The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.
























HALIFAX, TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



2:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to call the House to order at this time and commence this
afternoon’s sitting. Are there any introductions of visitors before we commence the daily routine?



The honourable Minister of Education.



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to introduce in the
gallery: John Andrea, Coordinator of Information Rights Week in Nova Scotia; David Trueman, Metro
Community Access Society; Dan Pittman, Association of Records Managers and Administrators; Michael
Colborne, Nova Scotia Library Association; Marion Pape, Provincial Librarian; Susan Arbing, Dalhousie
University School of Library and Information Studies; and Susan Dirani, Halifax Library Association. They
are here for a proclamation which will follow in a few moments. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.



MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, through you I would like to introduce to the members
of our Legislature His Worship Peter Kelly in the gallery, accompanied by Councillor Len Goucher.
(Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: I would like to introduce Mayor Gloria McCluskey of Dartmouth. (Applause)



The honourable member for Halifax-Bedford Basin.



MR. GERALD FOGARTY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you, in the Speaker’s Gallery,
the Alderman for Ward 12, City of Halifax, Mr. Bill Stone. (Applause)



113

 

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and through you to all
members, Mr. Jerry Blumenthal Alderman in the City of Halifax for Ward 5. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any additional introductions of guests before we commence the daily routine
business.



The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me great pleasure to introduce a class
from Acadia University, first year Political Science students, who are here for Question Period, I’m sure, and
some of the interesting moments that will derive therein. I would introduce their professor, Dr. Peter Buker,
and welcome this class to the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any further introductions? If not, we’ll commence the daily routine of
business.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: I am pleased to introduce today a Proclamation on Information Rights
in Nova Scotia. I apologize for the length, Mr. Speaker, but with your indulgence.



WHEREAS



The quality of a democracy depends on the direct participation of individuals in the exercise of their
democratic rights and responsibilities;



AND WHEREAS



Government records and information are an invaluable resource which allow us to understand the present,
plan intelligently for the future and provide citizens with the means to measure the effectiveness and economy
of programs while ensuring the accountability of public officials;



AND WHEREAS



Access to government information and protection of privacy is essential for the protection of civil liberties and
human rights and therefore the right to information must be regarded as fundamental and, without this right,
other fundamental rights lose their meaning;






AND WHEREAS



Information must not only be accessible by individuals but must also be broadly disseminated in easily usable
formats to locations convenient for individual use;



AND WHEREAS



Public access to high-speed telecommunications networks, including access to community networks providing
non-commercial information and providing options for creating and sharing community information, is now
a requirement for participation in the new electronic information world;



AND WHEREAS



Information Rights Week provides an opportunity to focus on these issues;



AND WHEREAS



Many different individuals and organizations, including the Nova Scotia Provincial Library, Metro
Community Access Society, Association of Records Managers and Administrators, Council of Nova Scotia
Archives, Nova Scotia Library Association, Atlantic Provinces Library Association, and the Halifax Library
Association support the proclamation of Information Rights Week;



Now, therefore I, John MacEachern, Minister of Education and Culture, do hereby proclaim the week
of April 3rd to 10th, 1995, as Information Rights Week.



MR. SPEAKER: The proclamation is tabled.



The honourable Deputy Premier.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table two reports, the first is Changing
Perspectives, A Case Study of Intimate Partner Homicides in Nova Scotia. It was prepared by the Extension
Department of St. F.X. in February of this year.



Second, The Response of the Justice System to Family Violence in Nova Scotia, A Report of the Nova
Scotia Family Violence Tracking Project. This was a joint project of the Solicitor General of Canada and the
Department of Justice for Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today with two purposes. Firstly, and I have
already tabled the two significant reports on family violence but secondly, I wish to provide the House with
a preliminary report on the work that is underway in the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution
Service in order to construct a Framework for Action against family violence in Nova Scotia.



Mr. Speaker, we are failing the victims of family violence in our province. Victims of family violence
in Nova Scotia are not getting the coordinated, comprehensive and effective help they desperately need, and
we are going to fix that.



The first report that I have tabled is from the Nova Scotia Family Violence Tracking Project. This is
the most comprehensive study of family violence ever undertaken in Canada. It examines the response to the
justice system to all forms of domestic violence - spousal, child and elder abuse as well as violence between
other family members.



Almost 1,200 cases were tracked through the justice system, from the initial call to the police, through
the court system and on to the completion of a sentence. Extensive interviews with victims were conducted
to supplement the tracking data.



This project was conducted in cooperation with the Solicitor General of Canada. On that point, I would
like to acknowledge the generous support of the federal government, help that made the research possible.



The results of the project provide sound information about the way in which the justice system responds
to family violence and reveals many deficiencies that should be addressed. This will help us to identify ways
to better protect the victims of this terrible and insidious form of criminal activity.



The second document is the report of the Spousal Homicide Study. The author is Peggy Mahon of the
St. F.X. Extension Department. The project was begun in 1991 on the initiative of the Nova Scotia Advisory
Council on the Status of Women. At that time, a perceived increase in the number of spousal homicides had
generated considerable concern.



A detailed analysis of 17 homicides was conducted to see if the existing justice, health, social service
and community response was adequate and to make recommendations for change to assist in preventing future
homicides. This independent research was supported by funding from the then Nova Scotia Department of
the Solicitor General and Health Canada.



The picture that emerges from this research is very troubling. Many of our citizens live in fear in their
own homes. For far too many, the place that should feel the safest is no refuge at all. Clearly, this is an
unacceptable situation.



Of particular concern to me is the finding that many of these victims have been unable to get the help
they need. Although they have reached out to the justice system, to health providers, to clergy and to
community services, and to the community in general, we have let them down.



Violence within families is an abuse of power that robs victims of their dignity and leaves long-lasting
scars. Family violence is pervasive. The abuse is happening in homes across this province and across this
country. As a society, as a community, as a government, we need to make this issue one of our highest
priorities. We need to change public attitudes so that this behaviour will not be tolerated.



[2:15 p.m.]



This goal, Mr. Speaker, is achievable. For example, we have seen how the public attitude toward
impaired driving has changed dramatically over the past several years. The same result is achievable here.
As a partner in this collaborative response to family violence, the justice system has a key role to play in
responding swiftly and effectively to reports of family violence. Moreover, we must provide a legal framework
that clearly defines such violence as criminal behaviour. I think we are already on the right track. The
response of criminal justice professionals to family violence has improved markedly over the past several years
as a result of uniform charging policies and the commitment of individuals who work on the front lines.



It was not long ago that the majority of police officers felt that domestics were private family disputes,
not crimes. This is no longer the case. There is an awareness on the part of police officers that this behaviour
cannot be left to the parties for resolution. In keeping with the philosophy of community-based policing, police
officers are becoming increasingly involved in preventive programs, working with transition houses, child
welfare agencies and many other service providers, in order to improve the response to victims.



At the same time, a great deal of work remains to be done. These two research reports have
demonstrated to us that the collective impact of these efforts is insufficient. It is clear that stronger measures
must be taken to underscore the seriousness of family violence. My department is currently conducting a
detailed review of these research reports, as well as the report of the Law Reform Commission that was
released in February.



Mr. Speaker, it is my intention to submit to the House in mid-May a framework for action against
family violence that will detail a comprehensive strategy for improving the response of the justice system to
the incidence of family violence. I think it is significant to note that all of our existing policies will be revised
to emphasize a pro-arrest, pro-prosecution approach to family violence. This framework for action is based
on the following important principles:



Everyone has a right to live free of violence; response to family violence is a high priority of the justice
system; safety of the victim is the overriding concern in responding to family violence; breaking the cycle of
violence requires a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach in which justice agencies play a key role; and, that
the justice system is accountable to the public for its response to family violence.



A training program will be provided to all justice workers, including the Public Prosecution Service,
to ensure compliance with the new policy. Enhanced support for victims will be provided to encourage their
participation in the criminal justice process.



The two reports on family violence released today, as well as that of the Law Reform Commission,
have urged the establishment of accountability mechanisms. I agree. It is essential that we report on a regular
basis to the public, in order to assure the community that the justice system is responding appropriately and
decisively.



I wish to acknowledge the contribution that has been made by our community partners and colleagues
from other departments in assisting in the completion of the Tracking Project and the Spousal Homicide
Study. It is evident that the commitment to this issue is very strong and we are most appreciative of the
willingness that has been shown in working with us to improve the response of the justice system to family
violence. We believe it is essential that this partnership be maintained. With this in mind, we will be inviting
participation from the community in the Action Committee that will oversee the implementation of the new
policy.






In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear to everyone in the House today that our failure
to respond effectively to the needs of the victims of family violence is a condition that will no longer be
allowed to exist. I am looking forward with great anticipation to coming before you again in mid-May, to
provide the details of the steps we are taking in order to change this intolerable situation. Thank you, Mr.
Speaker. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition in response.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to make a few remarks in response to
these very important statements made by the Minister of Justice just now. There is absolutely no question that
a very concerted, multidisciplinary, non-partisan, multi-Party - in that context I mean political Party -
response to the absolutely abhorrent and aberrant physical violence reality that does exist in Nova Scotia is
now absolutely essential. I have not had an opportunity obviously to read the two documents which the
minister tables today, but I have had on an earlier occasion an opportunity to read and I read out of personal
interest very carefully the document prepared by the Law Reform Commission which was released in
February.



That document, as the Minister of Justice will know and any other member here who has read it will
know, is one of the most provocative documents ever produced by the Law Reform Commission of this
province or, dare I say, the Law Reform Commission of any province because it is overpowering and startling
in its analysis of the nature and extent of family violence and physical violence against spouses and children
in this province.



One of the things which that document says, I think, is vitally important and it says in essence that the
law as it now reads is not the culprit. There may well be some modest refinement or change or improvement
or strengthening here and there but, as the Minister of Justice has pointed out in his presentation to us today
and as is apparently set out in part in the two major documents which he has tabled, what we need is a resolve
that to put it in its most basic maybe street talk terms is simply this:



We cannot allow any longer the vicious base criminals who perpetrate violence against spouses and
against children and indeed against anybody to be seen to have any right other than the protection of the law
that exists. Within the context of that law, it is my attitude and I get the sense from the Minister of Justice that
it is his and I get the sense that it is the thrust of these documents, that in those instances, those bullies, those
cheap scum may I call them, who perpetrate physical violence against women and against children are put
to the wall within the limits and the context and the parameters of the law that exists. We simply have to get,
if we are to be an enlightened community and society, to the point where we simply go at them and go at them
and go at them.



However, having said that and as extreme and as harsh as that language might sound, there is, I think
too, and it is alluded to in the Law Reform Commission document as well, there is a role and a responsibility
at some point after we first protect the victims of the violence that we must find ways in order to bring
rehabilitative service to the perpetrators of the crime. We therefore have got to have both sides of the equation
handled and addressed.



When the minister says, as he did, of particular concern to him is the finding that many of these
victims have been unable to get the help they need, although they have reached out to the justice system, to
health providers, to clergy and to community services, we have let them down.



Well, again I repeat, the Law Reform Commission document says that the legal remedies are available
but it is bringing together all of the other resource network of the community to provide care and to provide
safety and to provide some semblance of an opportunity for those who are the victims to continue to live for
themselves and for their children. The minister is absolutely right, if I may say so, when he says that
attitudinal change is the essential fundamental underlying issue here. That attitudinal change has to take place
in the minds, not only of the adult population and the population which is already of an age where they are
likely to engage or are already engaging in physical violence.



One of the reasons that the program that has done such marvels relative to drinking and driving and
to convince our community that it is no longer politically correct, it is no longer acceptable, it is no longer
right to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle.



One of the reasons that program was so successful was, and I want to again pay tribute to a person
about whom I have made remarks in this place before, I want to pay personal tribute to a man named Dick
James. Dick James almost single-handedly, by engaging in a relationship with the police authorities of this
province and then latterly with the school system of this province, was able to transform the attitude of young
Nova Scotians. It is young Nova Scotians now who are, in the main, saying to us older Nova Scotians, don’t
you dare get behind that wheel, having consumed that alcohol or that drug. That is the kind of thing that I
hope, as the minister pursues these initiatives, suggested here he will pursue.



I don’t want to go on unduly long but I do want to say . . .



MR. SPEAKER: One minute remaining.



MR. DONAHOE: . . . that when I hear the minister say, as he does, I think it is significant to note that
all of our existing policies will be revised to emphasize a pro-arrest, pro-prosecution approach to family
violence, I hope that he would make either a mental or a written note that he would add to that, not only pro-arrest and pro-prosecution but pro-removal of the perpetrator from the environment in which the violence is
taking place, in a timely fashion. Hundreds and hundreds of women and children in this province are,
unfortunately, left to fend for themselves when the proper protections are not made available to them to ensure
that the perpetrator can’t waltz right back in, sometimes in a very short time, and engage in the perpetration
of the vicious violence again.



I very much support the statements and the initiatives. I will close by making a request of the Minister
of Justice, if I may. The Minister of Justice concluded by saying this; “In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to make
it very clear to everyone in the House today that our failure to respond effectively to the needs of the victims
of family violence is a condition that will no longer be allowed to exist.”. Well, I concur. We simply have to
not only say we believe in zero tolerance, but every man and woman affected, who is engaged in providing
service, be they police, be they social workers, be they workers in transition houses, be they workers in any
element of the public program or service infrastructure, has to understand that it is a zero tolerance threshold.



Finally, . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Time, please.






MR. DONAHOE: . . . I am looking forward, said the minister, with great anticipation to coming before
you again in mid-May, to provide the details of the steps we are taking in order to change this intolerable
situation. Very seriously, I want - the minister can reject it out of hand or can think about it and then later
reject it or . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Your time expired over a minute ago.



MR. DONAHOE: . . . or, indeed, the minister can accept the invitation. The invitation or suggestion
is simply this; I am going to ask here today, in light of the seriousness of these issues, that the minister give
serious consideration to extending an invitation to those of us on the Opposition benches who are interested,
and some of us are vitally interested, in attempting to address the substance of these documents . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I hesitate to intervene. The time allotted expired a minute ago and the member was
notified. I would ask him to please take his seat. I will recognize the next speaker now, at this time, if there
is a further.



MR. DONAHOE: In light of the fact that I am being shut off by the Speaker, I would simply . . .



MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted has expired! (Interruption)



Order, please!



MR. DONAHOE: . . . the members in the Opposition . . .



MR. SPEAKER: When the Speaker rises to stand, the member will take his seat.



MR. DONAHOE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate the minister on bringing
forward these two very important documents today to be tabled in the House and to be shared as widely as
possible with all concerned and affected Nova Scotians. The reports of the Case Study of Intimate Partner
Homicides and the Family Violence Tracking Project; as the minister himself has pointed out, the Advisory
Council on the Status of Women played a very important and crucial role in pressing for that case study on
homicide. It concerns the matter of spousal violence in particular. The tracking project is one that is broader
in its scope dealing as well with issues of child abuse and elder abuse, as I understand it.



[2:30 p.m.]



I want, first of all, to congratulate the minister on his very strong and firm commitment stated to a
comprehensive strategy to be brought before this House in the near future to further address the problems of
family violence. But I would have to say, and in this I do not mean to be second-guessing the specific
recommendations of the reports themselves, that I think we all recognize that we need to get even beyond the
policies that the minister himself has committed himself to, policies of being pro-arrest, pro-prosecution, pro-charge and so on, in the instances of family violence, to a truly comprehensive strategy of prevention against
family violence.



