be back on a future day.

Mr. Speaker, our government believes in new ideas and we believe in keeping an open mind when new ideas come along. Several weeks ago, the Youth News Network came knocking and this was a return visit but they said they were bringing something new. Quite frankly, as a teacher myself, parts of the proposal did not sit right with me but as minister, my approach is to listen to all sides before taking a position, which I stated earlier this week.

Mr. Speaker, let me assure you, from the outset there has been one concern and one concern only and that concern is, can YNN, Youth News Network, benefit students in the classroom? The school board in Ontario believes it can. Before we shut the door on YNN for Nova Scotia schools, we wanted to take a look.

I had a member of my staff visit that Ontario school. I also spoke with many Nova Scotians, all with the best interests of children at heart. I spoke with parents and teachers; I heard from school boards; I heard from the President of our Federation of Home and School Associations and the President of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. Mr. Speaker, I believe I speak on their behalf when I say we are open to new ideas but, after learning more about the proposal and listening to Nova Scotians, it is time to turn the Youth News Network off.

Let me briefly discuss why, Mr. Speaker. The issue that has concerned me from day one is the loss of class time. Every minute a teacher spends with a student is an opportunity to help that young person succeed and reach their dreams. Perhaps more to the point, every minute taken away from classroom time is an opportunity lost and you can't replace that time with your teacher, you can't replace that opportunity lost with a television screen.

A second point. A well-known media literacy teacher in the Halifax area raised something worth discussing. He argues, young people are flooded with television commercials and media images every day. Don't we have a responsibility to help students become media literate, to become wise consumers, not just of products but wise consumers of information? The answer to these questions is clearly, yes, but teachers, not YNN, must control what is presented in the classroom.

A final point, Mr. Speaker. There has been a lot of talk about how much technology YNN would bring to schools. In my opinion, it doesn't matter how sweet the pot is, if YNN is wrong for students, it has no place in Nova Scotia schools.

I might make the point, Mr. Speaker, as a government we are already making a tremendous commitment to technology. All schools throughout Nova Scotia are now connected to the Internet and, before the school year ends, we will begin delivering 6,000

[Page 5266]

computers to 180 junior high schools and high schools, to be brought to classrooms over the next few years.

You see, Mr. Speaker, we support technology in our schools, but through investment, not through television ads. So, in closing, as a province we continue to be open to new ideas. We continue to support partnerships that are good for students. We evaluate each partnership on its merit and we welcome those that are good for our primary concern, children and young people in classrooms across the province. Unfortunately, YNN does not pass that test. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for sending a copy in advance of this statement. I do appreciate it. It makes it possible to prepare a brief response.

I also want to say, on behalf of some many people who have spoken to us about the Youth News Network, thank goodness that the minister has made the right decision here. (Applause) People who care about education, all over this province and all over this country, will breathe a little bit easier today, Mr. Speaker, because of the decision that the minister has made.

I want to point out to the minister, and as the minister correctly said, YNN has been around here before and YNN was run out of Dodge once before. Mr. Speaker, I was part of the Halifax District School Board Committee that made that possible. When Rod MacDonald, the President of YNN was asked why he had come back to Nova Scotia, he said, simple, P3, the climate is ripe in Nova Scotia for business involvement in education.

Mr. Speaker, this government has the perception all over this country that everything here is for sale and that is truly unfortunate. What educators know, and what families and parents know, is that what we don't need is more commercial television in classrooms. What we need is critical thinking about commercial information media and what we need is not more consumerism, but more citizenship, more critical thinking about what is important to us in our society.

[2:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, what we found out this time is what we already knew, YNN is no good for schools. This brings us to the issue that we have been speaking to the government about both in the House and out for a long time and that is the necessity for clear guidelines around business involvement in schools. The Nova Scotia Teachers' Union has done it, the Canadian Teachers' Federation has done it a number of years ago.

[Page 5267]

It is clear that the minister's good instincts at this moment could be elaborated upon if the minister were to take the bull by the horns, sit down and prepare in consultation with those others who know education the kinds of clear guidelines that would enable school boards and schools to make good decisions for education without going through this free-for-all every time. I urge the minister to do that. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I too rise today to thank the minister for the position he has taken and to express my appreciation for receiving a copy in advance of the session this afternoon. It is such a wonderful courtesy when a copy of a ministerial statement is afforded to the Opposition members previous to the sitting of the House and allows us a small bit of time for that preparation. I want to thank the minister for his courtesy. (Applause)

The issue of the minister's proclamation today on he and his department's view and the government's view on YNN not being in the school is the right and just one. That decision, although it took this time when YNN came to Nova Scotia two weeks to happen, it is important that it did happen, because the minister and his department have a strong responsibility to set down that policy for school boards across this province. Not as was portrayed in the paper over the last several weeks that it should be the decision of the school boards to decide if that type of advertising, that hard-core commercial advertising would be employed in our school system. I am glad to see the minister today taking a firm stand.

Many people have come forward to me on this very issue of advertising in our schools. Another 12.5 minutes a day bombarded by strong commercialism oriented to sell children commercial products will not enhance their understanding of mass media technology, but what it will do is create a desire for consumer goods and thus was the reason why YNN wanted to be in the schools in Nova Scotia.

When we look at what really needs to be the focus of this government and all parliamentarians here, it is the focus of resources for the classroom. I know a program was announced last year dealing with $82 million over three years in technology enrichment for the classroom, part of that, among others for universities and other sources of adult education; that is a start.

There are classrooms in this province, I visit the classroom teachers, their parents tell me that they are photocopying textbooks so that they can have a lesson plan. Well, when we are talking about commercial advertising in the classroom and some classroom teachers and students are using photocopies of textbooks, there is a real problem with resources in the classroom. I implore the minister, let's make sure that the money is in the classroom for the students so that the quality of education is equitable across this province and fairly administered and put forward to all students.

[Page 5268]

I thank the minister again on taking a firm stand and the stand is the right stand. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education on an introduction.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery today, to you and through you and to all members of the House, I would like to introduce Sandra Himmelman, President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations. I would ask Mrs. Himmelman to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the members of the House, in the east gallery, Heiner Mangels, President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Senior Citizens and Pensioners. Alongside him is the Vice-President, Eileen Amirault. (Applause)

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

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement about this government's commitment to economic development in rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, last Friday the honourable Leader of the Opposition accused the government of focusing its economic strategy on Halifax to the exclusion of rural Nova Scotia. That suggestion is ludicrous and it ignores a number of simple facts. Economic Development and Tourism is doing business with more than 900 Nova Scotia companies in this province and fully 80 per cent of those are in rural areas. They are companies like Blue Mist Pewter of Cumberland County, which we helped to hire more staff and move into export markets; companies like Blue Wave Seafoods, which is expanding its value-added processing operation in Port Mouton with our assistance; companies like WATTS Communications, which we are helping to establish a 220 person call centre on the South Shore; companies like Scotia Rainbow, which we have helped set up a major fish farm and processing facility in Arichat, a business that will employ 75 residents of Richmond County.

Last year, Mr. Speaker, our Business Development Corporation provided $50 million in loans and loan guarantees to Nova Scotia companies, and $42 million of those loans went to companies outside of metro Halifax. Let me say those numbers again, $42 million out of $50 million went to rural Nova Scotia companies. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, does that sound like a metro-focused policy? I do not think so. We operate 10 business service centres in communities from Yarmouth to Sydney which provide solid business planning, councilling and financial support to local companies and entrepreneurs. Last year we led more companies from rural Nova Scotia on more trade missions than ever before. Companies like Fundy Fibreglass of Digby County, which scooped

[Page 5269]

up $2 million in sales on a two day trip to Boston; companies like Muskrat Lumber of Summerville, which came home from New England with enough new business that it plans to hire 10 new workers.

In fact, the majority of companies that participate in our missions are from outside metro Halifax. These companies returned to their communities with $93 million in new contracts, Mr. Speaker, and they created hundreds of new jobs for Nova Scotians in the process. Last week we held our first export rally in Truro. That two day event provided direct export preparation assistance to more than 100 companies, virtually all of which are based in rural areas. The event was such a success that we are already planning our next rally for Sydney.

Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the Opposition chose Sydney as the place to make his comments. There is no question that Cape Breton is facing serious economic challenges and we are working with community and business leaders to find solutions. I see I have the attention of the Leader of the Opposition. In the last few months alone (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: He can give it out, Mr. Speaker, but he cannot take it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable minister will address the Chair.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: In the last few months alone we have helped to bring a call centre to Sydney that is employing 260 people. We have invested in the expansion of an auto parts plant that has led to 58 new jobs. We have invested in the expansion of an automotive software company, TIM Dealer Systems, that is creating new jobs and new exports from the area. We are investing in tourism by developing the Sydney Waterfront. We are investing in a new commercial centre in Glace Bay and we are supporting the co-op movement by investing in a new freezer facility in Cape Breton, an investment that is saving 13 jobs. (Applause)

We are also supporting the development of new industries in Cape Breton, Mr. Speaker. We have made major investments in the Filmscape sound stage and Pit Pony production. We have supported the high-tech Silicon Island complex, the Strait region's community-based IT initiative, SENCEN, and we are supporting a host of small and medium- sized knowledge-based companies.

A strong Halifax economy is good for the entire province and so is the promotion of rural Nova Scotia and industrial Cape Breton. Economic development of rural Nova Scotia is and will continue to be one of our top priorities. We will continue to support projects and

[Page 5270]

business ventures that grow from local initiative and that build on the strengths of communities, creating jobs and increasing exports in the process. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that we got their attention. I just wanted to start by thanking the minister for actually making this statement available a few minutes before the House started; it was a brief time before but at least an opportunity to read it beforehand is certainly appreciated.

That sort of ends the congratulations of the minister. (Laughter) I have to say that I am gravely disappointed in this statement because what the people of Nova Scotia need is the truth about what is going on in the Department of Economic Development and not self-congratulatory bumf?

What the minister can do is release the report of the Department of Economic Development as required by law. That's what he can do. (Applause) What he can do, Mr. Speaker, is he can demand the release of the forensic audit into Dynatek so the people of Nova Scotia know what is going on. What he can do is he can announce the open investigation into Mac Timber so that those creditors who were ripped off by that company know what is going on. Why doesn't the minister announce the actual number of jobs that are created from trade missions instead of some mystical job numbers based on projections. That's what he can do.

The shroud of failure that's around the Department of Economic Development is the troubled minister's own fault. Nova Scotians don't need more platitudes, what they need is the truth about the department.

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to the minister's announcement around a plan for rural economic development. It is long overdue. I remember when we were entertaining discussions around the budget estimates that that very issue was raised and here we are almost to the end of March and it is good to see something is finally happening. It is unfortunate that it took so long.

The problem is that we do, in fact, have a dual economy in this province and platitudes and fine words to the contrary, that is the reality. When one looks at the unemployment statistics it is very evident that rural Nova Scotia has a higher level of unemployment than metro currently faces. It is equally true that what is good for metro is good for rural Nova Scotia. But having said that, we need to have a long-range strategy that builds on the strengths of the communities.

[Page 5271]

Community-driven economic development is the only way in which to truly revitalize rural Nova Scotia. That is the strategy that has to be put down on paper and developed, not exclusively by the Department of Economic Development, but by consultation at the community level, entertaining input from various stakeholders. (Interruption) It is, indeed, striking a balance.

The other issue is that the problems that are faced in rural Nova Scotia are not necessarily addressed by simply throwing money at what may or may not be a good business plan. We have seen evidence of that on a number of occasions in the last little while, the fact that throwing money does not equate to long-term, sustainable employment. The problems that are evident are that these announcements are short-sighted and, in fact, based solely to garner media attention, good news that may in fact gloss over real inherent problems within the department and within what remains to be a primarily resource-driven economy. In order to develop a robust economy in rural Nova Scotia, what we need to do is move away from traditional fisheries and lumbering operations into a more diverse economic base. Hopefully, that is what the minister is intending to do. As we enter into negotiations, discussions about the next budget, that is what will happen.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, for members of the House, I draw your attention to very honoured guests in the Speaker's Gallery. It is my pleasure, after hosting for the last couple of hours a very special guest, a friend of Nova Scotia, His Excellency Denis Bauchard, who is the Ambassador of France to Canada; accompanying the Ambassador is the Consul General of France in Moncton and Halifax, Olivier Arribe. I would ask both of them if they would please stand and accept the warm welcome of this House. (Applause)

[2:30 p.m.]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2469

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

Whereas a very successful Cranberry Management Course was held in Coldbrook on March 23rd; and

Whereas the course also marked the 1st Anniversary of the establishment of Nova Scotia's Cranberry Growers' Association; and

[Page 5272]

Whereas Nova Scotia's cranberry sector holds a great deal of growth potential for the province's agricultural industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the Cranberry Management Course for helping our present and future growers and the 1st Anniversary of the Nova Scotia Cranberry Growers' Association as evidence of the progressive growth of the province's cranberry industry.

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 Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2470

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

Whereas it was announced this past Friday that applications for the 1999 moose licence lottery will be available as of tomorrow, April 1st, and also that the deadline to submit applications for this lottery draw will be May 27th; and

Whereas the moose hunt will take place this fall across Inverness and Victoria Counties on Cape Breton Island; and

Whereas a total of 200 licences are to be made available for the season, which will last for 12 days;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House urge all participants in the moose hunting season and, for that matter, in all hunting seasons, to exercise continued safety and caution.

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

[Page 5273]

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2471

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

Whereas the Family Violence Prevention Initiative and the 17 inter-agency committees on family violence around the province sponsored another successful Family Violence Prevention Week, February 14th to 20th; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians heard the radio messages promoting family violence prevention and read the message, You Never Hurt the One You Love, in every daily, weekly and monthly newspaper across the province; and

Whereas this initiative is a model of corporate/community/government cooperation with valuable funding support from the pharmaceutical company Glaxo Wellcome, and community participation all across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the success of this year's Family Violence Prevention Week and applaud the leadership provided by the Family Violence Prevention Initiative in showing that, by working together, we can make a difference.

Mr. Speaker, I am asking 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.

[Page 5274]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 2472

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

Whereas Transportation and Public Works employees have been working diligently for the past year to ensure all essential services provided by the department are Y2K compliant; and

Whereas all provincial traffic signals are upgraded, tested and 100 per cent compliant, and all ferries are now compliant; and

Whereas all essential services are right on schedule for compliance by June 15, 1999;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the dedication of Transportation and Public Works employees in their commitment to the safety of Nova Scotians by meeting the Y2K challenge with the utmost efficiency and professionalism.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2473

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

[Page 5275]

Whereas Ms. Dorothy Spence, President and CEO of TecKnowledge Healthcare Systems Inc. of Dartmouth, was awarded last night the 1999 National IWAY Award in recognition of her involvement in establishing the Nova Scotia Telehealth Network, one of the largest telehealth projects in the world; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Telehealth Network will connect all hospitals in this province to improve Nova Scotians access to health care services, especially those living in rural and remote areas of the province; and

Whereas Dorothy Spence and her colleagues have developed a technology configuring proprietary computer-based equipment that has made this state-of-the-art network affordable to our health care system and which is now being exported to other provinces including Alberta and Ontario;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate and recognize Ms. Dorothy Spence from TecKnowledge Healthcare Systems for her significant contribution to Nova Scotia's health care system.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 2474

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

Whereas the tender for the twinning of a section of Highway 125 from Highway 105 to Leitches Creek, Cape Breton County, is being called today; and

Whereas it is an important link for the people of Sydney Mines, North Sydney and Sydney; and

[Page 5276]

Whereas it provides a safe environment for motorists travelling for business or personal reasons;

Therefore be it resolved that we acknowledge a strong infrastructure builds a strong future for Nova Scotia and the completion of this project will provide a better highway system for Cape Breton and its many visitors.

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2475

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers recently celebrated National Social Work Week; and

Whereas social workers are professionals who provide therapy, counselling, advocacy, rehabilitation and child welfare services in a range of community and health care settings; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is fortunate to have such dedicated men and women working every day to meet the health and social needs of our citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers for their continued care and compassion in the field of social services in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I am requesting waiver of notice.

[Page 5277]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 2476

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

Whereas Halifax has the pleasure of hosting the National Holstein Convention from April 20 to April 26, 1999; and

Whereas this is the first time the convention has been held in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is a worthy host for such a national convention given the strength of our dairy sector and the contribution the sector's 400 producers make to the provincial economy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the importance of our dairy sector to Nova Scotia, and the opportunity provided by hosting the National Holstein Convention to highlight the calibre of our dairy producers to the rest of Canada.

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 Health.

[Page 5278]

RESOLUTION NO. 2477

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

Whereas the Canadian Blood Services in Nova Scotia is in urgent need of blood donations in preparation for the long Easter weekend; and

Whereas more than 200 Nova Scotians may need blood transfusions over the Easter weekend to treat trauma, battle cancer, for surgery and for a host of other reasons in their struggle to regain good health; and

Whereas Nova Scotians who are 17 years of age and older are eligible to give blood and there are blood donor clinics being held across the province to respond to this need;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage Nova Scotians who are able to give blood to visit their local blood donor clinic before the Easter weekend.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2478

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

Whereas Bowl for Kids' Sake is the biggest annual fund-raising event for Big Brothers and Big Sisters; and

Whereas for more than 10 years, the provincial government's involvement has helped to make this event a success; and

[Page 5279]

Whereas on March 27th, three teams from the Department of Human Resources participated in this event, raising over $1,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend its recognition and congratulations to the staff at the Department of Human Resources and all other departments who volunteered their time and effort to support this worthwhile event.

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 Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2479

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

Whereas the Women's Community Economic Development Network has now initiated pilot projects to ensure the participation of women in social and economic development in their home communities; and

Whereas the pilot sites of Cape Breton County, Annapolis County and Antigonish County now have their coordinators in place; and

Whereas the high level of interest expressed by women in this project resulted in funding and in-kind support by the Departments of Economic Development and Tourism, Education and Culture, Housing and Municipal Affairs, Community Services, the Labour Market Development Secretariat, and the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, as well as funding resources from Human Resources Development Canada and Status of Women Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend its best wishes for continued success to the Women's Community Economic Development Network and all its partners and participants.