I think one of the things that we all need today to pause and reflect upon is that underlying the
epidemic of family violence in our society, I think, without a doubt is the problem of negative self-esteem and
in many instances a negative dependency, an unhealthy dependency in relationships that can really only be
healthy if there is some measure of financial, physical and emotional independence that allows for a much
healthier base to family relationships and relationships between, for example, elderly persons and members
of their families, as well as in spousal relationships.



I think for that reason, we all need to be very concerned that the unilaterally announced federal
government decision to strike $385 million, for example, in the next three years out of our social programs
just here in Nova Scotia alone is going to make it extremely difficult for us to address these problems in
anything that can be remotely called either comprehensive or preventive in nature.



I think this is an occasion when we need to resolve as members on all sides of this House to work
together to make sure that that devastating blow is not delivered to Nova Scotians, because it will be reflected
in the erosion of some of the very important community support systems that are there to sustain healthy
relationships and to sustain healthy communities.



Having said that, I do want to congratulate the minister. I think that in the time that he has been the
Justice Minister, there are a number of occasions on which he has brought forth important initiatives. I think
there is a basis for saying there is improved training, improved sensitivity among justice workers and all who
are involved in playing a role in trying to deal with the virtual epidemic of family violence and I think the
minister is to be commended for that. But I think, as has already been said, we know that there are much
broader multi-disciplinary, interdepartmental strategies needed and very broad-based community strategies
that are going to depend upon resources, that this province cannot pretend that it is going to be able to make
available if the federal government is allowed to proceed with hacking hundreds of millions of dollars out of
the health and social transfers to this province that are critically important.



So I look forward to reading the reports. I think that the minister is absolutely correct, that until we
adopt a zero tolerance policy and until we give it the kind of attention that the drinking and driving issue has
received, then we are not going to move to a truly preventive strategy. I just want, again, to reiterate that it
is going to take resources to do that. We know that it is not going to be words alone, that attitudes can only
be changed if there also are supportive provisions to deal with ensuring people a measure of healthy
independence so that their relationships, between and among the generations, are, in fact, interdependent in
a truly mutually supportive and healthy way. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



RESOLUTION NO. 32



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall
move the adoption of the following resolution:






Whereas the Salute to Excellence - a weekend of activities being held in Williamsburg, Virginia, from
June 1st to June 4th - will bring together 350 outstanding high school students from Canada and the U.S., who
will have an opportunity to meet and discuss issues with eminent adult achievers from science, business and
all professions; and



Whereas Michael White, son of the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury, has been chosen as
one of only four Canadian representatives participating in this Salute to Excellence; and



Whereas Michael gained this achievement by completing a video guide, called Video Games, Tricks
and Cheats Dictionary, under the direction of his teacher, Mr. Wayne Weir, a project that was featured in
Electronic Gaming Monthly;



Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Michael White on his entrepreneurial
spirit and outstanding achievements and wish him well in all his future endeavours. (Applause)



I would like to ask for waiver of notice, please, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: 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



Bill No. 3 - Entitled an Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality. (Hon. Sandra Jolly)



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



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 33



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



Whereas the federal Liberal Government - as the 50th Anniversary for VE Day approaches - has
decided that the privatization of poppy-making is a positive move; and



Whereas not only is this an insult to the veterans who would be put out of a job, but the move was not
proposed by the Royal Canadian Legion as was the excuse offered by the Veterans Affairs Minister; and



Whereas Vetcraft - the operation sponsored by the Legion to make poppies - involves the hands of
those to whom the poppy campaign was to support and whose memory the symbol reflects;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House support a plea to the federal government to
reverse its decision to contract out the work to construct poppies to the private sector and leave the work in
the hands of Vetcraft.



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



MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 34



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



Whereas last fall the Minister of Human Resources let an untendered contract to Berkeley Consulting
Group to undertake a health care human resource study because it was an “urgent situation”; and



Whereas officials from the Department of Human Resources claimed the urgent report has still not
been received; and



Whereas the Minister of Health and the Minister of Human Resources have refused to table the terms
of reference of this study, let alone the full report, but have instead continued with the reorganization of the
Department of Health and with massive layoffs of health care workers around the province;



Therefore be it resolved that this House calls on the Minister of Human Resources to table the report
of the Berkeley Consulting Group before embarking on any further disruption to health care human resources.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 35



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



Whereas Nova Scotians expect and deserve the right to know where members of the Nova Scotia
Legislature stand on gun registration; and



Whereas the Canadian Police Association has now formally withdrawn support of federal Justice
Minister Allan Rock’s gun registration proposals; and



Whereas Bill C-68 should be going after the criminal element in society instead of the outdoor sports
person who enjoys hunting;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature encourage federal Justice Minister Allan Rock
to listen to Canadians and drop the registration proposal from Bill C-68.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.

 

 

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 36



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



Whereas the federal Liberals have introduced Bill C-76 in the House of Commons to enact provisions
of the federal budget, including the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST); and



Whereas the proposed CHST will cause irreparable damage to health education, community services
and basic income security programs in Canada and result in federal funding cuts of $385 million over the next
three years in Nova Scotia alone; and



Whereas Thursday’s Liberal Throne Speech made not a mention of this devastating blow to Nova
Scotians;



Therefore be it resolved that this House speak with one voice in sending a message to the federal
government that the unilateral federal assault on valued health, education and social programs is unacceptable
to Nova Scotians.



I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if I might ask for waiver of notice.



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



Is there unanimous consent?



I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 37



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



Whereas in this morning’s Chronicle-Herald the Minister of Health was quoted as saying Tony Eden
was contracted by the Department of Health “because he is the only one in the province who could do the job
and I don’t see why we would have to go out of the province when the expertise is here and much cheaper”;
and



Whereas the same Minister of Health hired a communication consultant from Ontario last fall at a
huge salary when there were plenty of unemployed Nova Scotians with excellent communications skills
available to do the job; and



Whereas the Minister of Health has shown an amazing lack of consistency as he attempts to once again
squirm out of yet another situation where he bends and twists the rules at every turn to further his own
personal agenda;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health and the Liberal Government at least employ some
consistency when explaining to Nova Scotians their rationale for hiring the friends and former colleagues of
the Minister of Health.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 38



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



Whereas the Public Accounts tabled yesterday for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1994 show the costs
of the Premier’s office have dramatically increased; and



Whereas since March 31, 1994, the Premier has gone further and added to these already increased
costs, with the addition of his new high-priced staff; and



Whereas all other departments and programs of government are being forced to cut their budgets
causing the layoffs of hundreds of civil servants;



Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the hypocrisy of this Liberal Government who will
spare no expense to try and save the Premier’s job while telling all other Nova Scotians that they must cut out
the frills.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 39



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



Whereas the 1960s City of Halifax relocation of Africville residents from their homes and historic site
on the shores of Bedford Basin remains one of the ugliest and most painful chapters in our history for blacks
and for all Nova Scotians; and



Whereas Halifax City Council last week adopted an ordinance to restrict citizens’ use of publicly owned
lands as a transparent threat to evict former Africville residents engaged in a peaceful protest in Seaview Park;



Whereas city officials assured former Africville residents that the new ordinance would not be invoked
to “forcibly remove” the Africville protesters and that the Mayor’s Committee and Africville Genealogy
Society would continue meeting to seek resolution of outstanding grievances;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the City of Halifax to adhere to their commitment to a
process of negotiation to re-dress outstanding Africville relocation issues and to refrain from evicting the
Seaview Park protestors in violation of the mayor’s good faith undertaking made on March 2nd to former
Africville residents.



Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might ask for waiver of notice on that.



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



Is it agreed?



Is it agreed?



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



The motion is carried.



MR. SPEAKER: If there are no further notices of motion, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk
has conducted a draw for the Adjournment motion at 6:00 p.m. The winner today is the honourable member
for Halifax Fairview. Her resolution reads:



Therefore be it resolved that the government not confuse educational reform with deficit reduction and
that it take the time needed to ensure any reform to be implemented as positive and respectful of the best
interest of all stakeholders in education.



We will hear debate on that topic at 6:00 p.m.



[2:45 p.m.]



The honourable Premier.



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could make an introduction.



MR. SPEAKER: Yes, sir.



THE PREMIER: Mr. Francis Harris is a reporter with World Link magazine. This is a magazine that
he represents. He is here for four days of interviews with leaders and for calls on business and industry. This
is particularly important for us, the advertising that will take place, hopefully, in World Link in connection
with G-7. I would like the House to extend its customary warm welcome to Mr. Francis Harris. (Applause)






MR. SPEAKER: Is there any further business to come before the House under the heading of the daily
routine? If not, we will advance to Orders of the Day. The time now being 2:46 p.m., I’ll say that the Oral
Question Period today will run for one hour, that is until 3:46 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



GOV’T. (N.S.): PRIVATIZATION - PRINCIPLE



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. I wonder if the Premier
might tell us if his government and well, I was going to say and the Liberal Party, but let’s just leave it at his
government for the moment, if his government supports the principle of privatization of programs and
services now offered by the government?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, our government has indicated that they are prepared to look at
privatization in certain areas where the public good will not be affected.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, in response to that answer then, I wonder if the Premier might be able to
explain this for me. He tells us by that answer that in certain circumstances privatization would be supported.
I wonder if the Premier then could tell us why it is that given that there would be an $8 million cost for
taxpayers to get into the ambulance business, why is it that rather than move to a privatized system in regard
to the ambulances, the decision is taken here to add to the public burden, the taxpayers’ burden, by committing
the government to some $8 million worth of expenditure in regard to that initiative announced recently by
the Minister of Health?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the person who should reply more accurately to
this is the Minister of Health and I would ask him to do so.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, while we’re speaking of accuracy, may I redirect the
honourable gentleman opposite to study the facts and study the Murphy Report. There are not $8 million that
we are expending on ambulances. We are not in the process of purchasing ambulances. We are in the process
of asking for a lease agreement which would manufacture 150 ambulances at a cost over the three-year period
of approximately $3 million a year. That’s what we’re into. We’re not into $8 million. I’d ask the honourable
gentleman opposite to explain the $8 million to which he refers.



MR. DONAHOE: Maybe by final supplementary, rather than me answering his question, perhaps the
Minister of Health might tell us, what is the lease that he and his government will sign which will commit
the taxpayers to $3 million a year for three years?



DR. STEWART: As the Murphy Report states, Mr. Speaker, in dealing with how best to provide
ambulances which are current, up-to-date, standardized and renewed every three years, the three-way lease
has been suggested in which we will be leasing ambulances and at the end of the lease, we will negotiate with
the lessor in terms of whether they will be continued if they are in good enough shape and we may actually
save. It might be noted, by the way, that we now pay in this province $5 million per year - per year - for
equipment and ambulances without any standards whatsoever, without any option to protect the public against
withdrawal of service. Now, I ask you, is that not a bargain? (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



COMMUN. SERV.: DEBRA STEVENS - COMPENSATION



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to direct my question through you to the Minister
of Community Services. It has to do with Debra Stevens and the children who were identified as victims of
sexual abuse while under the supervision of the Lunenburg Children and Family Services Agency. Back in
early December the minister committed his government to participate in negotiations over compensation for
those victims.



We learned of late, Mr. Speaker, from the parties involved, particularly the counsel and Debra Stevens
and her son Clayton, that in fact negotiations have not been going well, that there seems to be a total refusal
on the part of the government and their representatives to negotiate a settlement.



I would like to ask the minister if he is still committed today that compensation will be negotiated and
will he indicate to us the deadline when compensation will be negotiated?



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, relative to the question, I have reviewed matters where the media
did report some delay in negotiations that are currently ongoing. I’ve satisfied myself that these matters are
proceeding well. I don’t know where the member gets his information that the government is totally - I think
he said totally - refusing to negotiate. If he could be more specific with dates or any other times that he might
want to share, I would be happy to respond. But certainly, the commitment has been made to proceed with
negotiations. I am satisfied, as Minister of Community Services, that that is happening.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think it is appropriate to pursue this line of questioning with the
minister because he did apologize to Debra Stevens and her children and to the other victims, personally.
Therefore, I believe he has indicated that he has a responsibility to see that this matter is resolved.



I would indicate to him that Debra Stevens, her son Clayton, and their legal representative are here
in the House today. I have spoken with them and I have spoken to other legal counsel, who have indicated
very clearly to me, as of an hour ago, that negotiations are not going well, that they are being stonewalled by
the legal representatives on the part of the Lunenburg Children and Family Services Agency.



I would like to ask this minister, if he is serious about his commitment to resolve this matter, will he
not just take the word of his representatives, will he agree to met with Debra Stevens, with Clayton and with
their legal representative in order to find out what the story is from that side, in order to get this matter
resolved?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, I am satisfied that the negotiations are proceeding. If this
member chooses to bring these negotiations to the floor of the House of Assembly, he can do that. I have no
intention of doing that. I have made a senior member of our staff, with legal experience, available to the
family. If they are having difficulties in other areas, I would share, but I have no intention of negotiating this
particular, very serious matter, and one that we want to see fairness done on the floor of the House of
Assembly.



MR. CHISHOLM: I think the problem here lies in the fact that the minister doesn’t seem to be getting
the information. That is why Debra Stevens, her family and the other victims involved in this matter want the
issue brought directly before the minister, because he doesn’t seem to be hearing the fact that negotiations are
not going well.



Again, I ask the minister, if he wants to see this matter resolved, if, in fact, he is still committed to
seeing that these victims whom his government has taken responsibility for will be compensated, will he agree
to talk to those people directly in order to get their side of the story, in order to see his way clear to get this
matter resolved once and for all?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am convinced that I do have the information appropriate to this matter.
I will not negotiate the matter on the floor with this honourable member. I have met and spoken (Interruption)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, is he finished with the question, I wonder? I would say that I am satisfied
that I have the information. I am not going to negotiate this most serious matter. We want to be fair and do
what is right. This is a very serious matter and I take that, and I have made that commitment to see that that
would be done. I am satisfied that is being done. That is the extent of my answer to that question and to the
honourable member.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



JUSTICE - JAILS: PRIVATIZATION - PLANS



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is back to the Premier, if I may. May I ask
the Premier whether his government at the present time is actively considering privatizing jails and liquor
stores in the Province of Nova Scotia?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there are two questions there. I will ask the Minister of Justice to
comment on the first one.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, we may seek expressions of interest of operating our
correctional facilities but that final decision has not been made and it may be later this year that we would
announce it. But if it is done, it would be done publicly and it would be expressions of interest to see what
companies might suggest and we would compare it with our own correctional officers and our own
correctional administration. We may very well be able to compete and if that is so, that is the way that I am
inclined to go. We may call for those expressions of interest but there is no final decision.



MR. DONAHOE: I thought perhaps the Premier was going to respond to the other part of the question.



MR. SPEAKER: We have to do one at a time. A supplementary.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, if that is the case, I wonder if I might ask the Premier in light of the response
just now given by the Minister of Justice, how the Premier might react to an earlier statement made by the
Minister of Justice in response to a written question in which the Minister of Justice said on this very question
of privatization of jails, “the government is considering privatization of adult correctional facilities as one of
a number of options to reduce operating costs as our new facility configuration is established. Privatization
is not an objective of the government . . .” - having said that they are considering it - “. . . it is being
considered only as a means to achieve budget reduction.”. I note that there is not really very much reference
to the issue of the delivery of service referred to in those statements.



So I ask the Premier, is his government considering seriously or not the question of the possible
privatization of adult correctional facilities in this province?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect and without trivializing the question, the Minister
of Justice has given an honest and fair answer and I think it suffices.



MR. DONAHOE: I wonder if the Premier would give me an indication as to whether or not his
government is at present considering the privatization of liquor stores in the Province of Nova Scotia?