[Page 5280]

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2480

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

Whereas all three Parties in this House have declared that the federal government's transition plan for the Cape Breton economy is inadequate and unacceptable; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and community development organizations have highlighted the location and relocation of public sector jobs as an effective way to stabilize the Cape Breton economy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to adopt the policy that new department and agency offices with a province-wide mission will be located in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 5281]

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2481

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 United Nations has declared 1999 "The International Year of Older Persons"; and

Whereas Canada's and Nova Scotia's older generation have contributed immense amounts of hard work that has brought us forward to the 21st Century; and

Whereas the Government of Canada has declared June 13th to 19th as Senior Citizens Week across this great country;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier move to declare one day during the week of June 13th to 19th as Senior Citizens Day in Nova Scotia.

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 Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2482

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

Whereas Ronald MacNeil has worked for 20 years to help Cape Bretoners benefit from the latest technologies; and

[Page 5282]

Whereas Mr. MacNeil as a member of the engineering department of the School of Science and Technology at UCCB has made an outstanding contribution in the area of technology and knowledge; and

Whereas Ronald MacNeil has been lauded as a teacher, a hands-on collaborator with local industry, a research and development expert and community worker;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature extend congratulations to Ronald MacNeil on receiving the 1999 National IWAY Award for excellence in the information highway sector.

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2483

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

Whereas the Annapolis Regional Community Arts Council recently celebrated its 18th Anniversary; and

[2:45 p.m.]

Whereas the council has staged many successful fund-raising events allowing it to post a profit of over $14,000, up nearly $2,000 from the previous year; and

Whereas this dedicated group has benefited from funding provided by the Canada Council, the Nova Scotia Arts Council and the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism;

[Page 5283]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Annapolis Regional Community Arts Council on another successful year and offer encouragement for their tireless promotion of Nova Scotia's rich cultural identity.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2484

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

Whereas there is currently a Memorandum of Understanding between the federal and provincial Departments of Fisheries that intertidal species are under provincial jurisdiction; and

Whereas rock weed, periwinkles, soft shell clams, dulse, et cetera, is currently being harvested by members of our coastal communities; and

Whereas due to the decline in traditional fisheries, there is an increase in the number of individuals who are harvesting this resource;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Fisheries consult with his officials and the communities involved in the harvest of this resource and develop a management plan that will ensure that we sustain these valuable resources.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

[Page 5284]

RESOLUTION NO. 2485

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

Whereas for the 19th year in a row, the Strait region was proud to recently host the Annual Stora Invitational Minor Hockey Tournament; and

Whereas this display of sportsmanship is one of the oldest tournaments in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the tournament featured 70 teams in 14 divisions and was such a large event that both the Port Hawkesbury and the Richmond arenas were used;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate all the players and teams for participating in this tournament and thank the many organizers for their hard work, as well as recognize Stora for its commitment to the rural Nova Scotia way of life.

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 Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2486

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

Whereas Dartmouth High School has been holding model Parliaments in the school since 1977 and this week it is holding its 1999 model Parliament; and

Whereas this event involves hundreds of students as active participants; and

[Page 5285]

Whereas the model Parliament provides the students of Dartmouth High with a valuable opportunity to learn about parliamentary procedures and democratic processes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the staff and students of Dartmouth High on their continued excellent commitment to the democratic process as witnessed by the enthusiastic involvement of many staff, students and former students of Dartmouth High School.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2487

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

Whereas 50 years ago Newfoundland and Labrador made the decision to join Canada; and

Whereas this anniversary is indeed a celebration for all Canadians; and

Whereas Newfoundlanders have spent the last 50 years contributing to the unique qualities that have defined Canada as a great nation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Speaker, on behalf of all members of this House, write a letter to the Premier of Newfoundland marking the significance of this anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 5286]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2488

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

Whereas on April 1st the new Territory of Nunavut, which is a Inuktitut word for "our land" and the northwestern territory, will come into being, the Government of Nunavut will be a public government serving both Inuit and non-Inuit people; and

Whereas the new Territory of Nunavut will administer an area that covers approximately 20 per cent of Canada with powers equivalent to those that exist in territorial governments, an elected Legislative Assembly, a cabinet and territorial courts; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia is pleased to welcome the new Nunavut Government and Paul Okalik as its first Premier to the Canadian Federation;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly extend a warm welcome to the new Territory of Nunavut, its government and its people, as we all approach the new millennium.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 5287]

RESOLUTION NO. 2489

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

Whereas osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are crippling diseases that affect 30 per cent of women and one in eight men over 50; and

Whereas Nova Scotia, with only two bone densitometers, has the longest wait list in North America, with Nova Scotians waiting anywhere from 9 months to 1 year for bone density testing; and

Whereas delays in treating osteoporosis and osteoarthritis frequently lead to more serious medical problems such as fractures that require more costly medical interventions;

Therefore be it resolved that this government immediately accept the recommendation of Nova Scotia's rheumatologists and endocrinologists who two years ago urged the government to provide at least one densitometer for every region of the province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2490

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

Whereas the Bank of Montreal recently painted a grim economic forecast for the Province of Saskatchewan, with growth slowing to a near standstill; and

Whereas during a visit to Halifax by Premier Roy Romanow, our NDP Leader was quoted in the media as saying Saskatchewan will be a model for our province if he should seize power; and

Whereas this is a dire prediction since Mr. Romanow is famous for raising taxes and closing over 50 rural hospitals in his province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the Leader of the NDP to find a better role model than the hospital-closing Romanow, scandal-plagued Glen Clark or debt-builder Bob Rae.

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

[Page 5288]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2491

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

Whereas Nova Scotians have consistently indicated that they want lower taxes, not higher taxes; and

Whereas the federal move to raise the basic exemption level of all Nova Scotian taxpayers means lower taxes for all Nova Scotia taxpayers; and

Whereas this government has decided to let the tax change result in a reduction of provincial income taxes as well;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly support the permanent $20 million provincial income tax reduction for all Nova Scotia taxpayers.

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 Halifax Bedford Basin.

[Page 5289]

RESOLUTION NO. 2492

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

Whereas play in the World Curling Championship for both men and women will begin Saturday in Saint John, New Brunswick; and

Whereas Canada will be represented by the Colleen Jones' rink from Halifax Mayflower, which recently won the Scott Tournament of Hearts for the Canadian Women's Championship; and

Whereas Ms. Jones' rink is composed of fellow Nova Scotians Kim Kelly, Third; Mary-Anne Waye, Second; and Nancy Delahunt, Lead;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to Colleen Jones and her rink on winning the Canadian Championship and wish them every success as they embark upon their quest of the World Championship.

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 Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2493

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

Whereas two of the largest shipping companies in the world, Maersk and Sealand, have invited proposals to build an East Coast container terminal; and

Whereas the Port of Halifax has been short-listed by Maersk and Sealand as one of the candidates for the East Coast container terminal; and

[Page 5290]

Whereas growth in the Port of Halifax will have significant economic benefits not only to the Province of Nova Scotia but also to the rest of eastern Canada and to the New England States;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the merits of a Halifax post-Panamax container terminal and that members of this House applaud the efforts of all those involved as they work to secure Maersk and Sealand as long-term customers of the Port of Halifax.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2494

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

Whereas this government proclaimed openly to all the world its endorsement of the Sysco business plan prepared by Hoogovens Incorporated on March 12, 1999; and

Whereas for some time afterwards the Leader of the NDP declined to endorse the Sysco business plan claiming he did not have sufficient knowledge to pass judgement one way or the other; and

Whereas after two weeks, the NDP Leader made a special trip to Sydney, there to quietly whisper his endorsement of the business plan to a private meeting with the editorial board of the Cape Breton Post;

Therefore be it resolved that the performance of the NDP Leader contrasts sharply with the leadership and example of this government which came out openly, squarely and wholeheartedly for Sydney Steel and its workers rather than offering NDP-like indifference and uninvolvement.

[Page 5291]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2495

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

Whereas this morning at the Public Accounts Committee meeting, the Auditor General for Nova Scotia was present to report on the province's state of readiness with respect to the Y2K issue; and

Whereas the Auditor General in his comments stated that in terms of due diligence, Nova Scotia was ahead of all provinces in Canada in its state of readiness for the year 2000; and

Whereas the Auditor General went on to say in his comments that Nova Scotia was even ahead of the United States in its Y2K readiness;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House all members commend the government and the Technology and Science Secretariat for its excellent state of readiness for the year 2000.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2496

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

Whereas it is important to foster responsible attitudes in high school students; and

[Page 5292]

Whereas the Mengie Shulman Awards are presently yearly to selected students at Charles P. Allen High School; and

Whereas the award criteria which a student must meet stipulates a recipient demonstrates leadership and support in the community, be a positive influence in the family, and have acceptable marks in academic work;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extends its congratulations to Jennifer Ritcey, Mark Louch and Jennifer Holdway who recently received the Mengie Shulman Awards at the Charles P. Allen High School.

Mr. Speaker, I am seeking 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. 2497

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

Whereas yesterday in this House, the Leader of the Official Opposition referred to the Province of Nova Scotia as a Mexican backwater; and

Whereas this irresponsible negative comment causes irreparable harm to the sterling worldwide reputation enjoyed by Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this comment is an insult not only to those of us who live in Nova Scotia (Interruptions)

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

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Whereas this comment is an insult not only to those who live in Nova Scotia but to all Nova Scotians no matter where they live in the world;

[Page 5293]

Therefore be it resolved that if the Leader of the Opposition has such a negative opinion of his home province, he should move to British Columbia, join his NDP buddies who are well on their way to turning British Columbia into a Mexican backwater.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

I am having a hard job tracking down the Minister of Community Services, but I believe you have one left. This is your final notice of motion.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2498

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

Whereas all Nova Scotians can take pride in the accomplishments of our students in our schools; and

Whereas there are many hardworking students who take their studies very seriously; and

Whereas Charles P. Allen High School in the Bedford Fall River riding held their annual Recognition Night to recognize students in all grades for their hard work and their high academic achievement;

[3:00 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the 578 Charles P. Allen students recognized on March 25th for achieving honours or high honours and to extend to the staff at the school our thanks for assisting these students toward their academic goals.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 5294]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2499

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

Whereas some 2.7 million Canadians of all ages have a learning disability; and

Whereas March is designated as Learning Disability Awareness Month; and

Whereas the Learning Disabilities Association of Nova Scotia is opening a new resource centre for parents, educators and children;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly recognize the efforts of the Learning Disabilities Association of Nova Scotia and applaud their hard work in providing the resource centre for all individuals whose lives are impacted by learning disorders.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2500

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

Whereas the Town of Annapolis Royal has long attracted tourists, lured by its charm, beauty and historical and cultural value; and

[Page 5295]

Whereas the town has been nominated for the National Attractions Canada Tourism Awards under the category of Best Outdoor Site; and

Whereas the purpose of this competition is to promote travel by Canadians within their own country;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House be encouraged to visit the friendly Town of Annapolis Royal while at the same time express best wishes to all Nova Scotian sites, attractions and festivals nominated for Attractions Canada awards.

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 Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2501

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Subways AAA Midget Hockey Team will be hosting the 1999 Air Canada Atlantic Regional Championships this weekend at the Dartmouth Sportsplex; and

Whereas representative teams from each of the Atlantic Provinces will vie for the right to represent our region at the Air Canada Cup to be held later on this month in Saskatchewan; and

Whereas the tournament committee, under the co-chairmanship direction of Mr. Paul Arsenault and Mr. Bob Goudey, have worked extremely hard to make this weekend an enjoyable event for players and fans alike;

[Page 5296]

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend our best wishes to the Nova Scotia representative teams and congratulate the organizing committee for what will prove to be an exciting weekend of hockey in Dartmouth at the 1999 Air Canada Atlantic Regional Championships.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 2502

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

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has announced additional long-term care beds will be approved; and

Whereas the Minister of Health has received a request from the Rosedale Home for Special Care for approval of additional beds; and

Whereas there is a severe shortage of long-term care beds in Lunenburg County which has forced large numbers of Nova Scotians to stay in acute care facilities when that care is not appropriate to their needs;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly encourages the Minister of Health to immediately announce where the long-term care beds are to be constructed and initiate the construction of the beds.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 5297]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 2503

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

Whereas on March 28th, Brad Peddle, a defenceman and captain of the St. F.X. hockey team was named recipient of the Dr. Randy Gregg Award given by the CIAU for combining hockey ability, academic excellence and community involvement; and

Whereas Brad is a three time CIAU all star, the top scoring defenceman in the CIAU this year, as well as making the dean's list for the past three years and an Academic All Canadian last year; and

Whereas Brad has been involved as a volunteer coach, coordinator of Antigonish's 10K fun run and a volunteer instructor with the St. F.X. hockey school;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Brad Peddle on the receipt of this prestigious award and wish him every success in his 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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2504

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

[Page 5298]

Whereas Nova Scotia municipalities are required to have emergency response plans under the Emergency Measures Act legislation passed in this House of Assembly; and

Whereas EMO recently undertook a detailed review of emergency response plans in place across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this review showed a number of excellent plans but also identified a number of serious deficiencies in a number of municipal plans;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act indicate what efforts have been undertaken by his government to ensure all municipal units are ready to respond in the event of an emergency.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2505

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

Whereas Mr. Paul Flemming, owner and operator of a small business in Musquodoboit Harbour, represented Nova Scotia in the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships in Victoria, B.C. on January 17, 1999; and

Whereas Paul was successful in leading his team to victory which gave Nova Scotia its fourth Canadian Mixed Curling Title in seven years; and

Whereas Paul was honoured, not only as the all-star skip but also as the winner of the Sportsmanship Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Flemming for winning the championship as well as on his other noted accomplishments and wish him well in all future competitions.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 5299]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2506

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

Whereas $1.00 is generated for every eight cents the province invests in Nova Scotia's film industry; and

Whereas the film industry generated approximately $90 million in provincial revenues last year; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is now falling behind other Canadian provinces, including Newfoundland and New Brunswick when it comes to attracting new productions, jobs and investments in this important growth industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government agree to extend the sunset date on tax credit legislation from December 31, 1999 to December 31, 2004; that it increase the tax credit to 40 per cent; and that it immediately remove the asset cap presently placed on the tax credit.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 2507

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

[Page 5300]

Whereas a world-class safety and emergency training company is expanding into Guysborough County; and

Whereas Survival Systems Industrial, a Dartmouth firm, has recognized the potential of the offshore and made a significant investment in the small rural community of New Harbour; and

Whereas this investment was made possible through cooperation with the provincial and federal governments, ACOA, the Guysborough County Regional Development Authority and the Strait Regional School Board;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Survival Systems on their expansion and wish their operation luck as they continue to demonstrate how rural Nova Scotia can benefit from the many aspects of the Sable Offshore Energy Project.

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 Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2508

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 Springhill and Area Irish Festival Society on Friday, March 26, 1999, presented the musical production To Ireland and Back; and

Whereas this production featured entertainment both locally and provincially which musically depicted the history of Ireland; and

Whereas the Irish Festival Society has been fund-raising through dances, raffles and taking part in many parades throughout the area to promote the three day Irish Festival which will be held in June, 1999;

[Page 5301]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Brenda Corbett, Linda Campbell, and all the volunteers on the Springhill and Area Irish Festival Society for their hard work and dedication which will draw so much attention to the Cumberland County area in 1999.

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 Minister of Education and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2509

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

Whereas the family is recognized as a child's first learning environment; and

Whereas the Halifax Youth Foundation has established the Family Learning Initiative Endowment Fund with the purpose of awarding grants to projects in Nova Scotia that support the development of family literacy; and

Whereas the Family Learning Endowment Fund is the first of its type to be established in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to the Halifax Youth Foundation for their outstanding achievement and commitment to family learning in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member of Halifax Bedford Basin.

[Page 5302]

RESOLUTION NO. 2510

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

Whereas a recent international study by KPMG placed Halifax fifth out of 64 cities around the world as an ideal location in which to do business; and

Whereas Halifax also placed first in the growing life-sciences sector, third in the software sector and sixth in overall traditional manufacturing; and

Whereas The Chronicle-Herald praised this study and said "a strong capital region is critical if growth is to follow in other smaller centres";

Therefore be it resolved that this House discourage those who would pit one region of Nova Scotia against another, while recognizing the remarkable growth occurring in many areas of our province as a result of the positive international profile of Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2511

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

Whereas St. F. X. University, in a review of the academic performance of their first year students, showed that those who graduated from Cabot High School, in my riding, have performed exceptionally well when compared to other high schools across the province; and

Whereas collectively the results showed Cabot High School students ranked first across Cape Breton and placing third among 67 high schools in the St. F. X. study; and

[Page 5303]

Whereas the results of this review should serve as a reminder of the great work our teachers do at Cabot, but also across our province, in preparing our students for a post-secondary education;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend a well-deserved congratulations to all the teachers at Cabot High School for their dedication and encourage them to keep up the excellent work.

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 Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 2512

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

Whereas the Leader of the Official Opposition has yet to take a position with respect to the proposed Michelle Dockrill co-operative coal company; and

Whereas this fits in with the pattern established when the same Leader allowed considerable time to lapse before taking a very low-profile stand on the Sysco business plan; and

Whereas this systematic pattern of seeking to avoid a position on the major issues of the day suggests that the New Democratic Party Leader perhaps views the jellyfish as the model to emulate;

Therefore be it resolved that this House enquires as to why the Leader of the Opposition is so reluctant, if not bashful, about endorsing Ms. Dockrill and her proposals on the coal industry.

[Page 5304]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of the Environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 2513

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

Whereas the member for Cape Breton Centre tabled a resolution in this House on Friday, March 26th, stating that on Devco issues the Premier can always sink to the lowest political level; and

Whereas the Premier is recognized by all Nova Scotians as a man of honour and integrity who, when he gives his word, keeps his word; and

Whereas when the Premier met with the Devco miners, the member for Cape Breton Centre demonstrated how low he could sink by calling the Premier a liar;

Therefore be it resolved that before that member accuses the Premier of sinking to the lowest political levels, he reflect upon his own political actions, both outside and inside this House, which are so low that there is no way the depth of lowness can be measured.

MR. SPEAKER: I am going to hold that notice of motion, I want to take a look at it.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2514

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

Whereas between April 1, 1999 and April 4, 1999, the Dartmouth Whalers will once again play host to the 22nd Annual SEDMHA International Minor Hockey Tournament; and

[3:15 p.m.]

Whereas the SEDMHA Tournament Committee has once again proven their immense organizational abilities by organizing what has become a very popular and well-respected tournament both nationally and internationally; and

Whereas 206 teams from across Canada will vie for the championship in their respective divisions in 15 local rinks;

[Page 5305]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizing committee for their extraordinary efforts and extend our best wishes to all players for a safe and successful weekend.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 2515

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

Whereas this morning's edition of the Cape Breton Post states that members of the Cape Breton East NDP executive have resigned; and

Whereas members who resigned include Michael Matheson, member at large; Michael Young, vice-president; and Troy Bond; and

Whereas Mr. Young was quoted in the Cape Breton Post as saying, ". . . working hard the past two years knocking on doors, during both the federal and provincial election, I don't see the representation there for the people, . . . It seems after your usefulness is up, you are regarded as no longer being useful";

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the above named members of the NDP on seeing the light and rejecting the dictatorial, autocratic leadership of the NDP.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

I guess we have finally come to the end of Notices of Motion. It is now 3:16 p.m.; we will terminate Question Period at 4:46 p.m.

[Page 5306]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS: COST - ALTERNATIVE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Minister of Education and Culture. We have been saying for some time that the P3 method of financing school construction is a bad deal for taxpayers. Today we released an analysis showing that P3 leases will cost over $35 million more than traditional financing.

My question to the minister. How many schools could be built, how many teachers could be paid, how many textbooks could be provided to students with that $35 million?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, that crowd over there, the NDP (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please!

MR. GAUDET: They cannot stand that we are building schools for students across Nova Scotia; they cannot stand that we are building schools. Mr. Speaker, since I have been appointed in this portfolio, in the last three months I have been getting calls not just from school boards and elected school board members and parents, I have been getting calls from students; students that are asking the Minister of Education and Culture for the Province of Nova Scotia to build them new schools. This is exactly what this government is doing.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the point is the exaggerated assumption that this government is making about the cost of borrowing. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. CHISHOLM: In order to make P3 look good, Mr. Speaker, this government says its cost of borrowing is 7 per cent, but the actual cost of borrowing is 5.68 per cent.

My question to the minister, Mr. Speaker. Why does this government not use the actual cost of borrowing to calculate the value of the P3 leases; what are you trying to hide?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, we are not hiding anything from Nova Scotia taxpayers. We have said from day one that these leases are made public; they are actually on our web page. They have already been scrutinized by accountants, they have already been scrutinized

[Page 5307]

by the Auditor General's Office, and we will continue to work with both accountants from within the Government of Nova Scotia along with the Auditor General's Office.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, there are schools in the province that are badly needed, there is no question about this. The way this government is going about it is throwing money away that is badly needed in many schools, like Sambro-Ketch Harbour Elementary School down in my constituency.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask this minister, Mr. Speaker, will he start telling Nova Scotians the truth about the real costs before he spends that $35 million with his friends in the Liberal Party?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I have to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition today, because he recognizes there is a real need for schools across Nova Scotia; thank you very much. We have overcrowding problems, we have schools where the roofs are leaking, we have schools where the windows are leaking, we have schools that need repairs, we have schools that need to be replaced tomorrow.

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

SYSCO: BOARD OF DIRECTORS - ROLE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for Sysco. I have here, in front of me, a piece of legislation available to all members, the Sydney Steel Corporation Act. Section 7 makes a requirement of government to appoint a board of directors to manage the affairs of Sydney Steel. My question to the minister is, what is the minister's interpretation of the role of the board of directors in the management of Sydney Steel?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member of the Third Party for the question. The role of a board of directors is to oversee the operations of any corporation, including Sydney Steel.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the minister, the minister does acknowledge that there is a role for the board of directors in the management of Sydney Steel. My question now to the minister is, will he name the members of the Board of Directors of Sydney Steel?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member opposite knows - and he knows the answer to that question - the previous board's terms have expired and we are in the process of setting up a new board at Sydney Steel. It has been very difficult

[Page 5308]

because we have been, as you know, in very serious discussions about the sale of Sydney Steel and we have been discussing the setting up of a new board of directors with the company Hoogovens and with ABN Amro. I will be announcing at some point in the near future the new board members.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, it would seem to me that with the serious situation facing the people of Cape Breton and Sysco, that there would be a board of directors as is required by the Sydney Steel Corporation Act. My question to the minister is simply, why has he allowed Sydney Steel to go on month after month with all of the serious considerations that are besetting Sydney Steel, why has this minister allowed Sydney Steel to flounder without a board of directors?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Sydney Steel is indeed a serious situation and it finds itself in a serious situation but not as serious as the situation that his Party and he finds himself in in Cape Breton right now. Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to you, and I will table this, to March 11, 1998, Dr. Hamm, "I have been supportive of what the government has been trying to do and have not turned Sysco into a political football, and I don't intend to at this point . . . I don't have a better idea, so it's pretty hard to be critical of . . .", the government.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Reading from a . . .

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: That is from Dr. Hamm and I will table that particular document but Dr. Hamm has finally found out what politics is all about and has put his political hat on here.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - MAC TIMBER:

MONIES - INVESTIGATION

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, sadly today it has become clear why this government has refused answers on Mac Timber. The former vice-president of the company stated publicly that this government knew Mac Timber was under investigation by the Maritime Lumber Board for breaking softwood lumber agreements with the United States. Will the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism explain why his government gave taxpayers' money to a company under investigation for actions that threaten the Maritime softwood lumber industry?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the question is a valid question. I have been contacted by the media today regarding that particular problem at Mac Timber. All I can tell you is that at the time this deal was done with Mac Timber, the federal government did their due diligence and supported the deal. The provincial government did likewise. The

[Page 5309]

community in that particular area supported it. The Member of Parliament for that area supported it. Everybody supported it. There was no impropriety noticed by anybody at that particular time in terms of (Interruptions)

The investigation was on. At that time, we were satisfied that everything was above board. Mr. Speaker, 96 per cent of our businesses in Nova Scotia are operating out there with government assistance and doing very well.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Ivan Sorenson, Mac Timber's former vice-president, twice told the minister's department that the company was under investigation for importing softwood from Quebec into Debert and then re-routing it to the U.S. to take advantage of this province's quota free status.

My question for the minister. Why did your department ignore this reliable information and grant a loan to this fly-by-night company?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, now it is a fly-by-night company. It was a great company when we did the deal. Now it is a fly-by-night company. That is typical NDP. That is the way they do business. Now it is a fly-by-night company.

Mr. Speaker, let me answer the question directly. I have had no indication from anybody connected with that company that there was any wrongdoing. I have no correspondence whatsoever, except the anonymous comments that were directed to the critic opposite. I wish he would name that anonymous source.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: He did.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Okay, fine. Well, I wish he would tell that source to send his complaints to me, not to him.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is simple. Will this government now submit its Mac Timber fiasco to a full and public investigation so that Nova Scotians can learn why this government funds a company that breaks free trade agreements?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there has been no evidence whatsoever presented to us that says they broke free trade agreements. Our department is not aware of any such statement of fact, so I cannot address that. What I can address is that we are meeting with the receivers. We are trying to recover. We are an unsecured creditor there. Our attempt is to try to get that company back up and running in that area to promote jobs, not standing here in the Legislature condemning our efforts.

[Page 5310]

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

SYSCO: HOOGOVENS - COST

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for Sysco. My question to the minister is, will the minister inform the House as to what is the average monthly payment to Hoogovens, both required by contract and for expenses, for the services that Hoogovens are providing to Sydney Steel, the average monthly payment, total?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to discuss the financial management of the Sydney Steel Corporation on the floor of this Legislature. He knows the answer to the question because he was briefed on Sysco and he knows what it costs us to manage that plant. I am not going to discuss the inner workings of a Crown Corporation on the floor of this Legislature.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to inform this minister that I was not given that figure at the briefing. That figure was not given to us at the briefing. The minister avoids giving information about Sydney Steel, information that should be in the public purview.

My question to this minister is, will the minister admit, will he confirm that regardless of whether Sydney Steel meets its sales projections, and whether or not Sydney Steel is sold, that Hoogovens, in fact, will be paid and paid in full? Will the minister confirm that?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I can only confirm to you, Mr. Speaker, that Hoogovens payment is based on performance and that has been negotiated with the Government of Nova Scotia and its agents. I can also tell you that the information that he asks for here has already been made public in the press. I don't know what he is so exercised about. Everybody in Nova Scotia knows that.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the minister is amazing. One minute he tells us that he gave us the information and another time he tells us that it is public, and yet he refuses to tell us here in the House.

By way of final supplementary, will the minister confirm that the information that he considered, the information that was brought to Cabinet, was the same information that was provided to us on March 9th, and that includes the Sydney Steel Corporation business plan and the Sydney Steel Corporation financial overview of 1999?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Party leaders hope the Sysco sale succeeds. Dr. Hamm, I have been supportive this far and I see no reason to withdraw that support. Dr. Hamm was in Cape Breton last week speaking at a nominating convention that was held in the local phone booth down there, and said to the Party faithful, whom I know

[Page 5311]

every one of them, because there is only about 50 left on the whole Island and he has taken care of that. I can tell you that Dr. Hamm has finally put on his political hat in Nova Scotia.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC.: SCHOOL CLOSURES - COMMITMENT

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Education. In response to public concern about school consolidations and school closures, your Premier said that if we don't have schools in our communities, we don't have communities. I would say this Minister of Education is the first minister that has been chosen by this same Premier. I want to ask the minister a question. What steps has he taken to keep the promise of this Premier, his commitment to making sure that schools stay in communities?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I have taken many steps. Just recently, last night, I had two groups from Richmond County that came and met with me to talk about the current site that is being proposed by the local school board for the new high school that is going to be built in Richmond, the Richmond Academy. I will continue to meet with the people throughout Nova Scotia.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the same Premier has also said the reason people are moving from rural communities was because the schools are disappearing from rural Nova Scotia. I want to ask the minister, will he explain to the parents in Richmond County, Inverness, Pictou, and the parents of the students who go to Holly Drive in Spryfield, why this government is turning its back on those community schools?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to provide the best possible education programs to Nova Scotian students across Nova Scotia, and I will stand by that commitment.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, do you know what Nova Scotians are saying to me and my colleagues? They are saying that this government is not listening; they don't want to hear what people really want out there across this province. I want to ask this minister a question. Why is this government continuing to make decisions to build schools and to close schools regardless of what communities really want?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I think the Leader of the Opposition forgot that there are elected school boards throughout Nova Scotia representing local interests. Just recently, early this year, I indicated to the school boards that I will continue to work with them and not dictate to them.

[Page 5312]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

EDUC.: SCHOOL BOARDS - DEFICITS

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address a question through you to the Minister of Education. Mr. Minister, in reviewing a number of figures here, projected budgets, it becomes very clear that operational budgets for the school boards in this province are in serious difficulty. Do school budgets in this province run deficits from year to year?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: I want to thank the honourable member for his question. In regard to current school boards' budgets, it is hard to predict, once school boards are provided with their budget early in the year, what financial status the school board will encounter along the way. However, currently, there is one school board, the Halifax Regional School Board that is having some financial difficulties. Currently we have staff from our department that is working with them, and I am waiting to hear from those consultations.

MR. FAGE: I thank the minister for his attempt at an answer. Apparently they do run deficits. I would like to table budgets for 1996-97, as well as 1997-98 here today. Those will show that there was a deficit in excess of $6 million last year; and the year before there was one in excess of $1.6 million. My question to the minister. What is the proposed budget deficit this year for the combined school boards in Nova Scotia?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, maybe the honourable member has these figures already at hand but I can tell you that we have staff from our department working with all school boards. I anticipate that some reports will be provided to me very shortly but to my knowledge there is one board that is having . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North, your final supplementary.

MR. FAGE: Well, obviously the minister is having some problems with his recollection or control of his department because there are a lot more school boards than HRM having problems. The budget projection this year, Mr. Minister, is $16.5 million. We see the QE II at $136 million . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Your question, please.

MR. FAGE: . . . deficit. Is this minister going to rise to his feet today and assure this House and the people of Nova Scotia that there is going to be money there for textbooks in the classrooms in the coming year or are those budgets going to go wild like the QE II's?

[Page 5313]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, our government has already indicated the top two priorities of our government are health care and education. Just last year alone we provided some $80 million extra funding in our Education budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC.: STRAIT REG. SCHOOL BD. - COMMUN. CONSULTATION

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. On March 4th in a press release, the Minister of Education said that the Strait Regional School Board consulted with its communities and made decisions they believe are in the best interests of the children. So my question to the Minister of Education is, does he still believe in community consultation and if he does, how come Nova Scotians can't tell?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for bringing this question to the floor of the House. Initially, when I first arrived in the department after having been there for the first couple of weeks, getting calls from Nova Scotians from across the province, the first question that I came to is, unfortunately, there hasn't been any consultation. But allow me (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, the communities in Richmond worked hard on site selections, the Premier claims to support their plan and the MLA for Richmond claims he stands by his community. So, can the Minister of Education tell the people of Richmond, in this House, why the government vetoed the River Bourgeois sites which were centrally located and chosen by community consensus?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, after having believed from what I was getting for the first few weeks on this new position that there had been no consultation, I did raise this question with all the school boards. The Strait Regional School Board has provided me with documents, with copies of consultations, of public meetings, of recordings of public meetings. There has been lots of consultation and I would ask the honourable member to check with the local school board.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, the minister may say so, but I would like to ask him this question, why does he claim to support community consultation and then allow it to get hijacked by hidden political agendas?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I am having a hard time trying to understand where this caucus is coming from. On one side, outside this House, I am talking to a number of members from this Party that are asking me, where is my new school? Where is the school? Is it coming? The P3 schools, they want to have their school. At the same time, they don't want

[Page 5314]

the schools, they want more consultation, more consultation, more time to analyze. There are students across Nova Scotia who are in need of more schools and that is my commitment.

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

EDUC.: JUDIQUE/CREIGNISH SCHOOLS - PLANS

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The Minister of Education met with some representatives of the Coalition of Community Leaders of Judique and Creignish on March 23rd. My question to the minister is this. Will the minister please advise this House what concrete plans he had to offer this community? (Applause)

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for raising this question. Just a few weeks ago, just prior to March Break, we had some parents from the Judique community that were basically holding the students from attending classes. I did indicate, because I did take the opportunity to drive down personally and meet with members of the community, and I told them that I had a real concern of the fact that the students were prevented from attending classrooms and that I would be in no situation to talk to the parents while the students would remain on the outside. I did indicate to them once they would allow the students to return back to the classroom, I would be sitting down with them.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as we know, in their struggle to save even part of their community schools, the parents have been pushed to the wall. I would like this minister to tell us what he and his government are doing to support the right of parents to have their children educated in their own community? (Applause)

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the commitment that I made to the parents from this community, and I indicated to them once the students would be allowed to return back to the classrooms, I would certainly be sitting down with them, which I have already and I have met with the school board. These discussions are ongoing and I indicated to them that there is a need to bring all parties to the table, the school board along with members of that community, and I certainly intend to continue those discussions. (Applause)

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has already confirmed that he supports community schools. What I want to know is, what is happening to demonstrate to the parents this support for community schools? (Applause)

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the Premier as well indicated to members of that community that he would certainly be willing to sit down with them as long as they would allow the students to return back to the school, which the parents did and the Premier has

[Page 5315]

committed to sit down with members of that community to continue to look at some options. Currently that is exactly what is happening.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM:

MAC TIMBER - INFORMATION REFUSAL

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is directed to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Yesterday, in response to a question about whether or not a recommendation was made to him regarding Mac Timber, he said no. He followed that up by saying, yes, there was a business plan and, yes, it was reviewed and, yes, that was taken to Cabinet for a recommendation. My question to him is, is it yes or is it no or is it maybe?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the answer to that short question is any one of the three. He would not understand it anyway if I (Interruption)

MR. BALSER: Here the problem lies. That is the kind of answer you get for people in Nova Scotia when they ask a question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. BALSER: The question is why will you make a decision like that and you say, oh, maybe one of the three. I ask it again. Is it yes or is it no?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I see the Leader of the Third Party is finally getting political. It is about time. I guess he got the riot act read to him but, anyway, in regard to the question, what I explained to the member opposite was that there is a business plan done on every business that comes before our department and that business plan goes to Cabinet. He asked me yesterday whether or not I was presented with a business plan. I was not. Then I explained to the member that the business plan was done and proceeded onto Cabinet for approval. That is what I told him and if it is too hard for him to understand that, I will write it down for him.

MR. BALSER: Would you table that plan so we can review it?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: What would be the good of doing that? He would not understand it anyway, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 5316]

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

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS: SALE - PREVENT

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Culture. Everyone knows of the problems that have plagued this province's private highway. Recently we learned that Newcourt, the owner of that highway, was taken over by an American company whose largest shareholder is a Japanese bank.

[3:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Education, what assurances does this province have that its P3 school partners cannot turn around and sell our schools to another foreign, multi-national company?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the leases that have been signed with our developer for 20 years provide assurances to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia that those schools are within the (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the leases that we have signed with our developers allow the taxpayers of Nova Scotia to have full control of those schools for the length of those leases.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, the Horton lease defines the landlord as a non-profit society and places restrictions on it. But the group with the real money behind the school is unknown and is not restricted in any way.

Mr. Minister, why didn't this government do anything to place restrictions on who could own Horton High School?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the leases that have been signed with our developers to provide much-needed schools for students across this province allow the taxpayers of Nova Scotia to have full control of those schools at the length of those lease agreements.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, will this Minister of Education assure this House that future leases will include clauses that allow the Province of Nova Scotia to veto any sale of any schools built in this province?