THE PREMIER: No, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



FISH.: AQUACULTURE DIRECTOR - COMPETITION



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries. The minister places
great emphasis as, indeed he should on the potential of aquaculture in this province. I wonder if the minister
would explain to the House why in a recent reorganization of his department he created the position of
Director of Aquaculture and filled it without advertising the position or holding a Civil Service competition?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, the question is a very valid question. In the position of
reorganization of our department we have an acting director, inadvertently there perhaps had been the
gentlemen, Mr. Irwin Judson, is in the position, he was the Manager of Aquaculture and he is now in the
acting position of a director. The position will eventually, I presume, be advertised and there will be a
competition for the position of director.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, is the minister satisfied that in the absence of a competition and he suggests
that there may be one sometime in the future, we now have apparently an acting director which is not what
the press release that I read called that position, is he satisfied that the method of appointment, not the person
who was appointed but that the method of appointment is in the best interests of the aquaculture sector?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, yes.



MR. LEEFE: In view of the minister’s self-assurance, Mr. Speaker, would he be kind enough to refute
the concerns expressed in the March 8th letter to him by Mr. Robin Stuart, the President of the Nova Scotia
Aquaculture Association, which in part states, and I will table the letter for the edification of the House, “the
meeting we held with you . . . and subsequent events have done little to reassure aquaculturists that there is
adequate leadership with respect to our industry on the part of the provincial government.”?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, the aquaculture industry when I came to this ministry two years ago
was in great difficulties. You couldn’t process a license, you couldn’t get a loan. We have set up an
organization and under the previous guidance of the director, Murray Hill, who is both the Director of Inland
Fisheries and of Aquaculture. We have expedited processes called RADAC, which is the Regional Advisory
Committees, which throughout Nova Scotia have expedited community-based development has happened from
the bottom up. Last year we processed 81 leases, in previous years it was about 40 leases. Last year we
provided about 30 loans of some $800,000 to the aquaculture industry from the Fisheries Loan Board. The
development that has taken place in our province, the production volume that is going up, the people who are
involved in aquaculture has grown significantly. At the same time, the Division of Inland Fisheries, a division
within my department, has also taken on broader responsibilities and, because of the reorganization of the
federal government, the devolution of responsibilities into the inland fisheries, which is an $80 million
industry in this province, requires some direct leadership. Also, the growth in our aquaculture has been
significant in the last year. We expect that it will be doubling in the next year again, Mr. Speaker.



[3:00 p.m.]



I think the leadership provided by both the director and the acting director is very important to my
department. I stand behind the decisions that were made. (Applause)



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



NAT. RES.: FORESTRY AGREEMENT (CAN.-N.S.) - ACTION PLAN



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Natural
Resources. The cloud of uncertainty that is presently over the forestry industry is fast becoming as dark as the
one that is over our fishery. I had honestly hoped the minister would have had this serious concern solved by
the time the Legislature resumed it sitting. But, at this point in time, the minister has failed miserably in his
attempt to secure a forestry agreement. (Interruptions)



Mr. Speaker, the question is, because the five year forestry deal expired on Friday of last week, we have
nothing in place to ensure that our industry sustains in the future; there is nothing in place. I am asking this
minister what he intends to do about it? What plan and what action does this minister plan to take?



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite tells everybody that the sky is falling
and that the world is coming to an end and gets very exercised, the reality is, as the member opposite should
know, a catch-up year, a clean-up year in the subagreements that not only affect forestry but also in fisheries
and in agriculture and in mining. I wish he would broaden his horizons to other sectors.



The catch-up agreement, the clean-up year that is underway now will be in place. The funding for most
of the programs we have in place will last until the end of June of this year.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I have been on the phone almost constantly since last Friday, talking to
people across this province, from Cape Breton to southwestern Nova Scotia. They are asking me why the
Minister of Natural Resources will not take the bull by the horns. Do you know what they are saying? They
are saying the power saw stops at the minister’s door. Trees are being harvested, Mr. Speaker, as never before.



MR. SPEAKER: Is this the question? Question, please. I don’t care what . . .






MR. TAYLOR: The question is, the minister talked about transitional funding, or I take it that is what
his reply was to my question was about this transitional funding, what type of money is the minister talking
about? How much is it and when will it run out? To the end of June? July? August?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I think if the honourable member opposite would listen to the answers
instead of just trying to figure out the kind of rhetoric he is going to use, you would have realized I was not
talking about transitional funding but a clean-up year of the subagreement for 1996.



MR. TAYLOR: How much money is for the clean-up, Mr. Speaker? That is what I was trying to find
out. The member knows that. What is being cleaned up is our forests; that is what is being cleaned up. It is
a very serious concern in this province.



Very clearly, Mr. Speaker, the question is can Nova Scotians expect something definitive in the
foreseeable future or are we going to blame the federal government, the same as we did during the last
legislative session?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I get a kick out of this but I mean, the honourable member opposite knows
this, as I have indicated in spades to this honourable member and honourable members of the House, for a
number of months now. It is a federal government decision to cancel the program, a regrettable decision by
the federal (Interruption)



A regrettable situation and one that I have not appreciated the effect that it will have in Nova Scotia.
What I have done since the decision of the federal budget, I have had a number of discussions with federal
Cabinet Ministers in regard to looking at whether or not there is any alternative funding, in fact, a committee
together with Economic Renewal Agency who is the lead ministry responsible in working in cooperation with
other resource sectors to find alternative funding, we are pursuing that process. Secondly, we are working with
the industry to determine long-term strategies.



We happen to believe, on this side of the House, that working with the industry from the bottom up
and developing a strategy is more important, that the member opposite and his Party tried to dictatorially drive
down the throats of the forestry industry of the Province of Nova Scotia by legislating a process that did not
have the involvement of the industry. This government has not proposed to do that at this time; we are
prepared to work with the industry in developing a long-term strategy of sustainable development of the
forestry sector of this province.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



FIN. - CASINOS: ITT SHERATON - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of
Finance. As soon as ITT Sheraton’s hiring of casino employees got underway, concerns arose about their total
disregard for the affirmative action policies required of them by the Gaming Control Act. Nevertheless, the
Finance Minister appears to be totally satisfied with the Sheraton’s hiring practises. I wonder if the minister
could explain what ITT Sheraton has done in its hiring of casino employees to apply the province’s policies
respecting affirmative action as required by the law of this province?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: What I will tell the honourable members, what I have done is to ask
that the Casino Gaming Corporation, under the chairmanship of Mr. Fiske, ensure that the commitments that
have been made legislatively and indeed in agreements with the ITT Sheraton are fulfilled.



MS. MCDONOUGH: In fact, in a letter received in my office today, the minister gives an elaborate
defence of ITT Sheraton’s hiring procedures and indicates that he is entirely satisfied with them. I am
wondering, if the minister is so convinced that the ITT Sheraton hiring has been satisfactory, I wonder if he
could explain to Nova Scotians why the Liberal caucus has advised that disabled Nova Scotians interested in
casino employment should submit their names to the Liberal caucus who would in turn, and I quote directly
from the memo, who would, in turn ensure that “the application would still be considered”? I wonder if the
minister could explain. It sounds awfully much like the hiring of highway workers of old and I wonder if the
minister could explain if that is the Liberal Government’s idea of a proper and fair affirmative action
program?



MR. BOUDREAU: First of all, in response to some of the preamble, let me say that there are going
to be 1,100 people working at the two casinos and very few of those have been hired to date, so I won’t be
satisfied until all 1,100 are employed, working and we are able to see exactly what the results of our
affirmative action program have been.



The second part of her question with respect to members of the Liberal caucus - now I can only assume
this because I wasn’t present - I assume members of the Liberal caucus are anxious to lobby on behalf of
disabled Nova Scotians, much the same as the honourable member has done from time to time.



MS. MCDONOUGH: I think the minister’s response is very interesting. He apparently -and I guess
this would be my question - does he not understand the difference between lobbying on behalf of individual
disabled persons, with Liberal caucus members forwarding the names, addresses and phone numbers and
urging the Sheraton to hire directly on recommendation of the Liberal caucus, does he understand the
difference between that and putting in place a proper policy and set of procedures as required by the law so
that the Sheraton does proper hiring of people based on the merits of their applications that come to them
without political interference or lobbying by members of the government caucus?



MR. BOUDREAU: I think, Mr. Speaker, it is in the interests of all members of this House to ensure
that there are a number, indeed a goodly number, of disabled Nova Scotians who have in fact applied, whose
names are in there, whose resumes are in there, so that in fact the Affirmative Action Program can be utilized.
The honourable member is trying to make something out of nothing. The Sheraton will do the hiring and as
far as their commitments to affirmative action or any other commitments that they make, they will be policed
by the gaming corporation and the staff there. I’m completely confident that when the hiring is done, all 1,100
of them, when those people are working and taking home pay cheques, that the record of the Sheraton, which
has been demonstrated already in their hotel operation, will be once again reaffirmed in the casino operations.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



FIN. -  CASINOS: GAMING REGULATIONS - RESPONSE



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. I think it was on
March 10th that the minister released the draft regulations governing gaming in Nova Scotia. I think there
are about 14 working days for submissions to come in. My question for the Minister of Finance is, how many
submissions did you receive from Nova Scotians on the regulations? You asked for submissions. How many
submissions did the minister receive?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, I find this a little awkward. We do have and
indeed we did keep the number of submissions and a report of the categorization of those submissions. I am
no longer the minister responsible for the commission, as you well know, under the legislation. So if the
honourable member wants that summary, I would ask him to direct his question to the new minister
responsible.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I apologize. I was confused on who - you released them and that’s what
confused me - on who the submissions went to. I apologize.



My question, then, is for the minister in charge of the commission, who is in charge of the regulations.
I would ask the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs if she could indicate to me how many submissions
she received regarding the regulations that were put out.



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, there were a large number of submissions that came through
both the Minister of Finance and through myself and through the Nova Scotia Lottery Commission. We
compiled those and drew from those the concerns that were raised and responded in the regulations to the
number of concerns raised.



MR. MOODY: Is this my first, Mr. Speaker?



MR. SPEAKER: Yes.



MR. MOODY: I would ask the minister if she could be a little more specific. In other words, how many
actual? They must be able to count over there. I’m sure she can count. How many submissions did she receive
(Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Perhaps the honourable member could rephrase that question.



MR. MOODY: I would ask the minister exactly, in numbers, how many submissions did she receive
regarding the regulations that were put out for public reaction?



MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I believe we received between 350 and 400 letters.



MR. MOODY: I thank the honourable minister for that answer. Knowing that the honourable minister
and this government want to be open and have a transparent process - they’ve said this - they also said that
you are going to listen to Nova Scotians and you wanted them to react. I wonder, since this government wants
to be open and transparent, would the minister in charge of the commission table the submissions in this
House so that all Nova Scotians can see the kinds of submissions that came in regarding the regulations that
were released?



MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I believe that those letters were written by Nova Scotians who expected
them to go to certain people. I don’t believe that they would expect them to be released to the public. I do think
that in the interests of all Nova Scotians, I have to say that most of those letters drew the same conclusions.
A number of them had the same concerns raised. We addressed their concerns and we brought forward
regulations to respond to their concerns.



[3:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



FIN. - CASINO (SYDNEY): PROFITS - DISTRIBUTION



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Gaming
Corporation and I may be on the wrong track too, but I will give it a try. The Minister of Finance said that
the casino in Sydney would make approximately $4 million a year and that one-half of that money would go
to native bands across the province. Now, the other half would go to non-profit organizations across the
province. Can the minister tell me to who these people would apply for funding from the profit from the
Sydney casino?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, indeed, the honourable member has got the right
minister on this one. Just for the information of the House, I might say, again, as the legislation pointed out
with respect to the business arrangements, the finances, the funding, the money, then that comes under the
Gaming Corporation which reports to the Minister of Finance. On the regulatory matters, control of gaming
in the province, goes through the commission and reports to the honourable Minister of Housing and
Consumer Affairs.



With respect specifically to your question, applications can be made although I would hesitate, the
decisions on this will not be made this week or next week or within the next month, but applications will be
made to the Gaming Corporation itself. They will be processed and decisions made by that corporation.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer. There are many non-profit
organizations across this province and I know that a lot of them are considering it, like women’s groups, there
are all kinds of organizations, I don’t have to start to name them. But when can they expect to have the
qualifications made available to them to apply for some of that funding?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, I think, Mr. Speaker, the casino in Sydney is scheduled to open August 1st,
so there will be no money prior to August 1st. However, we would anticipate that applications will come in
before that date. Now, the criteria will be a non-profit charitable or community organization, we wouldn’t
intend to limit that. Certainly, I have indicated publicly that any such organization, in any part of the
province, may apply and make their case for funding. Indeed, it will not be restricted to a geographical area.
Certain considerations may be given to charities who are impacted in a particular way that they can
demonstrate as a result of the operation of either of the casinos themselves, if you follow what I mean there.
But, in any event, the criteria will be developed long in advance of the money flow.



MR. MCINNES: I thank the minister for that answer. I don’t know if I am just clear as to who or what
groups and maybe the minister himself is not clear as exactly who may qualify or who may not qualify. But
there was a suggestion that maybe the funding would only go to groups that were working on addictions.



MR. BOUDREAU: No, Mr. Speaker, that is not correct. Any charitable or community organization
can apply. It is not intended to be restricted, as I say, either geographically or to certain categories. As far as
the addiction situation is concerned, the honourable member may remember Nova Scotia now will have in
position funding for addiction probably larger per capita than any other province in the country. We will have
upwards of $2 million budgeted for treatment of addiction and specific programs will be undertaken in that
category. But in terms of the distribution to charitable and community organizations, that is open to the full
spectrum.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



GAMING CONTROL COMM’N. - INSPECTORS: HIRING - STATUS



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Housing and Consumer
Affairs in her capacity as Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission. Last fall in the House,
the Minister of Finance in his enthusiasm to chase down illegal VLTs said that he would be hiring 10 new
inspectors to handle the problems caused by the proliferation of grey machines. Unfortunately, that
commitment was not carried out last fall.



My question to the Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission is that now we have the
inspectors responsible not only for gaming, but also for enforcement under the Liquor Control Act, would the
minister advise the House as to when those inspectors will be appointed to carry out their duties, both for
gaming and for liquor infractions?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, if I remember correctly, I believe that there have been five
or six of those inspectors already hired, and moving further than that, I would prefer to wait until the Gaming
Commission itself is up and running and the duties and the cross-training happen so that all inspections could
happen right across the province in all the jurisdictions that these inspectors will be responsible for.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the director of investigation and enforcement
for the commission has not as yet been appointed. In fact, I understand that the advertising for that position
is only now being made public and that person will not be in place probably until the end of May. The reason
that I raise that is simply that that person, whether it be male or female, was to come up with the terms of
reference for those positions as inspectors. I wonder if the minister could explain how the training and the
enforcement can be carried out by this individual with inspectors that are already in place and without having
those terms of reference already in position?



MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite raises a good point. As we are in transition moving
from three entities into one to incorporate the Liquor Licensing Board and the Nova Scotia Lottery
Commission and the Amusement Regulation Board all under one roof, we have not, as well, hired an
executive director for that position as well. We are in a transition and we are trying to accommodate,
providing the services that need to be provided at the same time as we are putting the organization together.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there already has been an enforcement arm for lotteries and for liquor
and the inspectors are well trained to carry out those functions. But however for gaming, we have no training
in place. We have no terms of reference for those positions. We have a casino opening in June. Would the
minister explain how she is going to have in place the 10 or whatever number of inspectors it is for gaming
for that opening date, early June, when the director of investigation and enforcement is not in place until
probably the 1st of June?



MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, we are in a state of transition and I can appreciate,
as all Nova Scotians would, that we do have to perform the services necessary there. Cross-training has
already begun. We are working to try to pull together this organization as quickly as possible so that we can
deliver the service that is going to be needed to enforce all the regulations as they have been tabled.
(Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



NSP - POWER GENERATION: COAL - DOMESTIC



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question, through you, to the
Minister of Natural Resources. It was the policy of the Liberal Party when they were in Opposition, during
the election and subsequent to the election since they have been government that if we are going to, Nova
Scotia Power is going to burn coal to generate electricity, then it will utilize onshore coal. As recently as July
1994, the Premier is quoted as having said that in the Cape Breton Post.



I would like to ask the minister, in light of the current state of negotiations between Nova Scotia Power
and Devco where Nova Scotia Power have indicated that they are no longer willing to participate in an
agreement with Devco, what is his government doing to ensure that the often stated policy to utilize onshore
coal is in fact going to be carried out?



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in regard to the decision that Nova Scotia Power Inc. have
set forward, I believe in many ways has now brought the individuals back to the table to negotiate. This is a
negotiated process. They give and serve two year notice.



I believe what we should be doing is allowing business to sit back around the table and negotiate the
structures that need to be negotiated in order to find a settlement. We are prepared to sit and watch that
process go on.



I think what we are seeing now is the realization that the two of them need to sit down and determine
where, in fact, they will be able to find a solution to the impasse in regard to pricing.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response of the minister. Certainly it has been clear
in the past that this government has indicated a willingness to participate actively in the activities of Nova
Scotia Power. In fact, if you go back to 1992, when there was the debate in this Chamber to privatize, the then
Official Opposition were quite opposed and were going to do some interesting things to bring Nova Scotia
Power back under the control of the government when they became the government. They have yet to do so.



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.



MR. CHISHOLM: I would like to ask the minister this question, if he would clarify it for me; the
Minister of Finance is quoted as saying that in terms of the decisions of Nova Scotia Power with respect to
the purchase of coal, that that was not the business of his government. I would like to ask the minister if this
is not, in fact, the case that any decision, decisions by Nova Scotia Power or anyone else that affects the energy
policy of his department and jobs for Nova Scotia, is, in fact, the business of that government?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe any coal has been purchased offshore, to my knowledge,
in the Province of Nova Scotia with regard to this issue. They are at the negotiating table and will continue
to be at the negotiating table. I think until such time as there is a decision made in that process, there is really
no point in me deliberating any further on it. Let the business people negotiate the package that needs to be
negotiated. They are big boys, they are not young kids. They know exactly what they are doing and I believe
they are professional enough to be able to find a solution to the problem.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let me just say that that is the same kind of stuff we heard from the
Tories when they were on that side of the table, when the legislation to privatize Nova Scotia Power was here.



My final supplementary to the minister, Mr. Speaker, on the same topic or a similar topic, is with
respect to Nova Scotia Power. The commission set up that is headed by George Baker to look at the regulatory
system for Nova Scotia Power, I understand is about to report to the minister. I would like to ask him if he
would give us an indication of how soon we can expect to see that report released to the public.



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as soon as I have had a chance to review it with our staff and present it
to Cabinet, I would then be happy to table the document to members here.



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



NAT. RES. - FORESTRY: PRODUCTION SURVEY - ACCURACY



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to direct my question to the Minister of
Natural Resources. I want to make it clear that I have no problem with people who want to make money in
the forestry industry and sell their wood to whomever they can. I certainly believe in the free enterprise system
and think that it must be allowed to flourish.



Mr. Speaker, I want the free enterprise system to flourish many years down the road. Unless the
Minister of Natural Resources puts some alternative plan in place, our resource is going to be depleted.



Now I have some information over here, and I know I can’t get into it, Mr. Speaker, but thousands of
cords of wood are leaving this province on a daily basis. Yet I have a publication here with the minister’s
signature on it, called the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Production Survey and it indicates that
far less cords of wood are leaving the province than actually are. Obviously this survey is misleading. I wonder
if the minister is aware of this obvious mistake?



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Well, Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to review the numbers that the
member opposite is alleging are accurate and disputing the numbers of the Department of Natural Resources.



We have made it very clear that we, too, are concerned about the amount of fibre leaving the province.
We, too, are doing an evaluation and determination to the extent of how large the amount of product leaving
the province really and truly is.



Now I know the member opposite is legitimately concerned about the forestry sector, as I am and as
this government is, because it is such a vital part of Nova Scotia’s economic base, as are all the resource-based
industries, I want to make it clear to the member opposite that if he has not realized it yet, and if he made all
these phone calls since Friday, he should have realized it, that the reality is that 75 per cent of the forested
land in the Province of Nova Scotia is privately owned. If the member opposite would suggest legislation that
should be introduced, I would be happy to see what kind of legislation he is talking about in regard to
restricting that process.



[3:30 p.m.]



Secondly, I would like to know how the member opposite would ever stop products travelling
interprovincially when we do not have any barriers of trade unilaterally across this country. So if the member
is coming up with some ideas or suggestions, I would ask him to table it to the House, exactly how he sees
those processes handled.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, some time ago that minister closed down the nursery component of the
Musquodoboit Valley Forest Nursery Education Complex, and now I understand that the minister has issued
a directive that the complex will close down in the very near future. Some 8,000 to 10,000 children from
across this province, from Elementary to Grade 12, go to the complex and learn about everything from seed
to harvesting and sound forest management practices.



Can the minister tell me, what is the status of that nursery complex and the education complex in
Middle Musquodoboit, Halifax County?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I, too, concur that the facility in Musquodoboit was certainly a very vital
part in regard to extension and education. With the federal government relinquishing its responsibility, or its
commitment to the forestry sector and through the resource industry through their subagreements being
cancelled, that facility was built and housed and supported by staff that were part of a forestry agreement. If
he would look back in the history, he will realize how that was.



I cannot give any assurance whatsoever in regard to the future of the complex or in regard to staffing
because of the Federal-Provincial Forestry Development Agreement. What I have made very clear to this
House in an earlier statement is that, we, as a department, and we, as working together with ERA and other
ministers, are pursuing alternative funding to see whether or not there are any other packages that might be
out there from the federal government that we could use to help supplement the forestry sector, not only the
issue of planting and reforestation programs, but also the issue of education.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that response from the minister. During my first sequence
of questions to the minister on this very important subject matter, he suggested that there was some clean-up
funding relating to this year. I tried to be clear with my question to the minister, so I shall put it to him again,
if I may. How much clean-up funding has been approved?



MR. DOWNE: The budget, I believe, is $10.7 million, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



SYDNEY TAR PONDS CLEAN UP INC.: OPERATOR - SELECTION



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. The
government, on March 25th, put out a call for expressions of interest regarding the Sydney Tar Ponds clean
up. My first question to the minister is who will be responsible for selection, that is what minister will be
responsible for selection of a private sector operator, and by what process will this selection be made?



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I do believe the question is one for the Minister of Supply and
Services. That is the operational side of the tar ponds and in this capacity we regulate the operations.



MR. SPEAKER: The Minister of Supply and Services rises to his feet. Would you allow the honourable
Minister of Supply and Services to respond? (Applause)



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to receive that first question from the former
Minister of the Environment. It tempts me to lead into a lengthy answer regarding that unholy site that exists
in Cape Breton and which I had the unfortunate experience of visiting a week ago, but in direct answer to the
honourable member’s question, Mr. Speaker, we have a large expression of interest somewhere in excess of
80 expressions of interest to operate the clean-up process. We are now assembling a committee of experts who
will make the necessary choice, if at all possible, to clean up that unholy mess left there by that government.



MR. LEEFE: We were around for a long time, but not before 1900, I don’t think. My first
supplementary is indeed to the Minister of the Environment. I ask the minister if once a private sector
operator for the clean-up is chosen, is it the government’s policy that that company will automatically acquire
all the environmental permits, which to date have been issued in the name of Sydney Tar Ponds clean up?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I think that is yet to be determined but I would say at the outset that I
would be looking for compliance with regulations that we do have in place.



MR. LEEFE: On a recent visit to Sydney, I became convinced that there is a high level of support for
an independent public review of the project. In view of the fact that the project is stalled, awaiting response
to the advertisement of March 25th, I would ask the minister, will he seize this as an opportunity to establish
a public review process, possibly using as a model, the Fraser Inquiry ordered by Mr. Tobin in the matter of
depletion of West Coast salmon stocks?



MR. ADAMS: I can say today that I will undertake to consider that as a real possibility because I think
it does have a lot of merit, that we have to do all that we can to ease the burden that does exist in the Sydney
area and indeed all of Nova Scotia. And we can certainly flag their environmental achievements in that area
across the globe.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



LBR. - WORKERS’ COMP. ACT: PROCLAMATION - DATE



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: My question is for the Minister of Labour. Mr. Speaker, I was wondering
if the Minister of Labour would advise the House and all Nova Scotians, particularly those who are at the
present time awaiting resolution of claims at the Workers’ Compensation Board, when he will be proclaiming
the new Workers’ Compensation Act in its entirety?



HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question, the Act will be proclaimed in sections
and a lot of it, the time will be controlled by how quickly we get some of the services and some of the hiring
and some of the computers in place, to deal with the massive waiting list that we have at the workers’
compensation.



MR. RUSSELL: That particular piece of legislation came into the House last fall and surely to
goodness the minister would have had enough time to put in place the mechanisms to deal with things that
were within that Act. Can I ask the minister then, when will the schedule for the permanent impairment
benefit be available for the counsellors at the Workers’ Compensation Board?



MR. BROWN: The bill went through the House this spring. It was finally proclaimed early this year.
It dealt with issues that had been ongoing with that board for 15 to 20 years. The employees over there are
dedicated, committed, doing the best possible job. We have consultants in there who are hiring extra people
with regard to the board and I don’t feel very good, this government doesn’t feel very good and we are going
to proclaim it, and clean up the mess that was left in this province concerning workers’ compensation, better
than it has ever been before. (Applause)



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable minister is having problems cutting the mustard with
regard to putting in place the mechanisms that were told to us by the previous minister, were ready to go and
that is why there is a great haste to get that bill through, and I am speaking for the 2,000 people out there at
the present time that are waiting for resolution of their claims. Can the minister tell me, and tell the people
of Nova Scotia, how is he proceeding with those 2,000 outstanding appeals that are out there on the books at
the present time?



MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, when we started with this debate, they told us it may take us three or five
years to clean up all the appeals that that government turned over to us when we were elected. We have the
programs. We are concerned about those 2,000 people, more so than other members. The board is concerned.
We are putting the programs in place. The bill went through the House earlier this year and I think that the
former minister, the staff at workers’ compensation have worked very hard and we hope to have that cleaned
up as soon as possible.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



BUDGET (CAN. - 1995-96): PROGS. (CHST) CUTS - CONCERN EXPRESS



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to direct my question to the Premier. If the federal
government proceeds with Bill C-73 now before Parliament, $385 million will be ripped out of federal
government transfer payments to Nova Scotia over the next three years alone for health, education and
community services and basic income security programs. To put it mildly, it was disappointing that the
Speech from the Throne failed to even mention this devastating cut of federal funding to Nova Scotia, let
alone share with Nova Scotians any analysis of its impact. My question to the honourable Premier is if he
would advise the House what specific steps he and his Cabinet colleagues have taken to communicate to the
federal government their concern about this financial onslaught and try to persuade them to retreat from Bill
C-73?






THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I don’t minimize the impact of the cuts that are being made in transfers.
We’ve stated that publicly. But we have also stated publicly that if we in this province have attempted to put
our house in order, then we also have to accept the fact that the federal government, with an even bigger
problem in terms of money, has to put its house in order. We as Liberals support the directions of that federal
budget. We support the directions of the federal government because it too, in a manner that parallels only
the dizzy steps that were taken into the financial mess that we were left, the kind of mess that Mr. Mulroney
and the federal Tories left.



Having stated that, I can tell you that we’ve had conversations as lately as yesterday with the minister.
We are meeting with the minister and particularly the four Atlantic area ministers and we will be talking. I
do not at this point intend to convey to the public anything until we have something that is worth conveying.



MS. MCDONOUGH: The government is always congratulating itself on getting its financial house
in order and stressing the importance, for example, of its four year fiscal plan. Transition houses in the
province are also trying to get their financial houses in order so that they, too, can plan. In view of the
Minister of Justice’s earlier proclamation this afternoon of a commitment to a comprehensive strategy to fight
family violence, and in view of the desperate situation shaping up at Bryony House, where volunteers have
had to raise $150,000 a year just to keep the doors open, with the toll that takes on staff, and volunteers, I
wonder if the Premier could give the assurance that transition houses across the province will receive at least
the same level of funding over the next three years that will allow them to plan and stabilize their operations
with the appropriate adjustments for inflation, given the recognition of the importance of keeping one’s
financial house in order and the importance of support services to victims of family violence?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it obviously is a subject that I have, in my past life, spent a lot of time
with and understand. However, at this point, with a budget coming up next week and with a very competent
minister, I’m not prepared to comment on the budgetary aspects of whether or not there will be increased
funding or less funding or three years’ funding. I can tell you that we are sympathetic to the objectives of
transition houses and I know the minister, with his customary regard for this particular area, will do all he
can to give them the comfort of the long-term budgeting that they may request.



MR. SPEAKER: We have time left for a very brief supplementary.



[3:45 p.m.]



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Premier would not address the concern that in their
haste to get their financial house in order, we are seeing the federal government pass the buck, pass the
accumulated debt down to the province and the province, in turn, onto the very individuals and families in
this province who can least afford it, namely, for example, victims of family violence.



Would the Premier not agree that that is precisely the outcome of the disastrous effects of Bill C-73
that is now about to make its impact known across this country and on the backs of the most vulnerable Nova
Scotians?






THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that we have to deal with less money but I don’t think that
I would comment on another level of government. Otherwise, they might comment on some of the things we
do. All I can tell you is that we will do our level utmost in order to maintain the service, in particular, of
transition houses.



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



The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, during the course of Question Period the honourable member for
Halifax Fairview referenced a memo purported to be from the Liberal caucus, with respect to hiring at the
Sheraton casino. I wonder if the honourable member would be kind enough to table that memo.



MR. SPEAKER: The same thought had struck me also. Is the memo available for tabling?



MS. MCDONOUGH: . . . a copy.



MR. SPEAKER: A copy will be provided.



The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.



MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Oh, I am sorry, I think there are some other orders
of business.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. During the Question Period the
honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley in one of his questions equally quoted from either
a Green Paper or a White Paper. When extensive quotes are made from a paper, then it is obligatory that the
member table such a document. I would ask the member to table that document.



MR. SPEAKER: I noted that matter also but it appeared to me that it was a green piece of paper,
namely a House of Assembly memo paper that the honourable member was quoting from and not from a
publication. It was that piece of paper there. I don’t know if it is in a fit condition to be tabled or not. It was
the member’s own notes that he was quoting from. The notes purported to quote a government publication.



Are there any further points of order before we move on with Government Business?



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government
Motions.



GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I move that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to
the Speech from the Throne be now resumed.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from
the Throne be now resumed.



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect. You have approximately 50 minutes remaining.



MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: Mr. Speaker, I am not intending to take quite that long but I do appreciate
the opportunity to speak once again today. I will try not to be quite as provocative as I was last night. I notice
that I was gathering a fair bit of cackles from the benches. As a matter of fact, I think I may be a bit more
parochial in my comments today.



Yesterday during my response I was talking about the economic turnaround we have seen in this
province in recent months. Today I would like to mention some of the development in Timberlea-Prospect,
my riding. As you drive through the growing communities of Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea you pass
by the Bayers Lake Business Park. The Bayers Lake Business Park has been growing in leaps and bounds in
recent months. There are many new businesses sprouting up every day.