[Page 5317]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, we will continue to build schools for students across the Province of Nova Scotia. We will continue to make those leases available to all taxpayers of Nova Scotia. We have nothing to hide.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: PIPELINE (HFX.) - SIZE

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate. The size of the pipeline that Maritimes & Northeast is proposing is 12 inches, the lateral reaching into Halifax. I am wondering whether the Government of Nova Scotia supports the idea that the 12 inch pipeline is large enough or are you going to make representation to indicate that you want a larger size pipe?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member opposite for the question. There seems to be a great deal of opinion in this province as to what constitutes adequate size of pipelines that will eventually travel throughout Nova Scotia and up into other parts of the country. All I can tell you is that the best advice that we get from the people who should know in this business is that, yes, the size of the lines that they are anticipating using are adequate. I defer to their expertise. I am not an expert in matters of what constitutes a sufficient pipeline or not. All I can tell you is that we defer to those who are.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, over one-half of the capacity of the pipeline has already been spoken for by the Nova Scotia Power generating station. One of the proponents that wishes to distribute gas throughout the Province of Nova Scotia says that if the pipeline remains at 12 inches, the capacity to distribute throughout western Nova Scotia, which is the Annapolis Valley and down the South Shore, will be severely limited.

Will the minister indicate when he is going to talk to the experts to find out whether the 12 inch pipe is sufficient?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, I can only tell you that we have done an analysis of this particular situation. It seems to be a matter of concern to a lot of people. I can tell you that our concern is that we get on with this, providing natural gas to the people of Nova Scotia. The people who are in this business are not fools. They know how to make money and they know what size line is necessary. They wouldn't put one in if it wasn't solved.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, the people that are building the pipeline know you make the most money if the gas is sold in Boston, not in Nova Scotia. The Government of Nova Scotia should really be making sure that we have adequate distribution for the Province

[Page 5318]

of Nova Scotia. Inquiries made to the Offshore Petroleum Board indicate that the board has not made a decision on the proper size.

Could the minister indicate when he is going to meet with the board so they can come to a joint conclusion on the size of the pipe?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, at the present time we don't have a problem with the size of the line. All I can tell you is that this particular natural gas story is a good news story for Nova Scotia. It is expected that increased economic activity will be over $6 billion in the next 10 years in this province. I think all members of this House should welcome that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS:

COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE - GUIDELINES DEVELOP

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, the NSTU says P3 is fraught with difficulty, primarily because the partners have proceeded in the absence of any principles which reflect the ideals and goals of public education. My question to the Minister of Education is, when will your department develop guidelines relating to the role of commercial enterprise and sponsorship in schools so as to guarantee the fundamental democratic nature of education in Nova Scotia?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for raising that question. Just recently, about a month ago, I had a chance to tour the new Horton High School in the Annapolis Valley. On my tour, I had a chance to talk to a number of teachers who had direct input into the consultations into actually having the school built. The staff certainly has appreciated along the way that they had direct input into the current construction. At the same time, we will continue to work with all partners involved.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, like us, the NSTU is concerned about the level of inequity through the province relating to construction, renovations, upgrading and the provision of resources. My question to the Minister of Education is, when will your department develop guidelines for fair standards for all to avoid P3 Cadillacs for a few and P3 Ladas for the rest?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, again, I have a hard time understanding where this honourable member is coming from. I am hearing on one side that they want more study, more analysis, and they don't want these schools to be built. I am just wondering what all the schools that are currently being built in the metro area, if it is the wish that we should put a hold on those schools, if the New Democratic Party doesn't want those schools to be built in the metro area.

[Page 5319]

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, my final question for the minister is, when will the minister guarantee that all students in this province, regardless of what schools they attend will have the benefit of the same level of services, such as textbooks, libraries and resource materials?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I have already previously indicated, my commitment, and our government's commitment, is to provide high educational quality programs to all students across the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

LBR.: VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS - ASSIST

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Labour. There are over 9,000 volunteer firefighters in the Province of Nova Scotia, people who protect communities all over this province which wouldn't in many cases have fire protection but for the existence of volunteer fire departments. Is the Minister of Labour committed to assisting volunteer firefighters in Nova Scotia to do their job in protecting Nova Scotians?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, how come this government has not acted upon the unanimous resolution of this House to give volunteer firefighters in this province, a $500 tax credit? Nine months has gone by and he has done nothing. What are you doing to do about the commitment?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, if the honorable member would reflect back to the announcement that was made at that time, we indicated that that particular financial measure would be incorporated in the upcoming spring budget.

To get to that stage, which we are just about to, we had to go through a consultation process which involved all the stakeholders - between the Department of Municipal Affairs, the Department of Labour, volunteer firefighters, municipalities, et cetera. They have completed their consultation and they have submitted a report, which I was briefed on earlier today and which I am in the process of reviewing and will be submitted to P & P within the next week or two.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat concerned by all the buts, ifs and maybes but I will take it from the minister that he has a commitment to the House that the credit referred to in the resolution will be in the next budget of his government.

[Page 5320]

My final question to the minister is therefore, what is the minister going to do to ensure that volunteer firefighters in this province are not put to extra costs by the government, including emergency services and other things, so that volunteer firefighters in this province don't have to spend all their time raising funds?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it is an excellent question. That is part of the (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, that was the purpose of the consultation process with all stakeholders. As I have indicated, they have submitted their presentations, their briefs, to me with a number of very considerable considered options, which I think should be included in this process. That is going to be part of the discussion, as we bring it to a conclusion.

I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that in fairness to all stakeholders on this committee, I will be abiding by their recommendations.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

EDUC.: ELMSDALE ELEM. SCHOOL - STATUS

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The elementary school in Elmsdale had a fuel leak last October. On January 25th, Mr. Doug Nauss of the Department of Education said there would be no groundbreaking for the new school at Enfield until a decision was made on the new Primary to Grade 5 school for Elmsdale. My question to the minister is, will he assure the community of Elmsdale that this is still the case?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, our government has already announced 38 new schools and we will be announcing more schools for the students of Nova Scotia.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Again to the Minister of Education, when the minister visited Elmsdale earlier this month he confirmed construction on the new Enfield school will begin in April. What is the minister's decision on the Elmsdale school?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member indicated, just recently I had a chance to tour that school, both the one in Enfield and the one in Elmsdale, with the honourable member. The students of those two schools, along with the parents of those students, are certainly in need of new replacements.

I will continue to do what is best for the students of those communities. I hope I will be in a situation very soon to make some announcements for the people of those areas.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Again to the Minister of Education, it was easy to find money to buy land from Liberal friends for the school in Horton, the minister says the province needs more time to come up with the $20 million for the leases. My question to the

[Page 5321]

minister is, why is the province letting on it is going to construct new schools when it can't even come up with the funding for leases?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I have a hard time understanding this. I am not sure if he is supporting this new school that is scheduled to be announced, or if he is not in favour of the school now being proposed for that area.

I can assure this House that I will certainly do what is right for the people of those communities.

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

FISH. - MUSSEL FARM (TATAMAGOUCHE BAY):

APPLICATION - STATUS

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Fisheries. Regarding the Tatamagouche Bay mussel farm application by proponent Russell Dockendorff, Jr. of Prince Edward Island, on behalf of Nova Scotia mussel farms, I understand the RADAC committee that you appointed submitted the report and recommendations subsequent to holding meetings with fishermen, developers, cottagers and Tim Horton's Wish Foundation and RADAC strongly recommended against the proposal.

Will the minister tell the House and tell those stakeholders what the position of the Liberal Government in Nova Scotia today is, relative to that application?

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I am glad the honourable member brought this to the attention of the floor. Actually, RADAC, in the area, had serious, long-term deliberations on this application and have come forward with a large number of recommendations. The recommendations are presently under review by me and my staff and, after we have had an opportunity to properly review them, we will make a decision.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, that report and recommendation was submitted over one month ago and the stakeholders clearly indicated, along with RADAC, that they were opposed to that application by Russell Dockendorff, Jr. When will the minister make his decision? When will he tell the cottagers and those stakeholders what the position of this government is?

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, as I have already told the honourable member, we are reviewing the situation. We are reviewing the information and, as soon as we get the review completed, we will make our decision known.

[Page 5322]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister has already had one month to review the report and the recommendation that RADAC made. Why won't the minister say no to Russell Dockendorff, Jr. of Prince Edward Island and why won't he say yes to the cottagers, to Tim Horton's Wish Foundation, to the fishermen and to recreational development?

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, the answer is that the answer will come in due course.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS: ENHANCEMENTS - REDUCTION

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Communities around Nova Scotia are being offered stripped-down P3 or box schools. They are being told if they want so-called enhancements, which were part of the deal for Horton School and O'Connell Drive School, that they will have to come up with the money themselves.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Education is this. Will he please explain this double standard?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for raising this very serious question, because I had the very same question. Basically, the Horton School and O'Connell Drive School were pilot projects, they were the first few schools that were being built. We are now talking with the different municipalities that are looking at different enhancements along these new school construction projects. Some schools are looking for a soccer field. Of course, the current agreement that is before those school boards is to provide appropriate facilities for those students.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, what I seem to be hearing is that, under the new regime of P3, some taxpayers are going to pay three times for these enhancements: they are going to pay with higher management lease payments; they are going to pay with higher municipal taxes because of the municipal contributions; and they are going to pay fees for the use of the facilities. My question to the minister is, how can he possibly consider this fair?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, this process is very open, which invites communities to come to the table to participate with our staff within the department before those schools are actually built, so we will continue to invite communities to look at enhancements, for those communities that so wish to have them to come forward.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, the citizens of Nova Scotia were sold on the idea of P3 through Horton School and O'Connell Drive School. So, my final question. What does the minister have to say to communities in Inverness or Annapolis who are now being given the short end of the stick?

[Page 5323]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I will say to all communities throughout Nova Scotia that students have been waiting for a long time for new schools. We have schools in this province that have been built in the late 1800's that are still being occupied by students and staff. We will continue to build schools for students across Nova Scotia.

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

EDUC. - HORTON HS: COST - INCREASE

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to address a question through you to the Minister of Education and Culture. In 1995 Horton District High School was supposed to cost $8 million. Then in 1997 the then minister estimated it was going to cost $15 million and now in a letter the minister says the school came in at budget at $25 million. So I want to ask the Minister of Education and Culture, if the school is now on budget, coming in at $25 million, was your predecessor misleading Nova Scotians or simply incompetent?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is absolutely right. The school did come in on budget - $25 million. Unfortunately, what the honourable member is referring to is when you start looking at the total cost over 20 years, of course, it is not the same amount as the actual school cost. Yes, the Horton District High School did come in under budget.

MR. HOLM: More is less, good, that is how the province runs. Mr. Speaker, the minister's predecessor also admitted that the new schools being built under the government's P3 regime have increased in cost by almost $40 million before a shovel even hit the ground and we know that the financing costs are going to add approximately $35 million more. My question to the minister is will the minister, a former teacher, an educator, not now acknowledge that the Liberal Government's P3 system is taking millions of dollars out of education that could be better spent building schools for other children who need them and other programs and services? (Applause)

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I honestly do not understand this. I am going to table this. This is the front page of the Globe & Mail today that shows this Party's colleagues in B.C. and how they build schools. They just add to the provincial debt. I will table this so the honourable member can see for himself and all Nova Scotians can see for themselves how the NDP build schools.

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has indicated to us that the model that we have in Nova Scotia certainly passes the test.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the minister does not understand. I want to ask the minister this, through you. In all seriousness, will the minister not sit down and do a fair analysis and acknowledge that Nova Scotia taxpayers are being boondoggled by what

[Page 5324]

is happening and put the children and the schools in this province first, ahead of your political agenda.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member across the floor that we will certainly do one thing. We will not add to the debt of this province as his colleagues are doing in British Columbia. We will continue to build much-needed schools across the communities of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS. - CUMB. SOUTH:

PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS - INCREASE

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. It will come as no surprise to the minister that taxpayers across this province are concerned about the alarming increases in their property assessments. In my constituency of Cumberland South we have seen an increase of 89 per cent. Most of these, or a lot of these, are without any improvements to their property. Will the minister explain how he can justify these alarming increases in property assessments?

HON. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question. As the member knows, we met with him, our staff, and I met with him personally to review the situation in the Cumberland County area. We also met with the councils during our municipal tour and tried to provide the member with as much information as we could regarding the taxation issues and assessment in that area. We will continue to work with him or any individuals who have direct concerns related to assessment.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, as the minister is aware, in my area of Springhill, there are four times as many appeals this year, and the minister's department refused to release that information pertaining to those appeals. A lot of times these assessments have been done without even an assessor visiting the property. Will the minister commit today to have someone investigate how these huge increases in assessments could happen without an assessor viewing the property?

MR. WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to comment on part of the lead-up to the question in which the member indicated that certain types of information were not being released, I would like to know what he is referring to. Secondly to that, we did provide staff to talk to individuals related to assessments. There is an appeal process in place which many members of the community will take advantage of to deal with questions they have related to assessments.

[Page 5325]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to provide the minister that information that his department refused to answer. It has been increasingly apparent that this government has turned their backs on the seniors of this Province of Nova Scotia, whether it is HST or property tax rebate or Pharmacare. Will the minister commit today to low income people and seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia who don't have the ability or resources to appeal their assessments, will he commit today that he will appoint someone from his department to represent those people at appeal?

MR. WHITE: Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we have provided staff to go into those communities, to talk to individuals who have questions related to assessments. We have also had, when the initial assessments went out, a call centre in place which would initially deal with the questions and refer them back to the various assessment departments who were then instructed to contact the individual who had the questions. We will continue to work with seniors or anyone else who has questions related to assessment matters.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS: HORTON HS - OWNERSHIP DISCLOSE

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, there is yet another very interesting thing about Horton High that we do not know, that is who actually owns the school. Now the money behind the school is shielded by a non-profit organization known as the Nova Scotia Educational Facilities Society. Will the Minister of Education tell the public of Nova Scotia who actually put up the money for Horton High? Who owns the school?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated earlier, all our leases for the schools that we have signed, and the Horton School initially has been one that we have just recently signed off a number of weeks ago. All that information is available on our web page. We have nothing to hide.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have read the leases. I would like to table right now a letter from the Hardman Group which explains that they have no involvement in the ownership of Horton, and we know that this non-profit society didn't come up with $26 million to build it. My question for the minister is, why won't he tell us now who put up the money for Horton High so Nova Scotians who have the right to know can have an answer?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, students need schools now. They need schools now, and our government is providing schools for students now. I don't know if this honourable member is against providing schools to students that are urgently needing these new schools. Our government will continue to provide schools to much needed communities throughout Nova Scotia and again, that information is available.

[Page 5326]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, a non-profit society is a very unusual tool here. Will the Minister of Education tell us, was this non-profit society not simply set up as a tax shield to increase the profits of this mysterious owner?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, all our developers have been screened before the process has started out, and these developers are certainly cooperating fully, probably more than expected with our staff, not just with our staff but with staff across government, across departments throughout government, helping to provide much needed schools to students across Nova Scotia.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - SECURE TREATMENT:

EX-PROVINCE - NUMBER

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. A report entitled Too Good to Lose talked about the construction of a secure treatment centre on the grounds of the former Nova Scotia Residential Centre in Truro. That hasn't been done, and therefore there are Nova Scotians in secure treatment facilities outside the province. How many of these young Nova Scotians are being treated outside the province?

[4:15 p.m.]

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge, there are 25 young people outside of Nova Scotia in treatment. That would be less than 1 per cent of the caseload.

MR. MUIR: Thank you, and again to the Minister of Community Services. Where are these young Nova Scotians located and what is the cost to the Nova Scotian taxpayer?

MRS. COSMAN: I would be happy to provide that information for you. They are in treatment facilities in a variety of settings across the country, all of which are approved settings. I would be happy to get you that detailed information.

MR. MUIR: Undoubtedly there is a very high cost associated with treatment outside the province, not to mention the disruption of families and other support systems that might be able to assist in the treatment of these young Nova Scotians.

You have promised, your department, the Premier has promised a secure treatment centre that should have opened a year ago. When will that secure treatment centre in Nova Scotia open?

[Page 5327]

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, the answer on the secure treatment centre is no different now than it was last year. As the honourable member opposite knows, we are putting in place the framework of treatments around the province. We are building the walls and the foundation before we build the roof on this system of delivery. The answer is no different today than it has been for the past several months.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: COMMUNITIES - ACCOUNTABILITY

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Minister of Education. The minister just a minute ago indicated that he does not know who owns the Tim Horton School [Horton High School] (Laughter). Well, one of the enduring legacies of the P3 school program will be the way that control and accountability has been relinquished. My question to the minister is, what assurance do Nova Scotians have that the people who are now running our schools are accountable to their communities?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: I want to thank the honourable member for raising that. As the honourable member knows, throughout Nova Scotia, we have elected schools boards that are very close to the communities throughout Nova Scotia. These school boards will continue, and I will continue to work with them jointly on providing much needed schools to students across Nova Scotia.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, those school boards are like our regional health boards - they are far away from our communities. I have heard some people say that P3 stands for Pupils for Private Profit. My question to the minister is, where on the P3 balance sheets is there a line that guarantees the quality of education?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, I am certainly, and my government is committed to provide top, highly-educational programs to all students across Nova Scotia. We will continue to do that. At the given time there are a number of requests before the staff in our department. Those demands just keep coming in from different parts of the province and we will continue to provide much needed schools.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: The other enduring legacy of P3 is the vast difference in the quality of education and facilities available in urban and rural Nova Scotia. How can the minister possibly justify this divisive approach to schools which seems to be geared to political advantage rather than education and quality?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has already indicated that the only way to build these schools is the model that we have chosen. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 5328]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the way that the NDP has chosen in other provinces is to add to the provincial debt of those provinces and those debts are naturally left to the students that are left behind. It is not my responsibility to leave further debt to the students of the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - PROFESSIONS: COMPLEMENTARY - LEGISLATION

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health is probably aware that many Nova Scotians spend millions of dollars on complementary health professionals in the province. Is the minister concerned that there is no legislation governing complementary health professions in this province?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the issue of professionalism within the health care profession and the delivery of services has been a concern of this government. Last session of the House, we had two Acts brought in, the Occupational Therapists Act and the Physiotherapy Act. We are reviewing legislation. There are those that are making representation for an omnibus bill that would be of a general nature. I think it is a good question. It is a really valid question. It is an area that is becoming more prominent and becoming an issue. These are matters that the department is reviewing and we are also following what is happening at the federal level as the honourable member would know.