On the Prospect Road in Timberlea-Prospect we see two new golf driving ranges opening up this
spring. Down the road a little way, in Hatchet Lake, there is a new take-out and a pizza store. Across the street
from that there is a new general store. As you go down a little further there is a new car body shop that has
opened up. In the Hammonds Plains area of Timberlea-Prospect, in the communities of Haliburton Hills and
Highland Park, they are growing so rapidly that Sobeys has recently built a new store three times as large as
the old one, which they had only just built in recent years. They have also put in a strip mall in which we see
many new businesses opening up, the vast majority of which are small businesses, creating jobs for Nova
Scotians.



My point, Mr. Speaker, in mentioning these very positive activities which are occurring in Timberlea-Prospect, and these are not all of the examples I could give, is confidence, the confidence of the people buying
the homes in the community, confidence of the entrepreneurs starting the businesses and confidence of the
banks lending the money.



What do these people have confidence in, Mr. Speaker? They have confidence in a Premier and a
government that will tell them the truth. They have confidence in a government that is not going to spend
them into oblivion, as we have seen governments do in the past. They have confidence in a government that
is going to make sure their children have a future to look forward to in Nova Scotia.



Mr. Speaker, good government dedicates itself to providing good services and effective, efficient
infrastructure. That is what this government has set its sights on. We see this dedication in our Health
Minister, my good friend, Ron Stewart, who is dedicated to giving Nova Scotians the best health care system,
bar none. We see this dedication in our Education Minister, who has immersed himself in his work, travelling
from town to town, school to school, community to community, interacting with people so that he can get their
input into the reshaping of our educational system.



The list goes on. The dedication can be seen in any one of the ministers of this government sitting on
the Treasury benches, especially the Premier. He is the driving force behind these ministers.



Mr. Speaker, I cannot end my response today without elaborating on the topic of infrastructure. You
see, along with this very positive growth I talked about a few moments ago, there comes some problems and
those problems in a growth area are infrastructure problems, increased volumes of traffic, overcrowded
schools. Those are two of the most serious problems that arise in Timberlea-Prospect.



Now, I noticed that the eyebrows of a few of my colleagues just raised up there when I started to
mention these problems that I talk about. I know that they look up because they know that they have heard
this, not only once, but many times from me, Mr. Speaker. I promise that I am not going to give you this
lecture again, but I think it is important. These are the things that are important to my constituents and I think
it is important that I keep continuing to drive those issues home to the ministers of this government.



Well, let me say this, Mr. Speaker. I understand the frustration that these ministers feel. It is not that
they do not want to hear what I have to say. I know that they are concerned about these issues. I know they
are frustrated at not being able to resolve all the problems facing all of the MLAs in this House all at once.
They just cannot do it. The cupboard is bare. The Tories have taken all of the bones out of the cupboard and
when Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard, the Tory bones were gone.



I understand the importance of straightening out the financial mess left by the Tories, so that we will
not be borrowing constantly and going deeper in debt. (Interruption) I want each and every one of you to
know, well, you know it is interesting, Mr. Speaker, that some members would comment about my executive
and I am quite proud of that executive. Their contempt for union people is obvious when they make those
comments and I hope that all union people will hear them and know how they feel about them, so that they
will remember that when the next election comes.



Mr. Speaker, I want each and every one of the ministers on the government benches to know that I
appreciate and the people of Timberlea-Prospect appreciate the many things you have been able to accomplish
with the limited financial resources you have had to work with. While you all know who you are, I think it
is important to make note of these accomplishments.



The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, as Minister of the Environment, has to be
commended for the work that he has done in straightening out the contamination at Five Island Lake. That
is an ongoing issue, but it is an issue that the Cabinet put some funding towards to address and it is one that
the people in that area appreciate this government addressing.



The Minister of Education, the Minister of Natural Resources, the previous Minister of Government
Services for ensuring that the much-needed addition to the Hammonds Plains Elementary School went ahead,
I am pleased and I thank you on behalf of the people of Timberlea-Prospect. I want to make mention to our
new Cabinet colleague that I will continue to be aggressive on this particular addition. I know you will do a
good job in ensuring that continues along the way it has been.



The Minister of Transportation for the many transportation issues he has assisted me with in resolving
in the riding, there is no one issue, I do not think, that is more important than roads and a vast array of issues
that revolve around transportation. When it comes right down to it, Madam Speaker, I do not think there is
one minister who has not helped out with at least one issue in Timberlea-Prospect and, on behalf of the
residents, I want to thank you all.



Madam Speaker, I would like to relate to the members of the House a very positive activity which took
place in Timberlea-Prospect over the weekend. This activity was the Beechville-Lakeside Community
Awareness Day. The event saw almost every volunteer group and many public services from the Lions Club,
the Scout troops, from the RCMP, Department of Community Services, many groups. I think there were 40
or 50 demonstrators there, or people who had booths, set up booths and took their time, volunteer time, to
come out and show their services to the community as a whole.



Over 300 residents passed through the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Junior High School last
Saturday, Madam Speaker. I heard nothing but positive comments from the people that attended. I would like
to congratulate all those groups and organizations that participated and a special thanks goes out to Catherine
Pelrine, Cathy Wilcox and Yvonne Varner for organizing this event. This kind of event is what we need. We
need more participation by communities. These groups work hard for the community and deserve a vote of
confidence for the dedication and hard work that they have done.



Madam Speaker, we have come a long way in two years despite the obstacles we faced. I am proud of
the steps our government is taking, and most of all, I am honoured to serve the people of Timberlea-Prospect.
There are those in this House that have made light of the Speech from the Throne saying that it is thin. Well,
if that is all they can say, pity help the people who are dependent on them. The truth of the matter is that it
is full of facts and action, not the political rhetoric that we have seen in the past from the previous
administration. (Interruption) I know the truth hurts fellows, so try to control yourselves.



I, Madam Speaker, will most certainly be casting my vote in the affirmative for the Speech from the
Throne. Thank you, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Madam Speaker, may I commence my remarks by congratulating you on being
elected by this House to the august position of Deputy Speaker and, of course, I know that I need not remind
you or any member of the House that when you occupy the Chair you in fact are there to exercise all of the
responsibilities of the Speaker of the House and you are indeed Madam Speaker.



As you know, I preceded you some number of years ago in that position and I can say that while the
public may have the view that the finest elevation is to the front benches, it has always been my view that the
House can provide no greater accolade to one of its own than to invite a member to assume the Chair and to
deliberate over the debates and the proceedings of this House. I congratulate you on your election and I know
that all of us can look forward to a very fair and judicious hand on your part as you sit over our deliberations.



I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate His Honour and Her Honour upon their appointment
as Lieutenant Governor and as Chatelaine for the Province of Nova Scotia and to say that, having known Mr.
and Mrs. Kinley for a very long time, that they bring with them tremendous depth of community experience,
a tremendous understanding of this province and certainly of the people of the South Shore, the part of the
province from which I come and that Mr. and Mrs. Kinley will indeed be absolutely gracious in the way in
which they respond to their duties as indeed were their predecessors Lloyd and Marian Crouse, who also
hailed from Lunenburg. I suspect that it may be a very long time again before we find that successful
Lieutenant Governors came from the same community in Nova Scotia, that is another first for Lunenburg.



[4:00 p.m.]



Also, I want to congratulate my friend and colleague, the now Minister of Supply and Services upon
his elevation to the Treasury benches, to the superb job as our Deputy Speaker in this House. I very much
appreciated the time and the effort and the dedication that he put into his time in the Chair and also to the
tremendous interest that he showed in Province House and the efforts that he has expended on behalf of the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I am sure that we can look to him to pursue his new
responsibilities with as much vigour as he did those which has vacated and which you have taken up in his
stead.



I also want to especially welcome a minister who is moving from one portfolio to another and that is
the former Minister of Supply and Services who now is in another very important portfolio, one of the key
portfolios in this province and that is the Environment portfolio. I want to commend to the minister an
initiative which has not been very high in the public purview but which is one entirely worthy of pursuit and
one in which Nova Scotia has been one of the principal agents and that is in the Gulf of Maine conference.
The Minister of Fisheries has been very supportive of that initiative as has this minister’s predecessor. I
commend that initiative to him and say to him that I look forward to his warming to it as much as have all
of his predecessors.



I also notice by way of omission in the Speech from the Throne in the necrology the name of my
predecessor Dr. John Wickwire. I want to take a moment to bring to the attention of the House that Dr.
Wickwire who was the member for Queens from 1974 to 1978, who was a very fine gentleman who is well-known across this province in medical circles and much later in his life in political circles, passed away,
quietly, last August in Liverpool. 



Dr. Wickwire began his public life in politics rather later than I think probably any of the rest of us,
in that he ran for the first time at the age of 74. From the ages of 74 to 78, he played a very important role in
this House and particularly with respect to working on matters related to health and medicine. I should say
that it was Dr. Wickwire who pressed many years ago for this building to become accessible to disabled
persons and it was as a result of his urging - albeit shortly after the time that he ceased to be a member here,
when I took his place - that the elevators were installed and so made this building entirely accessible to all
Nova Scotians. That is his monument here, but his monument, I know he would say, is best recognized in the
capacity of Nova Scotians, no matter what their infirmity, to be able to access this democratic Chamber.



Madam Speaker, I have had the opportunity to represent my constituents for some 17 years now. Our
community is one which has an economy which is built on the toil of generations. At least 400 of those years,
some 40 generations are within the time of written record but indeed the aboriginal antecedents of those in
my community who are aboriginals, meld with the mists of prehistoric time and so human settlement and
human endeavour and human activity is a great longevity in my constituency. One of the most important early
written records, one to which I have referred from time to time in this House indeed to which is referenced
by many people who delve into Nova Scotian history is of course, the Diary of Simeon Perkins, a diary which
recounts on almost a day to day basis, with a few gaps here and there, the life of that large colonial town from
about 1760 to around 1810, about a 50 year period in the history of this province. Perkins, of course, was a
member of this Legislature for many years, as well as a colonel in the militia and, of course, he fulfilled other
public functions as well. He was a businessman; he had business arrangements here, in Newfoundland, in the
West Indies, in colonial New England and later, in the United States of America, after our neighbours to the
south decided to leave the family in 1776.



It is very interesting to refer to Perkins’ diary because we find that through that diary written 200-and
some years ago, that he speaks to us. He reminds us that there are some matters which, indeed, never cease
to be of interest to the people of Nova Scotia. He talks to us of the fishery, he speaks of forestry and
agriculture, he speaks of war and peace, he speaks of government, he speaks of religion, he speaks of the arts,
both the healing arts and the performing arts. He speaks to us of social change and economic change, changes
which sometimes seemed imperceptible and changes which other times were direct, dramatic and dislocating.
All of these conditions, from time to time, still prevail. So each and every one of us can learn that we are not
unique in our time but, rather, that we are part of the continuum, the ebb and flow of human life in this
wonderful Province of Nova Scotia.



Indeed, the community celebrations put on throughout my constituency each year reflect these links
with the past; Privateer Days in Queens County, reminding us of the emergence of privateering as a legitimate
activity and a way in which many Nova Scotians, particularly from my community, found to express
themselves in times of war and in a way in which they could pick up the cudgel for king and country and also,
as people with a good, strong New England heritage, hopefully earn a little money to boot.



Gold Rush Days in the Caledonia area remind us of the gold rush activity that took place there in the
latter part of the 1800’s and the gold mining which lasted there up into the 1920’s; Milton Days, as with
Charleston Days, which reminds us of the close affinity of the people of these two communities with the rivers
on which their communities are located, in the case of Milton, on the Mersey and in the case of Charleston,
on the Medway. The Medway River, of course, also being one of Nova Scotia’s fine salmon rivers. Port
Mouton Days remind us of the role of the Loyalists as they spread beyond Shelburne County and into other
parts of Nova Scotia on the South Shore, particularly Port Mouton, with respect to Tarleton’s Rangers, the
British Legion settling there in 1783.



Interestingly, that regiment, which had suffered so terribly at the end of the Revolutionary War and
which had come to be settled in Queens County, experienced further tragedy in May 1784 when a spark
caught the entire village on fire and the people, in order to save themselves, had to wade out into the waters
of Port Mouton to avoid losing their own lives. Those people, some stayed and others left; some went to
Guysborough County where they took the name of their settlement, Guysborough. Of course that name lives
on. Others went to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, one of them being a Sergeant Ganong, one of whose
descendants today operates the Ganong chocolate factory there. An interesting time in the history of our
province.



Of course there is also the Woodsmen’s Competition held every year in Greenfield, an international
competition which draws participants from around the globe and which has become ever more popular and
which reflects the very important forest heritage of my constituency.



How could I mention the events in the constituency and not mention the Blessing of the Fleet, which
is held annually in Port Medway and which is, for the most part, especially these days, a thanksgiving for the
safe return of our fishermen and those who earn their livelihoods on the sea, back to their home parts, but also
a time to remember the tragedies and the lives lost in the past and to remember them in an appropriate fashion
through the service which is held in that port on the first Sunday of every August.



History and human heritage and natural heritage are all vitally important to Queens County. We have
a very fine museum in the Queens County Museum, immediately adjacent to Perkins House, the home of
Simeon Perkins, who kept that diary to which I referred a few moments ago. The museum is currently being
expanded through, largely, the very kind donation of the family of Thomas H. Raddall who, in Dr. Raddall’s
name, have expanded the research centre, moved it down onto the main floor of the museum so that the
growing myriad of people who are interested in genealogical and other historical research in our area can have
due access to it.



Also, and so delightfully and so importantly, in the absolute, utmost perfect detail, Dr. Raddall’s study,
where he did his thinking, where he did his writing, where he entertained so many people who came to share
their stories with him or, indeed, to hear him share his stories with them, has been recreated in that centre,
so that if you want to see and feel exactly how the environment was in which that great Canadian author, the
great internationally known author, worked, then you can do that by visiting this centre which will be opened,
I believe in June.



We, also, of course, have the North Queens Heritage Home, the old Douglas House, which is newer
than Perkins House but reflects the architecture and the lifestyle which was extant in Queens County in the
northern district, as it was then called in the mid- or latter part of the 1800’s. First Settlers Place, in
Greenfield, which has, among other things, a very fine, small, salmon fishing museum and, of course, the old
forge in Milton, which is being run by the Milton Historical Society and which reflects the focal point of
almost all village life throughout Nova Scotia up until, probably, the 1940’s, at least. That was the local
blacksmith shop, and I would invite any of you to come and visit it as you travel in our community throughout
the summer.



Our community is one which enjoys a wealth of architectural heritage. One need only look at the book,
South Shore: Seasoned Timbers, to note that something like one-third of all of the houses which are
referenced in that volume come from my constituency and, for the most part, from the Town of Liverpool and
the Village of Milton. I have often thought that it is so unfortunate that our municipal council has not yet seen
fit to recognize the value of that heritage by enacting an heritage by-law; perhaps they would get on to that
in the immediate future and I would certainly encourage them to do so.



Our natural heritage, of course, like our human heritage, provides us with economic return. We are,
more and more, turning to what is called eco-tourism and I could not help but be pleased when I received a
document from the momentary Minister of the Economic Renewal Agency, Mr. Brown, and in reading the
Mission Statement read that Nova Scotia Nature Tourism is “To encourage nature tourism as a vital
component of the Nova Scotia tourism economy, through initiatives which will foster conservation and
management, sustainable development and use, and increase public awareness of nature tourism resources.”.






I would have to assume, and indeed should be able to assume, that this strategy undertaken by that
minister and by the new Minister of the Economic Renewal Agency will be reflected in a good, strong parks
policy which this government will adopt, consequent to the public hearings which have been held across the
province respecting the setting aside of certain Crown lands as park lands, a report which we anticipate will
be with us very soon. It also must, of course, this economic initiative, provide a balance between protection
between people and profit. Of course, it has been my contention for a very long time that the parks are not for
profit, although one may profit from them in an economic sense, but they are there, essentially, for the
protection of ecological resources and for people to enjoy as protected areas.

 

 

It is impossible to put a price on them for indeed they are priceless places. It is in that understanding
that my constituents, with deep regret, have seen the failure of the provincial government to enact the Thomas
Raddall Provincial Park as a full-fledged park, to find the relatively few dollars in the full scope of things,
which are necessary to open it and make it available, not only to Nova Scotians, but to the travelling public.
It seems to me there is a contradiction between what the Economic Renewal Agency wants to see happen and
what the Minister of Natural Resources is causing not to happen by refusing to expend the dollars which are
required to get this park up and running.



[4:15 p.m.]



We, as Nova Scotians, indeed human beings across this globe, have become more keenly aware of our
natural heritage and the importance of protecting it. One of the great downsides of that, perhaps indeed surely
the only downside is, that in many instances we are coming to love our natural wonders to death. I give you
two examples in this province. One of my own constituency the Kejimkujik Adjunct which was set aside as
a low impact adjunct to Kejimkujik National Park and which has so many people going in now on a daily
basis, virtually year round that it has the potential of having a negative impact on the ecology of the area.



The other one which is far from my constituency, but one in which I have had a great interest for a very
long time, is Cape Split, perhaps one of the most phenomenal geological and ecological sites here in Nova
Scotia, one which is being accessed by more and more people every year and one which is very much in need
of protection. I would urge the government to use every resource it reasonably can muster to find some way,
if not through public dollars, through encouraging one of the many very fine non-governmental organizations,
to acquire that land and to set it aside in perpetuity. And to provide a management plan which will ensure that
by loving it, we do not, as I have said, love it to death.



I do hope that this government will not go down the road that New Brunswick is reported to be
considering, and that is, of privatizing our provincial parks. I cannot think of anything which would be more
detrimental to this province, more detrimental to the natural heritage of this province and to the security of
that natural heritage and to our reputation as Nova Scotians, not only among Canadians, but internationally
as well.



Madam Speaker, our economy today in Queens County, is certainly more sophisticated than it was in
Simeon Perkins time, but it still is essentially resource-based. Forestry continues to play a large, important
and a prominent role in my community. Bowater Mersey Paper Company, producing paper, not only for
Canadian use, but to be sold around the world, as far away as Australia, Asia. Not many people who pick up
newspapers in Florida know that the newsprint that their newspapers are being written on, very often is
newsprint that was produced in Nova Scotia, in my constituency.



The pulp and paper industry across Canada and Queens County is no exception, it is experiencing
significant changes as that industry adjusts to the realities of the new economy. I want to take this as an
opportunity to commend the men and the women who work at Bowater Mersey and to the management of
Bowater Mersey, that they have been able to work together in order to ensure that the impacts of this new
adjustment are as limited with respect to negative impact as they possibly can be.



Of course, we welcome as a partner with Bowater Mersey in the production of the steam which is
absolutely essential to the pulp and paper process, Brooklyn Energy an almost $100 million project which is
currently under construction and which will be completed this year and taken over to provide steam and to
replace the old steam plant at Bowater Mersey.



The sawmilling industry is one which fascinates me and I think fascinates any Nova Scotians who
come from rural communities because for the most part, the sawmilling industry in Nova Scotia is still locally
owned. In my constituency, the two largest sawmills, the two which operate on a year-round basis, are both
family-owned, have been family-owned for many generations - indeed, for over 100 years - and are there to
prove that Nova Scotians know how to do business, they know how to survive in tough times and they know
how to do well in good times and in those good times put money aside to help them through the tough times
when they should arise again.



My greatest concern for this industry is not the capacity of the people in it to be able to operate their
businesses in the sawmills themselves, but rather their capacity to continue to attract saw logs in order to feed
their mills and thereby supply their customers. We are facing a potentially very difficult time in the forests
of Nova Scotia with respect to lack of wood fibre and certainly the eclipse of the federal-provincial agreement,
even though, as the minister would try to convince us, we are actually only in a clean-up year, is one matter
which should be of great concern to us.



I couldn’t help but notice in that respect a news clipping which references the current Minister of
Natural Resources. This is a news clipping from February 12, 1992. It says, Farmers Enthusiastic About
GATT Talks and it quotes the now Minister of Natural Resources when he was not involved in public life as
saying that: it is time for Canadians to put pressure on the government, the federal government must secure
a fair and equitable deal for the future of the agri-food industry in Canada. Well, I say to that minister that
it is now time for him to put pressure on the federal government for the sake of the forestry industry here in
Nova Scotia. That gentleman was very loud when he spoke of the need for government to act with respect to
the agricultural industry when he was a private citizen. He has not been nearly so vociferous with respect to
pursuing a successful new forestry agreement with the federal government since he has been given the
opportunity to stand at the levers of power in this province. Those levers of power are absolutely useless unless
they are exercised and it is time for that minister to exercise those levers of power in the interests of the forest
industry in this province.



Our community was established, in large measure, because it is sited on a harbour and that harbour
continues to play an important role in the economy of Queens County. We have a fine marine repair facility
on our harbour and it also does a great deal of light and medium manufacturing. It is vitally important to our
community. The government has always given appropriate support to that industry in the past and I indeed
encourage this government to do so in the present and for the future, however long its future may be.



That harbour had been badly silted through the years and in large measure as the result of
encouragement by His Honour Lloyd Crouse when he was our Member of Parliament and more recently by
Peter McCreath when Peter was our Member of Parliament, the Government of Canada embarked on a very
aggressive and very ambitious program to bring that harbour up to snuff. That program is coming close to
completion and we are all indeed very hopeful that it will serve as a catalyst not only to provide greater
opportunities for Steel and Engine Products, the ship repair marine facility on our waterfront but also to
Mersey Sea Foods Ltd., which shares the harbour albeit on the other side, with that industry.



The fishery of course continues to be important in my constituency. We look forward to aquaculture
development. We have entrepreneurs in the aquaculture sector involved in the growing of mussels and oysters,
particularly in the Port Medway area, and finfish is taking on a new importance. We’ve had people who have
been involved in raising rainbows as well and we also have people who are very interested in the harvesting
of sea urchins.



Interestingly, again one of the things to which Perkins refers and which is still an object of the
affection of those who garden, the collection of what Perkins called sea manure, storm-cast seaweed which
can be used as a tremendous natural fertilizer for gardens. We have now a new company in my constituency
which is doing very well with respect to developing that kind of business.



While the province’s role in the fisheries is relatively limited, it has, nonetheless, a very important role
to play. Nowhere is that role more important than in the provision of assistance through the Fisheries Loan
Board to fishers in this province who are boat owners and who, from time to time, find it necessary to replace
an old and worn out and no longer safe vessel with a new vessel which will provide them with safety at sea
and a better work place for them. After all, their fishing boats are their work places, just as this Chamber is
ours.



I notice a difference between the way in which the Farm Loan Board treats its clientele and how the
Fisheries Loan Board treats its clientele. I would urge this minister to make an adjustment which I think now
is timely. It is and has been the practice at the Farm Loan Board for a very long time to allow, for example,
the acquisition and the purchase of quotas to be part of a loan made by the Farm Loan Board to a farmer
acquiring that quota.



I think it is now time for the Fisheries Loan Board to change its policy and to give opportunities to
those who borrow through the Fisheries Loan Board an opportunity to include within that loan the purchase
of the licenses that are necessary to go with a vessel when a vessel is acquired. Surely in this day and age, that
is an appropriate security. That kind of additional opportunity should be extended to the fishers in this
province.



Of course, marketing will always be vitally important to Nova Scotia. The Minister of Fisheries knows
very well that he has on his staff a very fine group, a dedicated group of people who, although not large, in
a very innovative way give tremendous, indeed invaluable assistance, especially to the smaller companies in
this province who want to market their produce throughout not only North America but, indeed, the world.
We should never forget that our industry here in Nova Scotia, particularly in southwestern Nova Scotia,
because that is the only place where the groundfish fishery is still active in Atlantic Canada, is still a world-class fishery. We must not lose our market niche there.



Several changes which seem to be proposed by the Government of Canada, changes which I would
hope this government will militate against: suggestions that small craft harbours may begin levying charges
against fishermen for wharfage; charges for undertaking scientific activity, the results of which do not benefit
solely the fishermen but, indeed, benefit all of Canada and so should, in my view, be spread out over the tax
base of this country, not paid for out of the pockets of the fishermen themselves; the possibility perhaps of
inspection charges; the demise of the Fisheries Vessel Insurance Plan which has always performed well, which
has been actuarially sound and which has provided a good insurance plan for Nova Scotia fishermen, as well
as fishermen in other provinces. Unfortunately, it appears that the federal government is going to scuttle it.



Then, of course, there is the question of TAGS and its effectiveness in this province. In my own
constituency, I have seen a number of very unfortunate cases where people who, in my view, were just exactly
the kind of people that TAGS was supposed to help, were, in fact, rejected by the TAGS Program. It seems
that no matter how many good, solid arguments are put forward on behalf of those people, arguments from
former employers, arguments from federal and provincial representatives, that the bureaucracy has been given
very definitive orders and that these people, even though they very clearly are the very ones who TAGS is
supposed to help, are allowed to fall through the cracks.



[4:30 p.m.]



Madam Speaker, tourism continues to play a very important role in my constituency, our referenced
parks, our natural and human heritage, our museums and our festivals. We must provide greater opportunity
for people to do things when they are in our community and our tourism sector is working very hard to
accomplish that. We are adding to our accommodations stock in Queens County each year - this year with the
new and very fine, fully up-to-date accommodations at the Quarter Deck at Summerville Beach. One can only
hope that this is only one of many such initiatives that we will see exercised here in the immediate and the
mid-term and long-term future.



The Bluenose II continues to be an object of affection for my constituents and we certainly hope that
all of the questions swirling about Bluenose II like a South Shore fog will lift and we will have all of the
information we need in order to understand exactly what the situation is respecting her out on the table so that
Nova Scotians can once again look to her as an icon representing the very best of our marine heritage, of our
fishing heritage and, once again, will be seen by people throughout Canada and New England and further
afield, to be representing the very best of Nova Scotia.



Madam Speaker, while my community continues to be a good place to live, we nonetheless are very
concerned in my community that government policy, I would hope inadvertently, is indeed shredding the
fabric of rural Nova Scotia. I note that the Premier must be concerned about this because I heard on a newscast
when the current Minister of the Economic Renewal Agency was sworn in that he wanted this minister to pay
attention to the development of rural Nova Scotia. That tells me that this government understands that many
of the things that it has done to date in the last two years have been very much not in the good interests of
rural Nova Scotians.



There is a great danger that if the government does not shift gears, that our rural communities, our
smaller towns and our villages will be turned into economic backwaters. People in the small communities
require services. It is only a penetrating glimpse into the obvious to say that people will be attracted to
communities which provide a high level of services and people will only be prepared to stay in communities
which provide those high level of services. When those services are removed, people move and they do not
move into the communities from which services have been removed, they move out of those communities.



I think, for example, of our hospital, Queens General. Last year, we had to mount a vigorous campaign
in order to avoid a downsizing which would have been absolutely devastating for the provision of health care
in our community. I think how important that hospital is to us with respect to health care, but how important
the spinoffs are that come out of the very presence of that hospital functioning at its current level of activity
in our community. For it is because that hospital is there that we are able to attract the numbers of doctors that
we have in our community with the variety of skills that they bring to it, both as general practitioners and as
specialists, all of those people in our communities who serve as nurses and other health care workers
associated with that hospital.



Of course, also, one cannot think of hospitals without thinking of ambulance services. We have enjoyed
very fine ambulance services in our community and we fear for the future, not knowing what the
determination of this Minister of Health will be with respect to the provision of those ambulance services in
the future. Will we be as well served? We do not know and we wait with bated breath for this minister to tell
us what decision he is going to make in that respect.



I, as many will know, spent many years in the classrooms of this province, most of them in Queens
County. It was, in part, as a result of my interest in education that I read with interest the government White
Paper, Education Horizons. While this White Paper speaks of education and speaks of education
administration and speaks of the configuration of school boards and speaks of things like site-based
management, in going through that document as many times as I have, I have yet to find anything in this
document which tells me - as a person who knows something about what goes on in the classrooms of Nova
Scotia - that this document, whether implemented in full or in part, will make one, single difference to the
quality of education in the classrooms in Nova Scotia. I say that not only as a person who has been a
schoolteacher but also a person who is a parent and whose children have gone through the public school
system right here in Nova Scotia.



I ask myself - as do all of my constituents who have an interest in the educational system and all
constituents should and indeed most do - what is it that people truly want from their educational system? Do
they want site-based management? Do they want elected school boards? Do they want school boards that
represent large areas, modestly sized areas, small areas? What is it that they want? The answer is plain and
simple. Whether the students themselves, or their parents and other members of their families, all of them
want the same thing, they want an education which will provide them the wherewithal upon graduation to
be able to eke out a living here in this Province of Nova Scotia.



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. LEEFE: Thank you. That is the bottom line and that bottom line is not addressed in this report
and until that bottom line is addressed by this government or by a future government the people in the
province will have a very uneasy feeling about the capacity of the educational system to meet the needs of now
and the immediate future.






You have seen the removal from many of the communities, mine included, of court facilities, of justice
related functions and while it may be said by those in Halifax that these services can be provided equally as
well if centralized, it is certainly the view of those of us who live in the communities from which these kinds
of services are being removed that they claw away from us another important government presence and other
important function which has been played out in our communities.



Each and every one of us who has these kinds of functions being lifted out of their communities now,
with respect to justice, should ask ourselves, will we be able to attract, among others, lawyers into our
communities to practise and to work and to play out their roles as citizens and to provide the kind of
leadership that so many people in the legal profession have provided in our communities? Or will the future,
as the justice system centralizes in these regional centres result in those people instead gravitating to those
regional centres and thereby causing our communities to be the poorer for it? I am very much afraid that that
will be the case.



Roads continue to be of vital importance to every rural community and mine is no exception. I would
encourage the Minister of Transportation and Communications to get on with improvements to Highway No.
103. I would bring to his attention that Highway No. 103 in fact, is completed only to the west of Bridgewater,
and from there through to Yarmouth County it is completed only in bits and pieces; large segments of it being
only upgraded, Trunk 3, and I would encourage the minister to move very quickly to completing Highway No.
103.



I would also encourage the minister to continue an initiative which was begun with our government
and which he continued - and I thank him for that - and that is with respect to the continuing upgrading of
Trunk 8 which links Liverpool to Annapolis Royal. I know that I don’t have to impress upon this minister the
absolutely vital role that good highways play as economic links between our communities and the world
market place; he lives in a rural community and he understands that very well and so we look to him for
assistance and leadership in achieving good strong links between our communities and the international
markets which we serve.



The Minister of Municipal Affairs and I have had the opportunity to work cooperatively with respect
to the question of amalgamation of the two municipal units in my own constituency. I am pleased to say that
as a result of an internal initiative through both the Liverpool Town Council and the Council of the
Municipality of the County of Queens an independent - that is independent from the provincial government -
study was undertaken by Mr. James Sapp, a very prominent, well-known, and highly respected business
person in our community and by Mr. Harold Dobson another very highly respected gentleman in our
community, a former President and General Manager of Bowater Mersey Paper Company Limited, to lay out
a blueprint for the amalgamation of our two communities.