MR. MOODY: I am pleased the minister is moving in that direction. I know that the Alliance of Complementary Health Professionals met with the former minister and was promised legislation, an Act called the Health Professionals Act, and they thought it would be in the fall of 1998. I would ask the minister how soon will we see that legislation on the floor of this Legislature? Is there a time-frame that he could give us?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have been priorizing the various professions that I mentioned earlier within that and trying to separate those off that are more urgent. We have felt that we have made changes to the Medical Act and other matters, but I am not prepared to make a commitment at this juncture. It is a matter under review by the department. Whether it will be an all-encompassing Act that will cover several professions or not, that is yet to be determined.

MR. MOODY: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, the former minister, Mr. Boudreau, said it would happen. These health professionals, the complementary health professionals have organized. There are a number of groups that are still out there that are operating, whether you are a naturopath or whether or not you are into acupuncture . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[Page 5329]

MR. MOODY: These people are all setting up out there. We need legislation and we need it now, as the minister has said. Will the minister commit to us seeing that kind of legislation sometime in 1999?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as I said, other professions have taken priority on this particular matter. The working group that is dealing with this within the department and with Human Resources has been dealing with particularly the nursing profession, and we are looking for a report shortly, a plan of action to address the various needs within that profession. I will not make any specific commitment at this time. It is a matter that we are reviewing and when it is available to me, then I will be bringing it to the Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

EDUC. - N.S. COMMUN. COL.: ASSISTANCE - INCREASE

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a few questions to the Minister of Education and Culture regarding the Nova Scotia Community College. The Premier recently visited some of the campuses of the Nova Scotia Community College and indicated to the students and staff that the college will be receiving more financial assistance from the province. My question to the minister is, does the minister plan to follow through on the Premier's promise for increased financial assistance to the Nova Scotia Community College?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for raising that question on the floor of the House. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with the president of the Board of Directors of the Nova Scotia Community College. At that time, there was some discussion about much needed additional funds. Those discussions are currently being held within our department and, unfortunately, at this time I am unable to provide the honourable member with a direct answer. I guess we are going to have to wait until the budget is tabled.

MR. DELEFES: The funding provided to the Nova Scotia Community College is the lowest in Canada; in fact, less than is provided to the New Brunswick Community College, $13 million less.

My question to the minister. Why hasn't your government recognized the role of the Nova Scotia Community College as a key element of the economic development strategy of Nova Scotia?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I agree with the honourable member when he says that community colleges certainly add to the economy and are an economic driver of the province. As I earlier indicated, with discussions that were held with members of the board of directors,

[Page 5330]

certainly, at that time, there were some discussions for the need of additional funding. As I have indicated, we are going to have to wait until the budget is tabled.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, it is apparent that the number of available spaces at the province's community colleges is grossly inadequate. My question for the minister is when will the minister increase the number of available spaces for the community college so that it is more consistent with the national average?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, we will continue to work with the community colleges, along with the Collège de l'Acadie in Nova Scotia. These questions have been raised and currently are being looked at, and I hope, in the very near future, we will be in a position to provide the honourable member with further details.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

ENVIRON. - WATER TESTING: MUNS. RESPONSIBILITY - DATE

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is going to be directed to the Minister of the Environment. Will the Minister of the Environment please tell this House when his department first suggested to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities that they would be assuming the responsibility and the costs associated with water testing?

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank that member for raising this in the House. My understanding is that this issue has been discussed by officials with my department. As of last year, in 1998, this was first raised with the municipalities, that our department would be moving in this direction, so, certainly, there has been adequate notice given to the municipal units.

MR. DEWOLFE: I can tell the minister that it was last December. Does it concern the minister that, while this House was supporting, in good faith, a bill, the Municipal Government Act, that would ensure 12 months' notice would be provided before any government department would be downloading costs to the municipalities, his actions were directly contrary to the spirit and intent of this legislation?

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the fact is that this is not a new issue to the municipal units in this province; in fact, our department had a pilot project which was under way in one of the municipal units as far back as 1997, as regards water testing. So, certainly, this is an issue that has been discussed with the municipal units for quite some time and we have been trying to respect the concerns with the new Municipal Government Act and this is something we had a lot of discussion on. We are going to continue to have discussions; in fact, I understand that meetings are being planned with the UNSM, Municipal Affairs and my department to further discuss this issue.

[Page 5331]

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, back to the minister. So as not to further compromise the integrity of the legislation that is due to take effect at the same time, on April 1st, as his downloading directive, would the minister commit to rescinding his directive until some proper time lines are in place that are more in line with the Act and would provide the municipalities with a better time-frame?

MR. SAMSON: Again, Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. There has been adequate consultation on this. It has been ongoing. It will continue to be ongoing. My department has been speaking with the different municipal units. We are going to provide training to their employees, in order that they can undergo this testing. We are quite confident that there has been proper consultation here. We are going to continue to work with them, we are going to continue to monitor this. Now municipal water will not only be tested from one department, there will now be two eyes looking over these tests to ensure the safety of the residents throughout this province.

[4:30 p.m.]

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

FIN. - ATL. LOTTERY CORP.: WITHDRAWAL - PLANS

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Finance. Yesterday the minister promised that the Gaming Corporation was going to inform Nova Scotians exactly what we are doing about the withdrawal from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Today Nova Scotians got some information but no feasibility study and no business plan. When will the government release its studies and plans for breaking away from the interprovincial lottery so Nova Scotians can see for themselves how this decision was reached?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in fact we did release information this morning. Earlier, before that, we met with representatives of the local newspapers, informing them as well and briefing them on the rationale and why we have gone forward and some of the business proposals. As the member opposite realizes all too well, the information we provided was the information we could today. More information will come in the future but we are in the process of negotiations in regard to the disposition of our position with ALC.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Again we continue to look forward to receiving the information, the business plan and the feasibility study. It has been six years since this government has promised to relocate jobs in Cape Breton and two years since they began to leave Atlantic Loto. My question to the minister is this, why can't the government tell us right now if their plans include a Cape Breton location for this new agency?

[Page 5332]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, first they come out and talk about the issue of whether or not there is a plan and what are we doing, questioning the integrity of the fact that this administration is standing up, fighting on behalf of Nova Scotians bringing those benefits here. No more than she gets it out of her mouth, then she turns around and says, by the way, we want the jobs in my riding. I wish they would get their act together.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: I would think if there is a plan that we would know if Cape Breton was included. The minister has reassured Nova Scotians that this was not a hasty decision. Mr. Speaker, why then does the Gaming Corporation say they may need to outsource to replace Atlantic Loto because there would not be enough time to set up in Nova Scotia?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I want to inform members of this House that any decision we make and all decisions we make that Cape Breton is very much a part of the decision-making process, as well as is every other jurisdiction in this province because we are a provincially-run organization that cares about all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, in response to the question, if the member was aware of the presentation today and that clearly in these negotiations we have been negotiating to stay within ALC. Now we are in a situation where we are negotiating to get out. When we go through that negotiation, that will be the time line for which we will be able to develop our program and the overall plan for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.:

TRUCKERS (LEON THOMPSON-TANS) - STATUS

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Mr. Leon Thompson was ousted from the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia on March 13, during a closed hearing. Prior to this hearing, he personally requested that TANS continue to dispatch Mr. Thompson until the matters between Mr. Thompson and TANS were resolved. That has not happened.

What actions, if any, will the minister take to ensure that TANS adheres to his request?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I would like to inform him that I want to see a very fair process evolve here. I have had the opportunity to meet with TANS and I also want to have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Leon Thompson, which will be set up at a later date.

[Page 5333]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, Mr. Thompson's right to freedom of expression, a fair and impartial hearing and the pursuance of his profession have been violated. Will you ask TANS to reinstate Mr. Thompson as a full member until Mr. Thompson receives an independent hearing?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as I have previously stated, I want to see a fair process evolve here. Mr. Thompson is one of over almost 1,000 truckers in the Province of Nova Scotia. I want to see that each and every one of those truckers is treated fairly.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, again to the minister, I assume the minister supports the 20/80 rule and must know the 10 day rule affects contractors as well as Mr. Thompson. When is the minister going to consider contractor's rights to hire who they want to carry out their obligations on contract work?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question, and yes, he is right. I do support the 20/80 rule. The truckers also support that, the almost 1,000 truckers, and I feel that this 20/80 rule is excellent for the Province of Nova Scotia and we will continue with it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM: UNEMPLOYMENT - DEFINITION

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Deputy Premier. Mr. Minister, reading a number of newspaper reports and wanting clarification on a definition, I was wondering if you could tell me what the definition of high unemployment area in Nova Scotia is?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Province of Nova Scotia has created more jobs in the last fiscal year than we have seen in many years. In fact, the help wanted index has increased to 18 per cent or 19 per cent in the last fiscal year. What we try to do is create an environment to foster economic growth, and I appreciate the question.

In response to the question, what we do is take a look at the 10.7 per cent unemployment rate currently in the Province of Nova Scotia, that is the weighted average, there are some areas that are higher, some areas that are lower. When we assess the high areas of unemployment, those would be ones that are beyond the average unemployment level in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Minister, so then would 12.8 per cent in a given region in Nova Scotia qualify as a high unemployment area?

[Page 5334]

MR. DOWNE: Relative to what? There are some areas in this province that are substantially higher, and I think of Cape Breton as a case in point. There are areas in Cape Breton that are substantially almost double that, if not double that figure. We have areas in this province that are significantly worse off, those are the areas that we need to address.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Minister, I haven't gotten the clarity I was hoping for in those definitions, but I do thank you for the answer. In regard to situations around the province where commitments have been made by your government in the past, and one representation was made to me this morning from the area I represent. They were wondering if you as Deputy Premier on behalf of your government will be honouring the commitment of 75 government jobs in the Amherst area?

MR. DOWNE: It seems to me it was written in blood, it was evident. The reality here is that we are creating economic opportunities throughout the Province of Nova Scotia and as long as this Liberal Administration is in power, we are going to be continuing to focus economic opportunity throughout all of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - CARE: UNIVERSAL - DEFINITION

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. It is a very simple question, one that anyone familiar with Medicare and the Canada Health Act can answer. My question is, could the minister please tell us what he understands the term, universal health care, means?

MR. SPEAKER: That is a pretty broad question.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it is kind of open-ended. The example I would use for universal health care would be our Pharmacare Program for seniors. That would be an example of universal health care, that all seniors in this province, regardless of whether they have private insurance or not have access to our Pharmacare Program. That is a definition of universal health care. Health care has never ever been fully insured in this country, ever, and we have made great strides in the last few decades. There are still areas and barriers that we as a society have to address. But there are programs that have universality. Others are not so easily accessible.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what universal health care means is the same health care for everyone regardless of income yet the minister's Pharmacare Program means different groups will get different drug coverage. My question is, why is the minister refusing to release the 1999 report of the working group on Pharmacare so we can all see how these changes will affect universal drug coverage? (Applause)

[Page 5335]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, she is using a definition and I cannot argue with that. It sounds like a good definition. There are no seniors in Nova Scotia that are being denied Pharmacare. There has been a request made and I have some information that some reasons for not releasing that have been personalized very much to staff, and I would request that the honourable member be pretty sure about what she or her staff are accusing the staff of the Department of Health. (Interruption) No, it has to do with the release of information, Mr. Speaker. We are following the due process of releasing information and that information will be released to them.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of seniors who are worried about changes to their drug coverage which is effective tomorrow, will the minister please stop the Pharmacare changes before embarking on the slippery slope to a two-tier health care system?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we are responding to requests; 72 per cent of the complaints that we received about our Pharmacare was that some persons, those that had access to private insurance, were paying two premiums. We responded to that. We have dealt with the working group in their report.

It is very interesting, Mr. Speaker, that the NDP seem to be in a collusion with the editorial board of the Halifax Herald, plus big businesses in Canada.

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

EDUC. - CHIGNECTO-CENTRAL SCHOOL BD.:

BROOKFIELD - SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Education and Culture. The Minister of Education and Culture will know that the Chignecto- Central Regional School Board, on behalf of students, teachers and parents in the Brookfield area, submitted a proposal back in October 1998. The proposal called for school and school improvements in the Brookfield area. My question to the minister is, when is the minister and his government going to reach a decision on that proposal that was submitted by the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for raising that question. I can tell the honourable member currently the school that he is making reference to in Colchester County, the South Colchester High School, that is currently before staff. We are presently talking with our colleagues in the Department of Finance. I anticipate to have an answer for my colleague hopefully in the next few weeks.

[Page 5336]

MR. TAYLOR: I appreciate that answer but the next few weeks may never come, Mr. Speaker. The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board was told they must meet that time line, October 31, 1998. They did that in good conscience and in good faith on behalf of the Brookfield and area community. When is this government going to consider that proposal that was submitted in good faith and in good conscience by the board?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to tour the Colchester South High School with my colleague across the floor. I can certainly acknowledge the need to provide a school for those students in that immediate area. I will continue to work with my colleague, the Minister of Finance, to be able to announce a school for those students very shortly.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, the Brookfield and area proposal is included in a package with other communities. Some of those communities are not quite as receptive . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. TAYLOR: . . . and agreeable as the Brookfield community is to building those schools and the Brookfield area consequently, . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: . . . Mr. Speaker, has asked that their schools be separated.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. TAYLOR: Has the minister made that distinction? Can he separate . . .

MR. GAUDET: The answer to that question, Mr. Speaker, is yes.

MR. SPEAKER: We have time for one quick question.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - PAVING: PRIORITIES LIST - TABLE

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. When will the people of Nova Scotia see a comprehensive paving, not repaving, priorities list with indications of dates and times tabled in this House?

[Page 5337]

[4:45 p.m.]

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I want to inform him that in December of last year, I tabled the priority list, in this House, of every road that would be paved. That was tabled in December of last year.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: My office received a letter from the Office of the Minister of Transportation. There are no dates on this document, no time lines, no indication where these roads stand on the overall priority list. Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, to the minister is, when will roads like that Canaan Road receive the special attention that is necessary? When will they know?

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have circulated, to each caucus, the schedule for debate this evening, as well as to yourself. Would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 66.

Bill No. 66 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to Bill No. 66, An Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1995-96, The Education Act, to Ensure Fiscal Responsibility Respecting School Construction.

Mr. Speaker, it is a very brief bill. It contains only one clause with an (a) and a (b), so it contains two simple concepts. The first concept is cost-effectiveness in school construction. So the bill, "requires the Minister of Education and Culture to determine the most cost-effective financing option before constructing, altering or adding to buildings or other works for school purposes . . .".

[Page 5338]

The second part of the clause requires that when a long term lease is signed, a lease of five years or more, for a public school, that it appear as a separate line item in the Appropriations Act.

Mr. Speaker, you might ask why we would have introduced such a bill in this House. I think some of that has been answered earlier this afternoon. The bill exists, in spite of what the Minister of Education said today, because the government has never properly explored the question of what is the most cost-effective way of financing schools. I was most surprised to hear the Minister of Education this afternoon crediting the Auditor General with the notion that he thought that this was the best way to build schools. I would like to just draw the minister's and House's attention to some of the more salient remarks made by the Auditor General, which indicate the need for this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to read from his reports. They have already been tabled. I will be happy to table them again, if necessary. At the end of 1997, the Auditor General said in his report, "In order to make significant decisions like the one to enter into P3 arrangements, government needs a clear understanding of costs and benefits including comprehensive risk analysis.". He goes on to say, Mr. Speaker, "This was not done for P3 schools . . .". He goes on to say, in the same section of his report, his concluding remarks on the financing of schools, that the government's own ". . . Review does not include a comprehensive analysis of the costs and benefits of leasing versus ownership of schools.".

Mr. Speaker, later on, in July 1998, when the Auditor General released his report on the O'Connell Drive school lease, he said, again, "The decision on whether the province should proceed with lease arrangements for schools . . . is complex and should be based on a thorough analysis of costs and benefits . . .". He would not be saying this over and over again if it had been done. So, clearly, there is a need for the fiscal financial responsibility here that has not been met by this government.

Can it be done, Mr. Speaker? It certainly can be done. There are a number of ways to do it and the Auditor General comments in his report on the ineffectiveness of the way cost comparisons were done by the government, they were of the apples and oranges variety. We do have some models, however. The New Brunswick Government, the Auditor General in New Brunswick, when faced with the challenge of trying to decide whether a particular school, the Evergreen School, was cheaper or more expensive under this process, he used a generic model of the school of a particular size and design in order to create a cost comparison. So, it can be done, it should be done, and it needs to be done.

It needs to be done because we know, and we said this morning outside this place, the increased costs of two of the schools that we have enough public information on - those are Horton and O'Connell Drive schools - we know this, Mr. Speaker, because we know the costs, we can estimate based on the costs of borrowing money, we know that the P3 method of construction is adding at least $35 million to the costs of new schools in Nova Scotia.

[Page 5339]

I would like to table in the House the documents that demonstrate the calculations we have made to show that they are, in fact, more expensive. Mr. Speaker, I would like to table those documents for the benefit of the House, so that others can see what we have spent a great deal of time looking at, thinking about, analyzing and drawing some conclusions on. The evidence is there; it is there. We can argue about it until the cows come home, but we know that the way this government has done it with school construction, we know it is more expensive.

Now the cost of the construction is only one piece of the cost and the resulting lease is only one component of the cost of a leased school, Mr. Speaker. So there are some other costs that are difficult to find out, difficult to ascertain, and those include any such taxes that may not be included. Taxes of all kinds, perhaps municipal, unless they are exempt, HST taxes and other taxes, business occupancy taxes in this case if schools are used for other purposes rather than for public education, and the whole question of what the tax bill is for these schools has never been answered either.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of questions that really need to be asked here. Both of them, really they are the same question. If these schools are less expensive, then why has the government now changed its mind? We heard today from the Minister of Education that Horton and O'Connell Drive schools were just pilot projects, they were not really what we thought they were all this time. That answer came to us in response to a question about why particular schools in communities in this province are being offered this stripped-down model.

Now it is a fact that the school in the riding of the former Minister of Education had all the bells and whistles. We have said it before, we all know it is true, even if the government might deny it, whether it is theatres or more than one soccer pitch or separate facilities for outdoor theatricals or whatever it is, Mr. Speaker. Now what do we have in Annapolis County? We have the Municipality of Annapolis being approached for support for a soccer pitch. The private developer says that this will cost $188,000, plus GST. Pricing for soccer pitches indicates that they can actually be built for $35,000 to $50,000. I think that is a serious question.