One of the points that they made, perhaps the most important point of all with respect to our two
communities, is that by those two councils amalgamating there is not a potential, but a real saving to be
realized of thousands and thousands of dollars each and every day. Those are dollars that will be saved by the
ratepayers in the community.



I could not help but notice, and here again the minister will be amused by this remark, probably more
than those of whom I speak, but in last week’s Liverpool Advance, the Mayor of Liverpool and the Warden
of the Municipality of the County of Queens were thinking out loud about all of the downsides of
amalgamation and questioning the validity of the report prepared by Mr. Sapp and by Mr. Dobson. It struck
me that what we had in this article really should not have been on the front news page, but rather should have
been on the sports page because I think the mayor and the warden are vying for the 1995 Amalgamation Back
Pedalling Championship. (Interruption)



AN HON. MEMBER: With whom?



MR. LEEFE: With each other in fact.



Mr. Speaker, regionalization from the Halifax perspective is centralization from the regional
perspective. All we need to do is to look at the Graham Royal Commission which wisely was shelved by the
Regan Government to understand that.



The loss of government services is taken by the people in the community which loses those and indeed
by the investors who live in those communities or who may be looking at those communities as potential for
investment. The government does not have faith in the future of the community being abandoned.



We do not want to be a bedroom community or any other community in this province. We want to
provide a good, sound, solid household with all of the services that every community household should be able
to provide to the citizens in our community family. We cannot do that if we keep having these services clawed
out and centered in a few regional centres around the province. For indeed the clawing out of those services
leads to a loss of pride, it leads to a loss of heart, it leads to a loss of sense of community, it leads to a loss of
volunteerism, and of course, leads to a loss of people. Because people who are not prepared to live without
those services available will move out and those who might otherwise look at our communities will not move
in, but indeed will move elsewhere. Not only our communities, our rural communities, our small towns and
our villages are losers, but indeed all Nova Scotia loses when this happens.



With respect to rural Nova Scotia, I cannot help but reflect on another matter which is of vital interest
to my constituents and that is the whole matter of gun registration. I speak specifically of the registration of
long guns. I believe that what we have in the phenomenon of the bill which is before the House of Commons
today is nothing more or less than an all-out assault on responsible rural dwellers in this province and every
province of Canada by a federal minister who understands solely and only downtown Toronto.



I say, Madam Speaker, that this minister has got it all wrong if he thinks that by demanding an
expensive and cumbersome and especially time consuming procedure for those who must undertake the
registration which will probably include the rural police forces which in most places in Nova Scotia means
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, that crimes will not be prevented but that in fact the enforcers of the law
will spend more time doing paperwork and have less time to spend at preventing time from occurring.



[4:45 p.m.]



Madam Speaker, what I think the federal minister should be doing instead of registering long guns and
spending $80 million to $85 million in that pursuit, is to take that kind of money or at least a significant part
of it, and instead of penalizing good, honest men and women across this country who are responsible long gun
owners, use those dollars to provide education to prevent crime, to provide for rehabilitation for those who
have been offenders, to provide for increased policing in our communities. Yes, I agree with more stringent
penalties and I agree with more meaningful sentences and every one of my constituents does. But do not hang
it on the backs of the good long gun owners who are good responsible citizens and who have demonstrated
that fact right across this country.



Madam Speaker, I want to take a moment to speak on consultation. We have often asked the
government, which made consultation one of the underlying themes of its election campaign only a few years
ago, and yet consultation is what we have seen, at best, only sporadically. In fact, I would have to say that the
one good example of consultation came from the Minister of the Environment in the way in which he went
about consulting in advance of bringing in the environmental legislation which we passed here in this House.



I look at, for example, the whole matter of casino gambling and the lack of consultation on that. That
lack of consultation, in fact, resulted in the kinds of very unedifying cartoons, such as that which appeared
in the Daily News today, April 4th. Tales from the Patronage Crypt, appointments so blatant they make your
skin crawl. I refer to that, of course, with respect to the appointment of two well-known and well-placed
Liberals to in excess of $100,000 a year jobs. They certainly won when they stepped up to the roulette wheel,
didn’t they, Madam Speaker? Very little consultation with respect to that and, indeed, when the consultation
did take place, the government chose to ignore it because it did not get the answer that it wanted.



We find much the same phenomenon in education, the government issuing a White Paper, a White
Paper by definition, which is supposed to reflect government policy and then going out and telling the people
why this was going to be done for them rather than going around and asking the people what they wanted to
have done and then constructing the White Paper.



The whole matter of the way in which health reform has taken place from the top down and then, of
course, with respect to jobs, dare we mention and, indeed, can any of us remember, those in the front benches
would prefer that we did not, the 30-60-90 initiative of so many months and, indeed, now two years ago,
which was supposed to result in the creation of all kinds of jobs here in Nova Scotia. For those on the front
benches who would claim that those jobs are here and are here because of that 30-60-90 initiative, we should
only take a look at the documentation provided by the politically neutral Atlantic Provinces Economic
Council, which stated, very recently, that Nova Scotia was down - not up, but down - 14,400 jobs as a result
of the recession.



This has not been a job creation strategy; it has been a smoke-screen creation strategy. Nowhere has
this been more evident and nowhere is this more alarming and nowhere is this sadder than in the failure of
this government to provide initiatives to create employment opportunities for the young people in this
province who are finding it necessary to leave here in droves. As always, the ones that leave are among the
very best of those, those who have received the best education and they cannot find employment here. At the
very best, if they can find employment, almost always it is under-employment.



Not long ago I had the opportunity to speak with a seminar class at the Dalhousie School of Resource
and Environmental Studies. There were 25 young people in the class, all bright, eager, young Nova Scotians
who would prefer to be able to build their lives here. I asked the question, how many of you who are
graduating have good job prospects in Nova Scotia. There was a cynical snicker around the table. Of all those
around the table, the only one that I can recall having a secure job prospect was a young man who had to move
to British Columbia. That bespeaks ill of the very weak and indeed futile efforts of this government to provide
opportunity to the young men and women of this province.



I would remind the government of a statement made by a futurist who visited Nova Scotia just about
a year ago, David Foot. I think Mr. Foot spoke at the World Trade and Convention Centre. Mr. Foot had this
to say, and these are words that we should all remember; I often say if you don’t create jobs for your young
people, they either leave or they tear your country apart. Well, the young people who grew up in Nova Scotia
are not anarchists and they are not prepared to tear this province apart. But by golly, Madam Speaker, they
are leaving and that is a great tragedy for all of us.



Madam Speaker, in closing I want to speak a little bit about this place which I hold very dear and
which I think basically most Nova Scotians hold very dear, this Parliament of ours here, this House of
Assembly of ours in this capital City of Halifax. I speak of a government which I think suffers from a kind
of political schizophrenia, a government which spoke in Opposition of broadening democratic opportunities,
which came into this House in the very first session in which it was government, passed legislation which
required two sessions of the Legislature annually and which then, beginning last year, it appears and perhaps
this year, will continue unilaterally to change the rules and to reduce legitimate opportunities for the
Opposition to question the government on the business of the people.



Madam Speaker, that is wrong and Nova Scotians believe that to be wrong. At the end of the day, the
electorate will be quite capable of deciding if, in fact, the government has delivered them the best of times or
the worst of times.



Our most singularly important function is to serve our constituents, not our Parties, even though the
Party system is strong in Nova Scotia. Edmond Burke, a noted British parliamentarian, stated that a Member
of Parliament owes only his good judgment to his electorate. In the final analysis, what else do we honestly
have to offer which could be superior to this covenant? Madam Speaker, it is because of that duty which I do
my best to exercise, that I will not be supporting the motion when it is put to the House. Thank you.
(Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.



MR. RICHARD HUBBARD: Madam Speaker, I am honoured once again to rise on behalf of the good
people of the constituency of Yarmouth. The Speech from the Throne is an important document in outlining
both accomplishment and future goals. Much has been accomplished and there is still much to do.



Madam Speaker, our duties as MLAs mean that we are often away from our families a large part of
the time. The sacrifice made by our families often goes unrecognized. Without the support of my wife,
Barbara, I would only be half as effective as an MLA.



I wish also to offer my congratulations to the Honourable Lieutenant Governor on his first Throne
Speech. I would also be remiss if I did not congratulate those members of our caucus who will be charged to
perform new duties in government.



I am confident that our new Deputy Speaker, the member for Bedford-Fall River, will bring great
honour to her position. Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment. I know you
will carry out your duties with great care and diligence.



In my capacity as MLA over the last two years, I have seen great change. Most of it, I am pleased to
say, is for the better. The future of my riding is unlimited. The people of southwestern Nova Scotia are strong
independent and enjoy the challenges of the future while respecting the past. I am sure in these respects they
are not dissimilar to people in Canso or Sydney or Amherst.



Even with the downturn in the fishery, there is still something to be proud of. The fishery in my area
is diversified and not dependent on a single species. Aquaculture holds great promise. There is a future in the
fishery, Madam Speaker. The fishery is an important sector in my region. The relative stability in our fishery
can be a lesson to other sectors that are subject to boom and bust cycles. Diversity is the key to stability. We
must diversify the entire Nova Scotia economy so that it can meet the challenges of the global market place.



Madam Speaker, the Port of Yarmouth has yet to be developed to its full commercial potential. Our
position on the Atlantic seaboard should enable us to take advantage of the New England market. We must
continue to foster our historic ties to this area of the United States.



The future of the Yarmouth ferry is important to all Nova Scotians. The ferry brings a large number
of tourist dollars and I urge that its future be secured. The Yarmouth ferry may bring passengers to our area,
but they don’t always stay. The Town of Yarmouth is taking steps to find ways to keep tourists in Yarmouth
which, in 1994, had a bed occupancy rate of 41 per cent.



Major waterfront improvements have been underway in recent years and more are planned. Boardwalks
can turn eyesores into assets. Boardwalks bring people and businesses to the waterfront. I am proud that our
government is able to contribute to such an important project. There is still a high potential for the growth
of tourism in Yarmouth.



Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased that the Dominion Textiles Inc. site is being converted into an
industrial mall. An investment by ACOA will result in some 100 jobs as the mall is developed. This is the type
of project that will yield results in the area of jobs one at a time. Small and medium-sized businesses are the
key to growth in Yarmouth.



Mr. Speaker, I would now like to draw your attention to health care in our region. The Western
Regional Hospital in Yarmouth is a model of regional efficiency in health care. A recent announcement of
a $40 million expansion of the facility is a testament to this fact. I look forward to improvements in home care
and improved emergency services. New world-class ambulances will be a welcome addition to our first-rate
medical system in this province. I am confident that changes to our health care system introduced by the
honourable Minister of Health, Ron Stewart, will ensure quality, universal access medicine for the people of
Nova Scotia.



Mr. Speaker, I have several concerns about the transportation links to southwestern Nova Scotia. The
future of Yarmouth Airport must be ensured. Air travel is as vital to an economy as roads or information
technology. I would urge the federal government to ensure the future of the Yarmouth facility. The Marine
Atlantic connection to Maine is also a concern of mine. As I have stated, this is a vital link to the New
England tourist market for the people of southwestern Nova Scotia. If privatized, I would urge the federal
government to ensure that the service be maintained by any prospective buyer.






Mr. Speaker, the future of Nova Scotia is a little clearer and a little more focused than it was before
we took office. Nova Scotia had been plodding along in the dark while New Brunswick was engaging in
changes to their system that are now reaping benefits. Here in Nova Scotia it takes the foresight of a Leader
like our Premier to bring us out of the darkness. Despite the changes and reforms our government has
undertaken there is still an urge on the part of some, for example Opposition members, to bury their head in
the sand and pretend that all was okay until our present Premier took office.



[5:00 p.m.]



The way government does business in our province has changed dramatically for the better. A new
seniors’ housing complex, recently opened in Yarmouth, will for the first time have an around-the-clock
medical person on site. This will enable seniors to enjoy a level of independence comparable to anyone in
society. Without the foresight of the former Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, the Honourable Guy
Brown, this would not have been possible.



The new professionalism of the Department of Transportation and Communication can be attributed
to the effective administration by the honourable minister, Richie Mann. In fact, one particular road in my
riding was prepared for paving. This may not sound like a big thing but this dirt road was prepared for paving
some 15 years ago. It is now being paved because the Department of Transportation now priorizes road
projects. Certainly, a welcome change when compared to previous practice.



Mr. Speaker, I also want to commend the minister’s department for responding quickly to the needs
of a young Yarmouth County boy who has a disability. A sign was provided to caution motorists that a young
boy, with a disability that requires him to use a walker, may be walking with this parents along the highway.
This gives the boy and his family a greater sense of security as they travel along the highway, and that family
was extremely pleased by the way.



These are just examples of the multitude of talent in our Premier’s Cabinet. It is a positive indication
of his leadership abilities to attract such talent and a commitment to making Nova Scotia a better place to live.



Mr. Speaker, now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand. The time now is to boldly confront the
previously non-confrontable. I know things are now changing for the better. Educational change, as proposed
in the White Paper, includes changes that will ensure that more money is spent on students and not on
administration; health reform means disease prevention and an end to over-prescribing to our seniors; and
budgetary restraint means we will not be brought down by an uncontrollable debt.



The future looks even better. Information technology will ensure that places like Yarmouth can
compete with anybody anywhere on the planet. The Southwest Shore Development Authority has been
established in order to coordinate an economic development strategy for southwestern Nova Scotia. Seafood
exports were a whopping $750 million last year, outstripping all other products.



Mr. Speaker, the achievements of this government have been immeasurable. The achievements yet to
come will ensure a Liberal Government for many years to come. This is no time to rest on our laurels. More
action is required on the part of all Nova Scotians. Many have made sacrifices and I am proud to call myself
a Nova Scotian and a Canadian because of them.



I would also like to take this opportunity to list some of the triumphs of our government throughout
Nova Scotia: SHL Systemhouse, 190 jobs for Cape Breton; CIBC Call Centre, 525 jobs in Halifax; ECI non-latex surgical gloves, 100 jobs in Bridgewater; Trenton Works contract, 750 jobs; Stora Forest stabilization,
2,000 jobs saved; Michelin expansion in Waterville and Granton, 4,000 jobs maintained; Shelburne Marine
contract, 100 jobs; and in my riding the Domtex site renewal saved 40 jobs from moving to the United States
and has the potential to create many more.



Mr. Speaker, these are just some of the accomplishments of a dynamic government. We have a
government that is taking an active role in creating and maintaining jobs. The changes we have seen in the
past year have been rapid and unsettling for some. Change and action is equalling results.



I know in my soul that the many changes we have undertaken will ensure the future of our children
and our children’s children here in Nova Scotia. That is why I am supporting our government’s Throne
Speech. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, God bless you all.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I started to rise and I thought the member opposite was
preparing to speak.



First of all, Mr. Speaker, let me just say that for 13 years in this House it has been my privilege to
respond to the Speech from the Throne in my capacity as Leader of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party.
That is a post that I have occupied with great satisfaction and pride throughout all of those years, an
opportunity to reply to the Speech from the Throne that I have always relished.



It is with no less satisfaction, Mr. Speaker, that I rise today in this House for the first time, to address
the Throne Speech in my capacity as a full-time member of the Legislature for Halifax Fairview. I think many
members are aware that throughout most of the 13 years that I have been in this House I have, in fact,
represented Halifax Chebucto. As a result of the boundary realignments that took place just prior to the 1993
election, I sought re-election in the constituency of Halifax Fairview. That has resulted at this time in my
having the opportunity to represent about one-third of the constituents whom I previously represented in
Halifax Chebucto but now, in my new constituency, find myself representing for the first time since the 1993
election, the many new constituents of Halifax Fairview who comprise about two-thirds of that constituency.