Mr. Speaker, the last point that I want to make, the last question, if these schools are cheaper and if this whole process is so fair and transparent, why is it that we don't know who owns Horton High School? We have the evidence that the Nova Scotia Educational Facilities Society is the apparent owner of Horton High School, a non-profit society. So we need to ask, why are they doing that? Is it to save money on taxes? If so, then how can we say that these schools are cheaper.

Mr. Speaker, I think that we need to examine this process and the best way to do it, I think, is to legislate this demand because the government has clearly not done its job.

[Page 5340]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that I have spoken with the member opposite a number of times on educational issues. I have no question that she has a passion for education and a sincere caring for the children in our schools throughout Nova Scotia. But, however, on this issue, her facts are all wrong. In fact, she, or perhaps her colleague, the finance critic, has so much wrong, it is hard to know where to start.

Let me start with their in-house financial numbers, Mr. Speaker. I don't pretend to be an accountant or an auditor, but I can tell you, I have more faith in the Auditor General than I do in the financial wizards in the NDP Party. The NDP say they are submitting their analysis to the Auditor General. Well, I have news for them. The Auditor General has already audited the O'Connell Drive Elementary School and this is what he said. In his report of July 1998, he states, clearly, that our partner was able "to arrange financing at the same rate as the province would have incurred if it had financed the school from its own sources. Therefore, there was no additional cost associated with the P3 arrangement.". That is a direct quote from the Auditor General.

There is not much more than I can say, other than I don't have much confidence in the NDP numbers. That contradicts the Auditor General, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps we should give them some credit though. At least they are trying to do analysis now, instead of dismissing the budget without seeing it. But, clearly, they still have a lot of work to do.

They also continued today with their contradictions. They support new schools, but not all of them. Just those that they say are needed. Well, our elected school boards believe they are all needed. They requested the schools in the first place. I challenge the NDP today to tell Nova Scotians what schools are not needed. Tell the communities today who will not be getting new schools. Are they in the metro area? Are they the schools in Hants East, which the member for that area has so often asked me about? Maybe they don't support schools that are not in NDP ridings. I can assure you, while I occupy this position, I will continue to look at all communities throughout Nova Scotia.

They talk about lack of P3 in some communities. I acknowledge, Mr. Speaker, there is controversy in some communities, but this has nothing to do with P3. Let me remind members of this House that school boards request the schools that they need first. There is an established criteria. That can include the age, condition of the school, declining or growing enrolment and many other factors. This can also include school board decisions to consolidate schools; decisions that are made due to declining enrolments or other factors; decisions that have nothing to do with public-private partnerships.

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[5:00 p.m.]

School boards are also responsible for selecting a site. Throughout the history of building schools selecting one school site, Mr. Speaker, to serve two or more communities always holds the potential for controversy. Let's put the recent controversy on school sites and consolidation into context. Almost 40 school projects are being planned; 40 school projects are under construction or some have already opened. We have heard concerns from a few but the vast majority are proceeding very well.

When you are in government, you do not want to abandon plans because there is some controversy. You work with the communities and your partners to try to find a solution and that is what is expected of government. That is what we are working towards in Judique, Mr. Speaker, and in other communities.

Mr. Speaker, to deal with the proposed amendments before us today let me begin with the second one first. Quite simply, there is no need to amend the Education Act to do something we are already doing. You can see in the Supplementary Detail the lease payments on Page 7.11. The lease payments are listed as specific appropriation. We have public-private partnership leases, $5.103 million. It is already there in our Supplementary Detail. The lease payments for the individual schools are posted for everyone to see on our home page and we include them in our releases and public statements. Everything is out in the open. The process could not be more transparent and we will keep doing that. We will keep doing that.

On the amendment related to fiscal responsibility, I am sorry, but I cannot help pointing out the irony. When I picked up the Globe and Mail, today, I read about the huge school construction plan going on, on the other side of the country, Mr. Speaker. I am sure British Columbia students need schools too. I am sure of that. The NDP Government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on school construction but piling the hundreds of millions dollars on the provincial debt. (Interruptions)

So, of course, with the untold costs to the future. Today, Mr. Speaker, the NDP in Nova Scotia talk to us about fiscal responsibility. Let me see. It is the front page of today's Globe and Mail which trumpets an $890 million deficit. An $890 million deficit is the NDP idea of fiscal responsibility. Well, I do not want to go down that road. I am sure many Nova Scotia taxpayers do not want to go down that road either. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, here in Nova Scotia for all new schools original tender documents set out a budget. As well, a design manual sets out standards that the partners must follow, controlling budget and maintaining quality and standard. Fiscal responsibility and quality are built right into the process and we are meeting that need. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak today on the amendments proposed by the NDP. I would like to take a few moments to say a few words on an extremely serious matter, and that is the educational programs for Nova Scotia's young people and how we are going to pay for it.

Rather than play too much political chicanery with it, I think we had better take an honest, hard look at it because this is the future of the Province of Nova Scotia and our finances. An extremely ambitious project when you look at it, 31 projects basically here, over $500 million, $0.5 billion in school construction. The likes of this type of announcement, we have never seen in the history of this province before.

These schools are needed in these communities. There is absolutely no question about that, and my colleagues and I, from this side of the House, certainly are in favour when a school is required that the school should be built in a timely manner. The financing of the schools as proposed under the current government, are P3 arrangements, and P3 arrangements are a financing scheme, not an educational scheme. During the last three or four years, the government has spent a great deal of time trying to convince Nova Scotians that a financing scheme is indeed an educational program. I tell you they are not.

Bricks and mortar, a safe, secure learning environment is paramount to quality education as the first building block, but it is not the operational budget of schools in this province, it is not instructors, it is not textbooks, it is not computers, it is not resources. What we are talking about is how we pay for schools in this province.

This Liberal Government has a large black eye in the initial year or two that this began. We look at Sherwood Park, it still doesn't have an owner. There was no public-private partner there. It was a weak attempt at trying to put together a private project and it is still carried on the government's books to this day, and $15 million is what it cost.

We look at the Horton experience. We look at O'Connell Drive. This Party worked very hard because those schools were needed. They are very upset at the cost and the procedure of how they came about, but they tried their best, working with the Auditor General, to bring the process to heel. That is what we have attempted to do from this side of the House, to bring the process to heel, making the government and the minister responsible for those costs. With a recommendation of the Auditor General, leases are to be signed and the government agreed to it finally. Leases will be signed supposedly before construction starts. A critical step each time down this road, as we went along with the Auditor General.

The need of those schools, whether it is organizations such as the chamber of commerce who endorses schools built by public-private partners, whether it is the Nova Scotia Teachers Union who endorses the building of the schools, reasonable people may not like this type of

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private partnering in construction of schools in Nova Scotia, but they do agree that schools have to be built and let's get on with the process.

From this side of the House, we agree that the schools need to be built, but the government should be in charge of the process. Whether they be P3 or whether they be conventionally built schools, whatever protects the taxpayers' interest is what should be out there. Protecting the taxpayers' interest can go a long way. We advocate uniformity of design, we advocate streamlining of costs, and uniformity of materials. Those are just a few things in the accounting procedure that can bring those costs in line.

Government, whether it is built P3 or whether it is built traditional, can set down the guidelines for conformity of what is to be built for a physical structure, the parameters of the square footage, and set those things in motion so that they are in charge of the contract, whether it is built with contracts in a traditional method or with a public-private partner. This government has to begin that process and take charge. Those are some of the things that will allow them to take charge.

Mr. Speaker, today I was disappointed by the cheap political chicanery that was played out with the NDP's position on P3. Apples and oranges and playing with the lives of children's future in education by a political Party is not what we need right now. We saw a process today where we had apples and oranges released in this very House, where they were using yesterday's agreement with today's interest rates. The press was not fooled, Nova Scotians were not fooled and the other legislators in this House were not fooled. When we look at situations where they would pull these numbers up and try to make a case that they are not relevant.

Mr. Speaker, I want to table this document here. It shows that square footage costs are relatively the same whether they are P3 or whether they are standard-built schools. Where we want to be as legislators is making sure Nova Scotians' interests are protected with reasonably costed schools. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. FAGE: We want to go to the future as a Party, Mr. Speaker, not the past, and we are prepared to work with all three Parties to get there. But if we are going to go to communities - and I will table this document here; it is a newspaper release. I happened to attend that myself - where we had Robert Chisholm going that afternoon against P3, going that evening (Interruptions) The Leader of the NDP signing a document that P3 is fine with him. Where do you get any type of credibility? That is what is wrong with the process in this province. Nova Scotians are not going to buy that foolishness.

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Mr. Speaker, we have a situation where we have the Leader of the NDP playing cheap political tricks, by going to constituency offices of other Leaders in this province and trying to make an amalgamation issue for political gain; taking those poor innocent children and people who are desperate to have their plea heard, and it is an amalgamation issue trying to make it a P3 issue. It is absolutely astoundingly unbelievable that the future of education in this province would be played with in such a manner.

The reality of where we have to go with education is supplying proper resources to the students of this province; the proper resources come out in operational budgets that earlier this afternoon we pointed out were in deficit by $16 million this year alone. Operational budgets are instructors, special needs teachers, textbooks instead of photocopying. Those children will learn in a safe environment whether it be new or old, whether it be built P3 or standard or conventional school construction. That is what this province cries out for, reasonable education costs with all children receiving a fair and equitable education across this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill No. 66, An Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Education Act. As my colleague, the member for Halifax Fairview has already spoken in some detail with regard to the specific provisions of the bill, I will take a little time to maybe explain for some of the members of the other Parties - maybe in more simple terms if necessary - exactly where our Party stands with regard to fiscal prudence. This is what this bill is about, it is about being fiscally prudent. That is what it is about. Unfortunately, the Tories and Liberals in this particular Legislature need a very simple lesson with regard to that.

Let me start by explaining a little bit about my riding, Mr. Speaker. I come from the riding of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage which is a suburban riding. It is a riding that is growing very quickly and, indeed, there are two schools that are being built in my riding - potentially in my riding, I should say - Eastern Passage Junior High School and Colby Village-Portland Estates School that should be built some time in the next few years.

[5:15 p.m.]

So, I think what is important, Mr. Speaker, is to put on the record that I, as an MLA for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, and our Party supports the building of schools where schools are needed. That is the rule that must be followed. (Applause) I want to make it clear, particularly in suburban metro Halifax-Dartmouth, there is a need for schools and there is a need for schools because this government, in the past five years, has ignored the overcrowding problems and that has affected the long-term quality of education for the students in suburban Halifax-Dartmouth.

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Growing communities need schools and that is important. The question in Bill No. 66 is, how do we pay for those schools? Government is about choices, Mr. Speaker. Government is about having to make decisions that not only involve political factors, but also involve monetary factors. There are many different options, potentially, and again like the Minister of Education, I am not an auditor and I am not an accountant. I am just going to lay out three potential options with regard to how schools can be financed.

We can do it the way that it has been done and it is always done in most provinces. That is the allocation of money in the current fiscal year for capital projects that are built in that year. That is the way it has been done in the past. You can go with a different direction, and that is the government financing the construction of the schools financing over many years. That may help spread out some of it, but in the end, there is still the cost that must be paid.

Finally, the third one that I want to discuss is allowing the schools to be built and owned by the private sector and leased for 20 years by the Government of Nova Scotia, what we all know as P3 schools, Mr. Speaker. Those are just three options, potentially, with regard to how schools can be paid for and funded.

I want to make it clear again, that this is about choices and it is about a government that must decide not only where schools must go. There are a lot of factors involved in that, Mr. Speaker, and it is a political decision and it is not always an easy decision, but the most important thing is that it be done in a way that is cost-effective. That we ensure that we are building schools where they are necessary, but doing it in a way that spends the least amount of Nova Scotia's taxpayers money. That is what we are all here to do, to make decisions that are cost-effective and that are right for the Province of Nova Scotia.

What is the bottom line in all of this, Mr. Speaker? Schools, yes, where they are needed, but not at any cost. That is the problem with what we have had with this Liberal Government. P3 schools were a means of hiding debt, of falsely balancing budgets and in return making us all pay, as taxpayers, more in the long run. That is what the problem is with P3 and that is why we need Bill No. 66. It ensures cost-effectiveness and is the final test as to whether or not and how we are going to finance our schools. As we have seen in the past year, in particularly in the past few months, the P3 method is not the most cost-effective method of financing our schools. That is the problem with this system and that is why this Liberal Government, as they said to the Minister of Education, cannot support Bill No. 66. They know that if this bill was passed, a simple bill with two clauses, an amendment to the Education Act, they know that their own great system of financing schools would not meet the test, would not cut the mustard and, in the end, they would be forced to have to show how they are paying for it in a more clear and transparent manner. They are afraid to do that.

This Liberal Government is not willing to admit that it has wasted the money of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. This Liberal Government is not willing to admit that it is taking money out of the hands of the children of this province and putting it in the hands of their

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own friends and developers. This Liberal Government is hiding the debt by fudging the budget numbers and we will all pay for it in the long run. That is what is wrong with the P3 financing method and that is why we need legislation to protect us from a government that is only concerned about short-term interest, and not the long-term interest of the people of this province.

Bill No. 66 would address and prevent fiscal lunacy and that is what we have had in this province for God knows how long, in particular, in the past few years, with the P3 method. That is why I want to say today, Mr. Speaker, that if the other Parties support fiscal prudency, they must vote for Bill No. 66. If the other Parties are opposed to fiscal prudency, if they believe there are other ways of making decisions and dealing with the issues of school financing that don't involve cost-effectiveness, then please feel free to vote against this bill.

Let me make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that this Party believes in fiscal prudency, it believes in cost-effectiveness as being the best means of financing our schools in this province where they are needed. That is why it must be done through Bill No. 66.

I want to take a few minutes to address a couple of the points raised by the Minister of Finance. In particular, he addressed the issue of O'Connell Drive, saying that that school was as cost-effective as the normal sort of old system was. I just want to make it clear for the record that what the Auditor General said in his report was that because it was financed through a pension plan, they were able to get a more government-oriented rate on the financing.

That is not the way most of these schools are being financed. Therefore, we are not going to have that same rate that would be used for the financing of the schools. That is a problem for the other 31 schools that are being developed.

So with regard to that, Mr. Speaker, I just want to say in closing that Bill No. 66 is for fiscal prudency and cost-effective financing of schools. If the other Parties are not willing to support it, then we know where they stand on that issue. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: The time has expired on that one, has it not? Yes, would you please call then Bill No. 70.

Bill No. 70 - Fisheries Organizations Consultation (1998) Act.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to talk on Bill No. 70, the Fisheries Organizations Consultation (1998) Act, an Act to Strengthen Nova Scotia's Coastal Communities.

Part of the backbone and culture of Nova Scotia is its coastal communities. This bill recognizes that very fact. In essence, this is a bill that will strengthen our coastal communities by involving all stakeholders. Within six months of coming into being, a plan of action will be tabled in the House of Assembly. There are clauses, though, to this bill that I feel are paramount: Clause 3(a), "consult with fisheries organizations;".

Mr. Speaker, I have attended many meetings since I was elected, with fishers and their organizations. I always hear that they are not being listened to, that their concerns and issues are being swept under the carpet by the bureaucratic broom. I cannot express strongly enough the importance, the magnitude of involving fisheries organizations in the consultation process.

As legislators, we enact bills and amendments to bills with input from the public and various organizations. Mr. Speaker, who knows the industry better than fishers? The knowledge and history that these fishery organizations can bring to the table is invaluable. After all, it is their livelihood we are discussing, it is their industry we wish to enhance, it is our communities we want to strengthen.

Clause 3(b), "prepare a plan using the Province's powers, including the power to license the processing, buying, selling, packaging and marketing of fish and fish products, to promote a system of community control of the fishery;".

Mr. Speaker, we do not have a credible record dealing with the federal government on the matters of the fishery. As a matter of fact, it is quite embarrassing and dismal. What Point B will do is address the issue of poaching, which is a constant threat, especially to our lobster industry. Some estimates have it at thousands of pounds of lobsters being landed illegally in southwestern Nova Scotia annually. In fact, it has become quite a commercial industry.

What this bill will do is give more teeth to the existing provincial powers, because you see, we have the power already to address this issue. Let's exercise it, let's enforce it. What this will do is make some members of the industry, processors, buyers, more accountable where they get their product from.

Mr. Speaker, if we can control and eliminate the buying and processing of illegally caught lobster, in reality, we eliminate that form of the fishery. If processors and buyers know that the full brunt of the law will come down on them, they will become more accountable not only to the industry but to the community which is dependent on the revenue from that fishery. What Clauses 3(a) and (b) are saying and emphasizing is consultation, involving all

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stakeholders with the common goal of strengthening our coastal communities and ensuring accountability.

Clause 3(c), "table the plan in the House of Assembly.". I recognize that Clauses 3(a) and (b) are not and will not be an easy task but as long as all stakeholders recognize what is being required, as long as all stakeholders first and foremost recognize the importance of our coastal communities to be successful, it is one that will work. When the consultative process is done, Clause 3(c) will then instruct the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to table a clear, detailed plan so that all Nova Scotians will know that there is a direction and course that our fishery is going in and what that direction and course will be. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for bringing this Private Members' Public Bill forward. Actually the bill outlines a lot of the things that our department is already doing and we have been in the process of doing for over a year now.

Part of the bill talks about consultation with the fisheries organizations. I personally initiated last August the first Minister's Conference, I believe, in the province. We invited all the fisheries organizations - and I stress all the fisheries organizations - in Nova Scotia to come. We had 49 representatives at the meeting. We came to consensus on seven different items. That made history in the Province of Nova Scotia, it really did.

A follow-up to that meeting in February of this year, we had our second Minister's Conference and this time we had close to 100 representatives representing all the fisheries organizations in the Province of Nova Scotia. Again, we came to consensus on many issues.

We had people at those meetings that basically didn't deal with each other in the past, wouldn't listen to each other and as a result of our conference, they worked very closely together to come to consensus on different issues. As a result of that process, we have now struck a Minister's Council, and the Minister's Council is structured of one representative from every fisheries organization in the Province of Nova Scotia. How could you have better representation than that? We don't ask an organization whether you have three members or 500 members; if it is an organization recognized by fishermen in the area, we accept them as an organization.

[5:30 p.m.]

We had a great deal of difficulty deciding how we were going to structure the Minister's Council and a suggestion that was put forward was that one person from each organization come. That way, everybody is represented and everybody will be invited every time we have a Minister's Council meeting. The idea of the meeting is to bring information

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forward from the industry on a specific issue that our department, and particularly myself, as minister, can then take forward and represent the industry with a united stand on a particular issue. This has never happened in Nova Scotia history before. So we are making very significant progress in that regard.

I am going to go over some of the other things that we have been working on. The Fleet Management Board recently put a proposal forward to us for our support, through the provincial Department of Fisheries, to purchase quota from the mobile fleet to move it inshore, where it should be, in small rural communities. We worked with the Fleet Management Board. We pressured DFO to make decisions that would help them purchase this quota. Now the quota is a permanent quota and has a long-term economic impact in the communities that were approached. We, again, have made history in the Province of Nova Scotia. This was never done anywhere in the country before. After we put pressure on DFO, they agreed to move forward with this program. As a result of that, the Fleet Management Board now has a quota that they own and will pay for overtime with an arrangement to be made with the board.

Another thing that has been happening is Area 19 crab fishermen have a management plan for Area 19 crab. That has made history in the country where they set the number of licenses, who can fish, the number of traps they can fish. They have a quota in place and they have actually gone to the extent now - which I am very pleased with and it is one that I have been promoting with them since the first time I have dealt with them - to work with the local fish plants and processors to see if they could stagger their landings to ensure that we have more employment at the fish plants. In the past, they landed 45,000 pounds of crab a day and they could only process 15,000 pounds a day, so a lot of it was being shipped out of the province for processing.

We are going to try to make a correction on that to make sure that the fishermen land the fish in an orderly manner, which is unusual and was never heard of before in the industry, to land the product and ensure that the people in the local community have long-term sustainable employment. This is really true economic development in the finest kind with people in the community deciding themselves how they are going to do it and it is working.

The clam industry, which everybody in the province and across the country thinks is really a non-existent industry, puts millions of dollars into our economy every year. We are now looking at management plans driven by the local communities in clam areas. If we can judge by what has happened in Maine, where an industry was almost totally gone and grown within a couple of years to a $4 million a year annual industry in one small location in Maine, that is only a small amount that we can achieve through this. With the industry working together for a management plan themselves and a local community with the harvesters and the processors and the people in the community, it is working and it is coming forward.

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The most important thing we have to do in the fishing industry in Nova Scotia is build consensus. It doesn't matter what the topic is, we have to build consensus. We have been building consensus for the first time in the history of the province. As I said, we had a minister's conference and we had consensus on seven topics in the very first meeting. As we build consensus, then we can go forward with a united voice to DFO and say, this is what the industry in Nova Scotia wants. This is what the industry in Nova Scotia deserves. We will have a very good chance of getting it.

In the past, what happened for political reasons, people would go and get one group stirred up about something and another group stirred up about something and, at the end of the day, DFO would look at it and say, well, you guys are fighting with each other so bad, we are not going to give it to you at all. We are going to give it to New Brunswick or P.E.I. That is what happened and that hurt our industry.

There is a lot of talk in Nova Scotia about Nova Scotia's poor fishing industry. Well, Nova Scotia has had some difficulty in the fishing industry, but Nova Scotia's fishing industry is still the strongest industry in the province. In the late 1980's, when the groundfish fishery collapse came, we were selling approximately $725 million worth of fish, exported outside of Canada. This year past, we hit $900 million. (Applause) That is a dramatic growth in export sales, and I say this is just outside of Canada, this is not within Canada.

That $900 million means that the people in the communities really got together, added value to the products, and came up with new products that were not there before, to displace the products that have gone. So we are going to be positioned very solidly in the future if the groundfish fishery, when it does come back, to make sure that our $900 million probably will gross to $1.5 billion to $2 billion. We are on the way.

We need more cooperation with DFO and we are getting more cooperation with DFO. My staff said to me the other day we have gotten more cooperation recently with DFO than we have had in 25 years. I think that is really critically important. One last thing I want to mention is a task force that has been put together to fight the illegal fishing activities in southwestern Nova Scotia and other areas of Nova Scotia. We have again made history in the Province of Nova Scotia. We have put a task force together with the federal Department of Fisheries, the provincial Department of Fisheries, the RCMP, Revenue Canada, federal Justice and provincial Justice, to fight this very serious problem. We have already laid 28 charges and many more charges are coming.

As we go through this process, we are changing the rules and we are making it more and more difficult for people to work illegally in this industry. We have to stop it, and we have made a very significant movement forward in that regard. We have already had other provinces approach us, ask us how we are tackling this problem, and they are very impressed with the progress we have made so far. We have not made enough progress yet and we will not make enough progress until the day that illegal fishing is eliminated in the Province of

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Nova Scotia. We will not accept anything less than that. The one key tool we have in this is Revenue Canada. Their bill never goes away and we are going to insist that that happens. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that I look at this piece of legislation and I know the member for Yarmouth was well-intentioned when he brought it forward. I look at it and I think it typifies a lot of the NDP legislation that has come forward. It has got a theme, but it has no guts, and when I say guts, I am referring to operative clauses in this legislation.

I look at our caucus, and when we draft legislation we look at the consequences; we look at Charter issues and other things. When I see the legislation being drafted by the NDP and brought forward in this House . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: It is pretty light, isn't it?

MR. LEBLANC: It is fluff and although the intent is good, it will never stand up to public scrutiny, so I rue the day that ever the opportunity would come that they would be in government.

After I said that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak on the intent of this bill. I am not going to talk about the bill because I do not think it will function as it is, but I want to talk about what the intent of it is and that is to strengthen coastal communities. I come from an area that is very rich in the fishing tradition. It is very much based in lobster. We have other fisheries in our communities such as bluefin tuna and we have other things such as the herring fishery and we have some groundfish in our area and we have other types of fisheries such as rockweed harvesting and so forth. We consider ourselves fortunate. There are other communities in my riding that have a much more diverse community, such as Pubnico where they have an extensive base of fishery and they are very fortunate.

Part of the problem that comes up with that, Mr. Speaker, is that within the fishery there are the have's and there are the have not's. There are communities that have very little in the form of fishing resources. They have a few fishermen and really not much more. In the past, maybe they had the licences, but other people were very aggressive - and I will use the Community of Pubnico, for example - they went out and a lot of licences that were not being used, they purchased them and they reactivated them into the fishery. They were very aggressive. I tell you I admire people who have the guts and the gumption to get out there and push.

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A lot of people in my riding - and I look at the member for Shelburne, that is another example - are very aggressive. So the member for Yarmouth and I are fortunate that we come from an area that people have been real pushers and because of that we have prospered, but it does not mean that we have all the answers, it does not mean that we have everything at our disposal to make a living. We have to keep working at it, the declines in quota and declines in employment levels in this province which have taken place.

I will make a few references to the minister's comments when he says the sales are increasing and the sales are increasing. Well, I would like to know whether the jobs are increasing and I question the minister. You can talk about all the good news about the landings. If you look at the landings, if there happens to be a lot of them in species like scallops, where the employment levels have gone down dramatically, and other species such as lobsters, where the landings have gone up in dollar value but, in actuality, there are less people who are working. The same thing, Mr. Speaker, with regard to groundfish and other species.

Before you sing your praises about how much more we are selling, I think the first question we have to ask ourselves is, are the normal, regular Nova Scotians making a living at this fishery? If the answer is yes, then you sing all the praises. If the answer is no, that employment is declining, then you open your eyes and say, what are the answers? We should be looking for those answers.

To go back to the Act, consultation is a worthwhile endeavour. I will give the minister credit, he has had forums and when he says that today, he is right. So I will give the minister his due in the sense that he is trying to bring together different components of the fishery so that we can at least find some consensus. Finding consensus in the fishery is not an easy task. They are the most independent-minded people I have ever met in my life. We have a lot of self-interests that are dividing the communities and this province that are really not in the best interests of our province.

When the minister says he finds some consensus sometimes by having these forums, I agree with him. I think that is a worthwhile endeavour and I think he will probably not be able to find consensus on too many issues but on some of them he will.

What he does with that information and how this province positions itself with their fellow cousins in Ottawa is the real test. That means, does he bring home the bacon? Does he bring home Nova Scotia's interests, when they want a buy-back policy which will work for Nova Scotia and everybody agrees with it and this minister agrees and they go to Ottawa and Ottawa won't let them use the same amount of money in a different way that doesn't work for this province but works for Newfoundland. Why does Newfoundland have special privileges that they can get what they want but when we go to Ottawa, this minister and this Cabinet and this provincial government can't succeed? They are not asking for any more money, they are asking for some autonomy.

[Page 5353]

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, when the minister says he has reached a consensus, they can't bring home the bacon and have a simple answer to a simple question. You have to ask yourself, are you doing something wrong? So although you are asking for the information and asking for some consensus, you bear responsibility in being unable to achieve results. That is where the bottom line is, as minister. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but lately I think you have lost more than you have gained.

I look at the bill, and we are talking about consulting and bringing forward, tabling a plan in the House of Assembly. Now, Mr. Speaker, this is well-intentioned, I don't argue that, but this is ridiculous. I would much rather put together, consult with people, whether to use the forum you have there or go around and talk to the people in the Province of Nova Scotia, find some common issues, and whether you reach a consensus or whether you don't, float up some White Papers, some discussion papers where people can give you some information and come back. I think that would be a much more productive way whereby the people who don't go to those meetings, the people who perhaps don't have the time to come, who are fishing and perhaps don't have the financial resources to attend those meetings, will have an opportunity to offer their opinions. I think it is a better way of handling it but I think that most of our communities feel distanced from our government. They feel, in a sense, that no matter what they want, they won't be listened to. Maybe we all bear responsibility, maybe we have all made that mistake in the past. I look at it in the sense (Interruption) Well, I often find it funny that the member for Dartmouth North is always trying to interrupt my speech. If he has something to say, I will yield the floor.

This is a serious matter, Mr. Speaker. I look forward in a sense that if there is somehow that we can make the fishery of this province better, then we should try to do that. We talk about local community and he speaks here about community control of the fishery. Many people feel we should have community quotas, that we should not be able to move licences out of communities and so forth. Now this takes a lot of debate because once you say you can't move licences out of a community it also begs a lot of other questions. This is the type of thing that takes debate. If you can't move a lobster licence out of the community of Yarmouth, to maybe the community of Woods Harbour, let's use that for an example, relatively in the same fishing area, and that happens back and forth. Many people say they keep their licences in the community they are in because that will help develop the fishery.

What happens after a while? Does that beg the question, then, should that fisherman be precluded from fishing very far from his own community? It begs the question, how many lines do we draw on the waters or the ocean? So right now we have the ability to transfer and many fishermen over time have been able to get a decent retirement because they have been able to sell their licences. Many people feel sometimes that is wrong because they are too expensive and young people can't get into the fishery, but at the same time, those people have worked hard and now they do have some retirement that they can depend upon.

[Page 5354]

[5:45 p.m.]

These are the issues that we have to talk about. I don't stand here today and say that I have all the answers, but I think an open forum is the right way to go. I think the format of this legislation is wrong. I will support an open forum and I will support discussions with fishermen's organizations, but I still feel that we should do so in a situation where we put out some plans and people can comment on it before we make the final decision. Thank you. I thank the member for introducing the bill.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to stand in support of my colleague, the member for Yarmouth. I should point out to the House that a goodly portion of the riding of Timberlea-Prospect is made up of the coastal communities that stretch as we say locally, from the Terence Bay gut to the Peggy's Cove light. Having taught in those communities, I can assure you that many young people are frustrated and very concerned about the fact that they feel neglected.

They feel that no one is listening to them in government, and that on many occasions their wishes, they don't get any further than the end of the Prospect Road. That feeling comes home so many times, when on a parent's night you have the young man or the young woman who is told by his or her mother or father, the last thing you want to do is get in the fishing industry. It is a dead end that will take you nowhere. That is a sad commentary today because after all these fishing towns and villages for so many years were the heart and soul and backbone of our community.

I can tell you of a number of visits that I have paid in particular to the Village of Terence Bay, a community where young people now leave morning after morning for the drive to town, because that is where they have a chance to work at various places of employment. Many of those jobs are not really great jobs. Along the way, they have to travel on a notorious stretch of highway that has been neglected. They have to come up over notorious Porcupine Hill, they have to fight their way up the Prospect Road, and the result is no one listens to the people of Terence Bay.

That is why it is gratifying to go into that community as their MLA now, because in their opinion, they feel they have elected someone who is going to stand up and is going to speak for them. I notice the word consultation. There are two sides to consultation. I have heard the minister speak at length about all these meetings, with this group and that group, but you know you have to do more than just meet, you have to listen.

After you listen to the recommendations of these various organizations, fishing organizations, school groups, groups such as the Women Down Prospect, groups that have the lifeblood of their community at stake, after you listen to them, you must act. You must

[Page 5355]

follow up with good legislation such as introduced here today that is going to reflect the best interests of those communities. There are so many people within those communities who are interested in a discussion paper which my Party has introduced, which is entitled Striking a Balance.

Striking a Balance, let's face it, not everything can happen in Halifax. Not all the jobs, not all the good roads, not all the proper sewage systems can be in Halifax. There has to be a balance that reflects on the smaller communities throughout the coastal areas of our wonderful province. Of course there is that issue that no one seems to listen to. The Minister of Natural Resources stands in his place and holds forth about a special committee which is looking into an ongoing, prevailing issue in coastal communities all over this province. But is anybody listening? Is anybody bringing it forth? Are any of those senior bureaucrats who are going to look at that issue of non-resident ownership, are they going to the Village of Terence Bay, or East and West Dover? Are they going to McGraths Cove? Are they going to Sandy Cove? Are they saying, where are these problems that you have? We want to hear about them.

Strengthening the coastal community comes from two sources, it comes from the people with the feeling and the heart for that community. It also comes from the decision makers who, once they have garnered that information, they must move ahead with what they are going to do. It comes down to the fact that young people, in particular, want to have jobs in their communities, jobs they can be proud of, that can make a living for them, that will keep them in their community, jobs that they, as volunteer firemen and firewomen, can respond to because they are working in their community. It is really quite shameful.

During the day many of the fishing communities that are part of Timberlea-Prospect, are like ghost towns because the men and women who are employed in those particular places have left for the day to drive into Halifax to work in various industrial parks at jobs that they do not necessarily prefer. They would prefer to serve in their community so that when that fire bell goes off, those volunteer firemen and women can respond because those jobs are in their community.

In the wonderful community of Terence Bay, there is an excellent small school, in a coastal community where the parents do not believe they are being listened to. Again, that school must remain open because it is not just a school, it is a community centre, it is a recreational centre, it is a meeting hall. The young people in that community want to make sure they feel part of that community, not just today but in the future.

Consultation as encouraged by this Bill No. 70, encouraged by the organizations that will have input but then reporting back with a plan within six months. That demonstrates that decisions have to be made - not like the sort of answer I received the other day - well, when the report comes in I will give you a copy of it. No, the deadline, self-imposed, input, consultation, listen and then decision making.

[Page 5356]

The people who live in our coastal communities so quaintly appear in our tourist booklets. They are portrayed according to the Lighthouse Route. Then, as we well know, the member for Halifax Citadel introduced a resolution the other day concerning the importance of maintaining these lighthouses. Our fishermen and fisherwomen must no longer just be quaint novelty items, they must not just be parked at the end of the wharf, with people looking at them, can I take a picture of you today? That must not be what a fisherperson is in this province. They must be active, they must be involved and they must feel that they have much to contribute to the economy of this province. It is my belief that Bill No. 70 will allow them that voice. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. LAWRENCE MONTGOMERY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a few words to this particular topic. The member opposite suggests that nobody is listening. Well, I would suggest that in terms of the school down in Annapolis, the area that I represent, that maybe you had better listen to what the people in that community are saying about their school. They have waited 13 years to have this school and they don't want any interference from you people. (Applause)

In terms of the community of Annapolis and the coastal community, as far as the fishing industry is concerned, I want you to realize that the communication is there. The communication has come from this government. It has come through the minister, the Honourable Keith Colwell. (Applause)

In March 1998, as a matter of fact (Interruption) I beg your pardon?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MONTGOMERY: In March 1998, I made a commitment that we would listen to the people along the shoreline of the area which I represent. Approximately a month ago, the minister and I visited each harbour authority along the coast of the riding that I represent. Not only that, we did listen to the concerns of the people there in that riding as to what is going to become of their facilities. Were we going to have the opportunity to support them? We listened to their concerns and we worked out a plan that, on a gradual basis, will hopefully sustain the facilities that are there, along with the federal authorities. (Applause) This, indeed, will help to foster the growth of these communities again.

The minister has, as his top priority, the inshore fishery in Nova Scotia. We will continue, in my riding, to represent the views of the people along the shore. We don't need to have people imposing their ideas. However, we will continue to move forward in that regard to assist those people in those communities. (Applause)

[Page 5357]

MR. SPEAKER: There are approximately 30 seconds, 29, 28, 27.

The honourable member for Richmond.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to address the House on this important issue. With the few minutes I have, I would point out that the Leader of the Opposition came to my community of Isle Madame and pointed it out as an economic success story. That is the result of the confidence of the provincial Liberal Government and of the federal Liberal Government in a community economic development in that community.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time for the debate on Bill No. 70 has expired.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis on an introduction.

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would call the attention of the members of the House to the west gallery. We have been joined by some students from the Lunenburg Academy and their teacher and chaperone. They have been taking part today in the Woozles Battle of the Books. I might add that they won first price and read, in fact, some 32,000 pages of printed text. That is quite an accomplishment, and hats off to them. We have Christine Levy, Martha Purcell, Kayla Moore, Caleb Langille, Nicolas Pollack, Adrian Rogers, Luke Langille and with them are their chaperones, Jenny Levy, Carol Langille and their teacher, Roberta MacDonald. I would ask the House to recognize them. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would say that this is the time to conclude our business for today and turn it over to the Government House Leader to announce the hours for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will meet from the hours of 12:00 noon until the completion of Question Period. Tuesday we will meet from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. It is expected that Opposition Day being Wednesday, next Thursday we may get into extended hours, possibly 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., but I will inform the other House Leaders of that by Tuesday.

I move that we do now adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

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.

[Page 5358]

[6:00 p.m.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: It is now the moment of interruption. The late debate this evening was submitted by the honourable member for Antigonish.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - RURAL BUSINESSES:

TRADE MISSIONS - SUCCESS

MR. HYLAND FRASER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak on this resolution tonight. It pleases me because it speaks to the history of Nova Scotians and to their future. The resolution reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that many rural Nova Scotia businesses are enjoying positive results from export sales that come as a direct result of international trade missions sponsored by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.".

Mr. Speaker, the history of Nova Scotia was shaped by our geography. As everyone knows, our province juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and thus offers an abundance of bays, harbours and coves. In fact, it is almost totally surrounded by water. It was natural that early Nova Scotians would build boats in order to fish, to travel and to trade. They moved about by sea. It was cheaper and it was easier as a method of transportation.

Mr. Speaker, for most of our history Nova Scotians enjoyed a north-to-south trading arrangement and a very lucrative trading arrangement at that time. Because of our position on the map, we maintained strong trading ties with Europe as well. This was also a lucrative market at that time and was almost a part of the heritage of those who came to settle here from Europe.

Trade with other nations is an important key to our recent prosperity as a province. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are now selling more products and services to customers outside our province than ever before and that number is growing. It is always a benefit to promote value-added sales with our many resources. Provincial exports have grown 30 per cent over the past four years to over $3.12 billion; 70 per cent of Nova Scotia exports go to the United States and one-half of those go directly to New England markets. About 60 million people live along the eastern shore of the United States. This is a huge market for our export products.

[Page 5359]

As you are probably aware, we share much with the people of the eastern seaboard and especially in the Boston market. Many relatives of people who live here moved down there during the Depression and are very favourable to our presentations that we make there. For every $100,000 in new exports, another job is created right here in Nova Scotia but if you look at what the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council is saying, one job is created for every $68,000 earned on a trade mission. Even one job in a rural community makes a big difference.

Most economists and business people will say government cannot or should not be the creator of jobs. I agree with that. It is the responsibility of government to foster the economic environment where job creation can take place. Rural Nova Scotia is the perfect setting for many small businesses. This is a responsibility that the Nova Scotia Liberal Government takes very seriously.

Under this Liberal Government, Nova Scotia is leading the country in investment and in growth. Employer and consumer confidence is way up and unemployment is down, actually from over 14 per cent in 1993 to about 10 per cent today. Entrepreneurs are thriving in this positive economic environment. Jobs are being created daily in our province.

Small business owners are creating products and providing services that are unique to Nova Scotia. However, because of their size, many businesses need help tapping into the huge American markets I spoke of earlier. They do not have the resources necessary to go out on their own. Many of these business owners are owners and working managers of their own business. Helping these businesses is another responsibility our Liberal Government takes very seriously.

Mr. Speaker, over the past year the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has engaged in many ambitious initiatives to introduce Nova Scotia companies to foreign markets. By all accounts these trade missions have been an unqualified success. In 1998 the Department of Economic Development and Tourism either led or participated in 40 trade missions, including 11 to our main target market of the Boston area. These missions have led to sales worth nearly $94 million for Nova Scotian companies. This has resulted in 1,300 new jobs for Nova Scotians, jobs that would never have been created unless someone helped out. I will repeat that, 1,300 new jobs for Nova Scotians. However, Opposition critics would have you believe that the success stories of these missions is some government feel-good spin job, nothing could be further from the truth.

Everyone in rural Nova Scotia certainly feels good when new jobs are created in their own communities. The success of these trade missions is being preached by small business owners in Yarmouth, Cumberland County, Sydney, Woods Harbour, Annapolis County, Springhill, Lunenburg, and many points in between.

[Page 5360]

This past Sunday, the Halifax Sunday Herald carried a story titled Trade Mission Possible. I encourage members of the Opposition and all Nova Scotians to read it. Let me give you a brief summary of the content of that story. The article takes a look at several participants of recent provincially-sponsored trips to New England. In the case of the Queen Molly Brew Pub in Yarmouth, owner Annette Hegel said she will double her craft beer production due to contracts signed while in Boston. She will have to hire an additional 10 people from the Yarmouth area to fill these new orders.

The Honourable Manning MacDonald mentioned another success story earlier today when he spoke about Blue Mist Pewter located in Cumberland County. The owners of Blue Mist Pewter have been travelling to trade shows with the help of the provincial government. As a result, the company has grown from two to 20 full-time employees in less than a year. Blue Mist Pewter now has over 30 employees, with that number expected to reach 40 in the coming months.

Here is another success story. Last March, seven Black Nova Scotia business owners returned from a New England trade mission organized by the Department of Economic Development, The Black Business Initiative and the Office of Nova Scotia in New England. As a result of that mission, Brad Miller of Classic Cheesecakes in Sydney found two distributors for his products. As well, an American grocery chain of 57 stores are now selling cheesecake made in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Fundy Fibreglass, which operates out of the reborn Cornwallis Business Park, returned from Boston last October with $2 million in sales. The Director of Marketing for Fundy Fibreglass said just two days in Boston saved his company two years worth of marketing and sales efforts.

On that same trip, Muskrat Lumber of Summerville came back to Nova Scotia with six new customers and $300,000 in potential sales. Muskrat Lumber expects to create 10 new jobs as a result of one single trip to Boston. This trip was made possible by this Liberal Government.

Business and regional development authorities from Cumberland, Pictou and Antigonish Counties, as well as from my own constituency of Antigonish, were in Boston a year ago following leads generated by Economic Development officials. The Leader of the Opposition may be interested to know that the provincially sponsored trade missions have been beneficial in his own constituency. Atlantic By-Catch in Sambro, located in the constituency of Halifax Atlantic plans to quadruple its market after making contact with distributors in Boston. The owner of Atlantic By-Catch was quoted as saying the provincial government "opened the doors" for his company.

This is just a small sample of what business people are saying about the trade initiatives of this Liberal Government. Thank you.

[Page 5361]

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am going to be splitting this time with the member for Pictou West, so I will begin. I did want to thank the member for Antigonish for introducing this topic, and I think it is quite ironic that it should take place on a day like today when we here in this House learned that the Department of Economic Development, through its actions, may have severely damaged the export prospects of this province by funding a company which it knew, or ought to have known, was violating the international agreement with the United States in softwood lumber and given the protectionist feeling in the United States Congress at this time and given the legislation that they have already introduced in their House, this could, indeed, be a most unfortunate stumble by the Department of Economic Development.

The reality is that the Mac Timber fiasco which we had an opportunity to comment on earlier today is becoming an even larger looming difficulty for this province. That is why we, in this caucus, have asked that there be an open and public investigation of the funding of that company and of the actions of the Department of Economic Development, so that we can know just exactly what it is that happened and why it was that this unfortunate mistake was made by the minister in this way.

The unfortunate part of it, Mr. Speaker, is that what we do know is that the other shoe is yet to drop on this. What we fear is that the minister may well have made a mistake that will, in fact, cost a great number of Nova Scotia jobs and damage a very important industry to this province.

It is true that we in this province have a long history of being traders. We have, from the very inception of the establishment of the City of Halifax, been both a gateway for this country and a source of sound trade, both for the province and for the region and, indeed, for the country.

The question is whether or not these trade missions serve the function they are set out to do. Unfortunately, the answer to that question has not been addressed. We studied carefully the information that comes forward on the trade missions. The reality is that what they do, and the honourable member for Antigonish alluded to this earlier, about a model they put together to project the number of jobs that will be created as a result of sales. So you take a projected number of jobs and, perhaps if the sales figures were accurate and concrete, you might be able to do so. The reality is that they don't do the follow-up; the Department of Economic Development does not do the follow-up to establish what actual sales take place. What they do is they ask for projected sales by the companies that go on these trips. So what they are doing is making a projection based on a projection.

[Page 5362]

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that is why the credibility of these kinds of calculations suffer so greatly. We are not saying that trade missions may, in fact, serve a useful purpose but because the Department of Economic Development does not do the kind of follow-up that is required once the missions take place, we just don't know the answer to whether or not they are as successful as the department would like to portray. This is one of the reasons why we have consistently called for the Department of Economic Development to file, as it is required to do by law, an annual report with this House. I would assume, that since this is one of the undertakings that the department pursues every year, that part of that would be to explain what they do with their trade missions and whether or not the follow-up is done, so that the people of Nova Scotia can have some confidence in the numbers that the department puts forward.

It is with that in mind that I say it is unfortunate that government has to resort to spending taxpayers' money on commercials, on television promotions, to try to convince Nova Scotians that, in fact, export trade is growing. If it were a fact, if it were true, then certainly it would be self-evident. The government obviously does not have enough confidence in its own ability to generate real sales and real jobs to allow it to go on its own.

I would mention, and very quickly, Mr. Speaker, that the sad fact is that one export that continues to grow in this province is our young people. We continue to export large numbers of our young people, our best and our brightest, to other provinces in this country and, indeed, to the U.S. and to the New England States. That trend is one that continues to grow because of the lack of economic opportunity and the failure of this government to pursue a proper economic development strategy. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West. You have approximately four minutes.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank my colleague for sharing some of his time with me. I look around the House tonight and I notice there are not a whole lot of people here. It is sort of disappointing, I guess, to see the lack of government members and Third Party members.

[6:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not proper to call attention to members not being in the House.

MR. PARKER: I hope that they are out looking for export sales in our province. The resolution, Mr. Speaker, talks about rural Nova Scotia businesses and export sales. I am from rural Nova Scotia and while there has been some progress in employment and jobs in some areas of our province, there are certainly a lot of things that are not right, especially within the policies of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

[Page 5363]

My colleague just mentioned the idea that we are exporting jobs or exporting our young people out of the province. I see that every day in my riding where a lot of young people have gone out West. In fact, there is a community in Alberta they call the River John of the West because a lot of the people from that community have gone to Brooks, Alberta. So we are continuing to export a lot of our jobs. Every time we export our raw materials from this province, we export the jobs that go with them, fish being an example. There is a lot of raw fish that goes out of this province, not in finished material but as a whole product. I think it was the Governor of Maine who said recently that not a fish will leave his state with its head on. I think that might be a good policy to follow here in Nova Scotia, that all our fish would be processed right here in this province.

The same is true of other natural resources. The gypsum from Hants County and from Inverness County is being exported in its raw form and then later we buy it back as wallboard or in a finished product for 10 to 20 times or more of its original value that went out of the province. So we are exporting that product but we are also exporting the jobs that go with it. If the raw material was manufactured here into a finished product, then we would have a lot more jobs but our government is continuing to allow our exports to be sent out in the raw form. Natural gas, being from Pictou County, I see the pipeline being prepared and it is heading right towards the Boston market. I wonder what jobs are being exported with that gas that will be flowing through my county.

Hopefully, there will be some petrochemical activities developed in the Strait area. It has been talked about but at this point I see more jobs being exported when I look at that pipeline. Finally, on forest products, we have a pulp mill in Pictou County, Kimberly-Clark, and it exports a lot of pulp. I see almost every week exports being trucked out through the Port of Pictou and again in its raw form. It is not being manufactured into paper or paper products here in our province so there are jobs certainly being exported with that. With our hardwood lumber we could be making good quality furniture like you see in this room, or siding, or other finished products, but instead the raw material is going out. Softwood lumber, my colleague just talked about a lot of that being exported out of the province and today, as we heard around the Mac Timber story, there are a lot of problems there with the way the financing was arranged and maybe we are exporting jobs. Under the NAFTA agreement there have been problems.

So the resolution, Mr. Speaker, says that we should be looking at positive results from our export sales but I am afraid with the export of our natural resources and with the fiasco like Mac Timber, just the opposite is happening here in Nova Scotia. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the member opposite for raising the issue of export sales and how it is impacting on the economy of rural Nova Scotia. It is interesting to note that everything old is new again and that the government now

[Page 5364]

is realizing what our forefathers knew for over 100 years and that is that our economic future lies not by looking towards central Canada, but by looking towards the New England Seaboard and the market that is available there.

Rather than look at the negative aspects and what is not being done, I think the way to approach this issue is to look at what is being done and what can be done better and what can be done to improve where Nova Scotia places itself in terms of the global economy. All too often, discussions in this House break down around political lines, and I have raised that issue a number of time before when I have spoken on various issues, whether it be roads or economic development.

The real issue is that we need to develop a strategy. We need to put in place those things that will ensure that Nova Scotian businesses can compete. We do have the people; we have a highly trained workforce; we do have the expertise to compete globally; and we have a favourable dollar value exchange with the American dollar. In fact, our biggest trading partner is the United States and the biggest trading partner within the United States is the New England market, so let's go after that market.

We now have a growing and flourishing IT industry, and that industry has the opportunity to create many new jobs; there is no question about that. Looking at the other parts of our economy, that is that Nova Scotia has for many years been primarily a resource-driven economy. What is needed to ensure that we can get the product to market? There is recognition of a need to increase more value-added products, whether it be in forestry or in the fishery, but ultimately what we need in this province is a highway development strategy, a strategy that ensures that we can get our products to market in a timely manner. We need to make arrangements with the Maine railway system so that if Halifax should be chosen as the post-Panamax port, we can guarantee delivery of product in New York in a timely fashion. At this point, that is not clear. Those are the things that we need to focus on, not on rhetoric. We need to say what the problem is and how we fix it. By doing that, by working together, we can ensure that all of Nova Scotia benefits.

The reality is that we also need a coordinating body. Most of the industry in rural Nova Scotia is small, and being small makes it difficult to have the expertise to run your business and access a global market. What the government needs to do is it needs to put in place a mechanism to ensure that those small businesses have the knowledge and the opportunity to partake. It is fine to talk of trips that are taken to areas to develop export markets, but the problem is that not all people get to participate in those junkets. For those who do and are successful, it is a wonderful experience, but, oftentimes, people find out too late and don't have the economic wherewithal to partake. We need to put in place a mechanism that ensures that someone is there speaking out for those who don't have the time or opportunity to speak for themselves. By doing that, we help everyone.

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As I said earlier, the growing, high-tech industry is going to be one of the cornerstones of our economic renewal, and there is growing awareness of that and the opportunities it presents in Cape Breton. Certainly here in Halifax, the recent announcements around the location of jobs relating to call centres and so on are good, but what we need to do, the whole intellectual asset that we have here in our young people, the fact that we have the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, which is creating creative minds ties in very nicely with where we are going. The limits of growth in the IT industry are limited only by imagination.

Rather than talk about the negatives, let's look at the positives. This is not to say that the government is doing all wonderful things; in fact, I think to some degree what is being done is being done in spite of government involvement. We have a regulatory regime that hamstrings business initiative. That is something that needs to be addressed, when a business has to fight for a market, fight to ensure that they can deliver their product and then find out that we don't have the rail connections, and we don't have the shipping ports. Halifax is still uncertain as to whether or not it will be the post-Panamax port. We need to look at the Strait area. There is an opportunity there to develop a deep-water port that will allow products to be shipped from Cape Breton to market.

Those areas need to be addressed, and I think, too, the issue of how we develop the market. We need to begin to develop a strategy to ensure that we are getting to the right markets. What is happening now is we are using a shotgun approach in terms of export developments and is there is no real focus. What are we going after? Businesses that are successful in accessing the export market are those that know their product, know their market and go after it. All too often, as I have said earlier, companies will not be sure - they build it, but then they are not sure who wants it. And that is a problem.

What we need truly is a multi-Party approach, an initiative that includes the people who can make it happen, that is government, that is business. Then and only then will be able to truly say that we are meeting our targets. That is the other thing, what are our targets? There doesn't seem to be any clear indication from the resolution what our targets are. It is nice to sort of have a warm, fuzzy feeling that yes, we are being successful, but what does that really mean? What does that mean to people in Isle Madame or in Digby or Yarmouth or Shelburne? Does it mean that there are more jobs being created? In my riding, I can say, yes, it does. It does because the companies there have been able to go out and actively look at the foreign market.

Nova Scotia until recently was the only province in Canada that was facing a deficit in terms of its international exports and in terms of its inter-provincial exporting. I think that is a problem that needs to be addressed. I think what we need to do is put in place a strategy that has incremental time lines so that we can actually judge whether or not we are being successful. There needs to be baseline data developed to see where we are now, to see what the problems are.

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We need to talk and have real discussions with businesses about what they need to compete. It is fine to say, we have this initiative going. I understand from talking to people who represent businesses in my riding that the Boston area is a growing area, and hats off to the consulate there that, in fact, they are very pro-business and supportive; the initiative that recently took place which saw the Governor of Maine bringing businesses this way to talk about what we can do together to grow the economies of both areas, and that is what it is all about.

In Nova Scotia, we are a small piece of the Atlantic puzzle. If we can, in fact, come together and this is happening, more again in spite of government than because of it, but what is happening is businesses in New Brunswick are networking with businesses in Nova Scotia, with businesses in Newfoundland to ensure that they are looking at the same target market to sort of shore up their limited resources to ensure that they are getting the biggest bang for their buck. Without that, we are going to fall short of the mark.

The other thing is, what things are we exporting? We have talked of fish and those sort of resource-driven exports, but the reality is we can grow and develop exports in knowledge-based industries, that is engineering. The other morning, I attended the SENS announcement about 'We mean business', that is their five year plan. They have set very specific targets about where they are going to go to develop new markets. The markets they see are not within Canada, the markets they see are the European markets, the Asian markets, where there is a growing need for technology, a growing need for knowledge.

With the shrinking of the world, because of the growing information technology transfer, what is happening is that people are not limited by their geographic boundaries, they are limited only by their ability to communicate, and that is lessening every day. For many years we were a seafaring nation, and maybe what was before will be again, and that is that Nova Scotia will set the mark by which other countries and other provinces are judged in terms of how they are marketing their knowledge.

We pride ourselves on being Nova Scotians and bluenosers, and the fact that we can do it. It is not because of government, many times it is in spite of it. What we need to do is work together to ensure that that will happen. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 6:30 p.m.]