I just want to say at the first opportunity I have had in the context of the Address in Reply to the
Speech from the Throne since I became a full-time member, that I very much look forward to continuing to
serve my constituents to the very best of my ability. If the last six months since I moved to the back bench is
any indication, Mr. Speaker, I don’t find that I am any less able to address the concerns of my constituents
from this corner of the House than I was from the front bench. It is a privilege that I very much welcome and
appreciate.



Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the new acting Leader of the New Democratic Party on his very
fine response to the Speech from the Throne, which he gave in this House on Friday. It has been my privilege
over the last 10 years, when I did occupy the position of Leader, to enjoy a collegial relationship with the
member for Sackville-Cobequid who was always there to support me, as Leader, when I needed that support,
which was all the time. It is now my pleasure to do my best to reciprocate from my new position in the back
bench. I look forward to continuing in that capacity.



Mr. Speaker, before moving to address some issues of particular concern, I want to add my voice to
those that have already expressed tribute and paid respect to the several former members of the Legislature,
who have passed away in the last year and also a number of community leaders who were identified in the
Speech from the Throne for their outstanding contribution to Nova Scotians throughout their lifetime.



If I may, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make particular mention of a couple of those who were, indeed,
personal friends of mine and also who provided a great deal of inspiration to me over the years, in the
community-based activities in which I have been involved throughout most of my adult lifetime. I refer
particularly to Johanna Oosterveld, Yvon Deveau, J.K. Bell and Randy Conners, who were mentioned in the
Speech from the Throne, I think very appropriately.



I also want, Mr. Speaker, to say that I am very aware that there have been many others who have
provided endless amounts of leadership, contributing to community life in many ways, who have been lost
to their families and their communities over the last year. It seems particularly appropriate on this occasion
for me to make mention today of Glenda Cooper, who served the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour for 29
years and whose funeral this afternoon, the Leader of the New Democratic Party, appropriately, attended.
Because Glenda Cooper, in addition to being a long-time colleague of ours, also was a constituent of the
member for Sackville-Cobequid and an active participant, both in the labour movement and the New
Democratic Party.



Mr. Speaker, I think that it may be difficult for us to appreciate how incredible it is that Glenda Cooper
served in that capacity from the age of 16, actually, for 29 years and in many of those early years, as a loyal
servant of the labour movement and, in particular, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour. It would have been
at a time when far fewer women were involved in the labour struggles in the kind of prominent position which
she occupied. I think she was, throughout all of those years, in addition to being a very devoted family
member with a young son of whom she was justly proud, also, in the broad social democratic struggles in this
province and it is with great sadness that I, today, publicly make mention of Glenda Cooper’s very premature
and untimely death from cancer that has occurred just this week.



Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you in your continuing role as Speaker of this House and, of
course, to welcome the new Deputy Speaker, who has been appointed since we last sat. I know that she has,
before entering this Chamber, had extensive experience in the municipal political arena, as well as in the post
of President of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.



I guess I make particular mention of that today because I think there is a great deal of concern and
anxiety, frankly, about the fact that the federal government in its wholesale slashing and cutting of a great
many important Canadian institutions, has basically put out of existence the Canadian Advisory Council on
the Status of Women, causing a great deal of concern about whether this government will see fit to follow suit.
In so many ways, the Liberal Government of Nova Scotia has simply embraced, wholesale, the cut and slash
agenda of the federal government and, I think, uncritically and unwisely taken a very short-sighted view about
what constitutes a cost to the public purse and what constitutes an investment in the future.



I think the new Deputy Speaker of this House would very much agree with me from her own direct
involvement in the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and from watching the excellent work that they
have done over the years since their formation in the mid-1970’s, that it is critically important that we not only
retain the Advisory Council on the Status of Women in this province but given the fact that there now will
no longer be a federal advisory council and part of the rationale for that, having been stated as the federal
government view that these programs and services and advocacy measures should be closer to the community
then I hope this government will recognize the importance of strengthening the Advisory Council and
maintaining the kind of independent role of advocate and informed critic that the Advisory Council has
occupied over the years.



[5:15 p.m.]



I again would note that the Minister of Justice, here in the House today, once again pledged this
government’s support for a comprehensive strategy to deal with the virtual epidemic of family violence that
has occurred not just in this province but across this country in recent years and I hope that he will be among
those that will recognize the importance of the role the independent Advisory Council on the Status of Women
can and must play in the continuing development of an effective strategy to eliminate family violence in our
midst.



I think it is fair to say that the Throne Speech delivered very ably by the new Lieutenant Governor last
week in this House - and I hold him responsible in no way for the contents of the Throne Speech - but I think
it is fair to say that the Throne Speech was at best very thin and really vacuous. I don’t think anybody expects
for the Throne Speech to be a detailed extensive document with all of the t’s crossed and i’s dotted in terms
of all of the government’s plans for what it is intending to do in this session and throughout the year but I
think it has to be notable that although the government saw fit to introduce a Throne Speech in which it
congratulated itself enthusiastically for the achievements of the past year that it certainly notably omitted any
reference to a number of things that one would have thought would actually be showcased by this government.



Given the amount of time and attention and resources that this government has consumed and devoted
over the last year for example, to the start-up of its casinos, it surely is significant that the government didn’t
even see fit to mention its pro-gambling, pro-casino policies that have been advanced over the past year in
this Throne Speech, which saw fit to identify so many other of its proud achievements. Personally, Mr.
Speaker, I don’t have any trouble understanding why this government would not choose to draw attention to
this, in my view very short-sighted and perverse notion of economic development but it surely is significant
that the government omitted any reference whatsoever to what they expended a great deal of time and energy
and resources in the last year, in defiance of the wishes of Nova Scotians, in rolling forward with their pro-casino agenda.



Some times what is in the speech from the Throne is actually at least as significant in terms of its
omissions as it is in terms of what is actually contained within the speech itself. I think that it is appropriate
to just set the stage for what the government has seen as really significant to go back a couple of days prior
to the introduction of this Speech from the Throne to reconsider the proud claims that the Minister of Finance
made when he appeared before the Dartmouth Chamber of Commerce.



I do not quite know how this tradition has gotten established. I do not really recall how far back it goes,
but certainly a number of years in a row I can recall, and perhaps through at least three Premiers in my time
in this House, I can recall that there is something of a practice, if not a tradition, that has developed where
the Minister of Finance, just prior to the opening of the House and just prior to introducing the annual budget,
goes before the Dartmouth Chamber of Commerce to really give an accounting to the business community
of what the government feels are its priorities and its main achievements and talk about where the government
is headed.



It surely, Mr. Speaker, is chilling if one considers the pride with which the Minister of Finance
announced that Nova Scotia is actually leading the Atlantic Provinces in spending control and, further, that
Nova Scotia is probably leading the nation in spending cuts because, and these were his exact words, program
spending increases in Atlantic Canada over the past three years have been only half of the national average.
Well, now, if one is so totally and completely preoccupied with the deficit to the absolute exclusion of the
implications for massive cuts in public spending, then I suppose it makes sense that the Minister of Finance
would say, we are proud that we have inflicted the greatest amount of pain and misery on our citizens as any
province in this country has inflicted on their citizens in our wholesale embracing of the corporate agenda.



Mr. Speaker, I do not think there is much basis for believing that Nova Scotians think that a total and
exclusive preoccupation with the financial deficit is a very farsighted policy. I think there is every reason to
believe that Nova Scotians consider it, at least, as much of a priority to be concerned about what kind of health
deficit, what kind of human deficit, what kind of environmental deficit we are creating in the process of
congratulating ourselves here in Nova Scotia as being the government that has engaged in the most extensive,
the most dramatic, the most extreme of all of the cuts in spending of any province in Canada.



I think, Mr. Speaker, that time will show that Nova Scotians thought they were making a very different
choice when they elected the Savage Government and the reason they thought they were making a different
choice is because when the Liberal Party with its then Leader John Savage went to the public in 1993, what
they said is that is not the way to deal with the fiscal crisis in Nova Scotia. That is not the way to invest in our
future.



What they said was there is a different way and that different way is to recognize that one has to invest,
that one has to be prepared to develop a different approach to the economy and, in fact, told Nova Scotians
that they had already an economic strategy ready to put into fast forward in order to ensure a level of job
creation and economic growth in this province that would begin to get us out of the financial mess that we
were in.



That is why, Mr. Speaker, I think it was chilling for Nova Scotians to see a 180 degree turn from those
commitments made and once again in this Speech from the Throne, the government has made it clear what
its priorities are. In the words of the Throne Speech itself, “The new economy is largely focused on
technology.”. Well, truer words were never spoken. It is certainly clear that the new economy as far as this
government is concerned is not focused on people and our human resources, nor is the new economic
development strategy what it was promised to be, namely, a new priority given to community economic
development as the engine of growth in the economy.



At best, Mr. Speaker, any one who has analyzed where the dollars have gotten spent; any one who has
familiarized themselves with what the real priorities of this government have been in the Economic Renewal
Agency and every other department of government, has come to the same conclusion that this government’s
commitment to community economic development in any meaningful sense simply does not exist, that it is
token at best and that it barely goes beyond the uttering of the words as if it is some kind of mantra without
there being the solid follow through in terms of resources that would need to be allocated if community
economic development were truly intended to be the new engine of economic growth.



Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech talks about preparing our young people for the future. Yet there is
virtually no acknowledgment in this Throne Speech of the desperately high continuing levels of
unemployment among youth. There is no acknowledgement of the reality that tuition fees are continuing to
rise, with the consequence that more and more students are virtually blocked from access to our post-secondary institutions and for those students who are able to enter post-secondary institutions, that the quality
of the education that they are receiving is being eroded in a couple of very evident ways. The quality of the
education that they are able to gain from the experience in far too many cases is being eroded because so many
of those youth are forced to be studying while they also are working at jobs, very often jobs that are poorly paid
and jobs that create chaos in their lives because of the part-time unorganized nature of their work hours and
so on, so their attention is not able to be on their studies in the same sort of concerted way that would be the
case if they weren’t faced with these crippling high tuition fees.



Mr. Speaker, it is all very well to mouth words about how important preparing young people for the
future is but if there is no recognition of the problems that already exist, then it is very unlikely that Nova
Scotians are going to see the government moving to address those problems. As I have already indicated
earlier this afternoon, in the attempt to get support for a resolution that would allow us to speak with one voice
to express our concern to Ottawa about the impending cuts to our transfer payments, the difficulties that our
young people are having, that elderly people are facing, that people of all ages and stages in every part of this
province are struggling with are nothing compared to what lies ahead because when you have $385 million
ripped out of the transfers to this province, this province alone, over the next three years, you are talking about
a profound financial shock to the people of this province. For the Speech from the Throne to not even so much
as acknowledge that that is a problem we face is very disturbing.



[5:30 p.m.]



Now, Mr. Speaker, I know that members have various reasons why they don’t give unanimous consent
on any given occasion for a particular resolution. I brought that resolution forward today in the hopes that this
government would recognize that even if they had omitted to mention that severe financial assault from the
federal government in the Speech from the Throne that they are prepared to recognize that we have to come
together and hold together and work together to try to persuade the federal government that Nova Scotians
cannot afford that kind of massive assault on social programs that are extremely critical to the people of this
province.



But no, Mr. Speaker, when I raised the question this afternoon with the Premier, as far as I could
understand his answer, he said, well, we are not really going to criticize the federal government for what they
do because gee, they might turn around and criticize us for what we do. That does not sound to me like a very
promising indication that this government and this Premier are going to stand up and fight for the interests
of Nova Scotians when it comes to the dismantling of social programs in this province that have been built
up over a very long period of time, through the struggle of people from one end of this province to the other,
from one end of this country to the other, who recognize that the only way we can hold this country together
and the only way we can have some semblance of civility in our society and community solidarity is if we
make some kinds of provisions to care for one another and to share resources with one another, in some very
fundamental areas.



Yet, Mr. Speaker, what we are facing is literally a tearing apart of the social fabric of this country, in
the form of Bill C-73 that is now before the House of Commons.



Mr. Speaker, I know it has become very popular, not just with members of this government but, with
far too many people in our province, to conjure up images of fat cat public servants who are somehow feeding
at the public trough by being employed in the designing and delivery of public services to the people of this
country. But, Nova Scotians, as others, in other parts of the country, are, I think, beginning to understand that
when you talk about eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars from our basic health care programs, from
our basic educational programs, from our very basic income security programs and from our community
services, you are talking about profound changes to Canadian society.



What people realize is that it may be convenient to conjure up images of fat cat public servants
somehow sitting around in offices in Ottawa, that when you lop almost $400 million out of transfer payments
to Nova Scotians for our health and education and community services, then you are talking about not only
throwing on the unemployment scrap heap many people who are employed right across this province in the
delivery of public services, but we are also talking about the erosion of many services that are now provided
through the voluntary sector, through various community agencies, through various non-profit organizations,
through various community-based groups of one kind or another.



This legislation and this attack on transfers to Nova Scotia not only is the beginning of the end, in any
meaningful sense, of our universal Medicare system, but it also means that there are going to be far less funds
available for the whole range of services to children, for example through child care agencies, to families
through family counselling services of one kind or another, to the disabled through various kinds of sheltered
workshops, for example, to people who are ill, to the frail elderly and others who desperately need various
kinds of in-home supports that are now funded through these transfer payments in part; various kinds of early
intervention programs for children, it will make the difference in whether those children can avail themselves
of our educational services or not; various programs to women through transition houses, through women’s
centres and so on.



All of these programs and services are going to be under even greater stress and, in far too many cases,
I think, Mr. Speaker, under threat of extinction if this government and others do not come together to
persuade the federal government that we simply cannot absorb the shock in this country and in this province
that is going to result from Bill C-73 if it goes ahead in its present form.



Mr. Speaker, with the delivery of the federal Martin budget just prior to this House coming into
session, it has been said again and again that, in fact, there has been little concern about its likely impact, that,
in fact, most people accept that this is the only alternative to place under assault these many very important
basic community services and supports. Well, I think it is becoming evident that people are only now
beginning to fully understand the impact of what is going to happen in this province and elsewhere in Canada
if the federal government plans go ahead in their present form.



I thought, Mr. Speaker, that it was worthy of taking note of a very interesting column in Friday’s
edition of the Halifax Herald by Harry Bruce, a respected and long-time columnist here in Nova Scotia who
writes under the banner of the Nova Scotian on a regular basis, a well acclaimed, well recognized and much
acclaimed author and columnist. I think that Mr. Bruce really hit the nail on the head when he began to
analyze the impact of what is really happening in this country as a result of the wholesale embracing of the
corporate agenda when he put the question in terms of, how American do we really want Canada to be? Mr.
Bruce went through a very interesting analysis of what is happening as that agenda wreaks havoc in the
country to our south.



Mr. Speaker, I know that when one raises those concerns, some are often very quick to say, oh, what
is that, some kind of anti-Americanism? Let me make it clear that where I am coming from in raising these
concerns is that I am a proud Nova Scotian and a proud Canadian who believes it is worth fighting to preserve
those things about Canada that are in fact uniquely Canadian and that do in fact distinguish us from our
neighbours to the south in terms of those community values that have brought us to make very different
choices about how we are going to care for one another and how we are going to share among one another
in terms of some of the things that matter most to people in their daily lives. So, Mr. Bruce is absolutely
correct when he reminds us that the United States is a country that imposes on its underdogs - and this is a
quotation from his article - a level of disadvantage unknown to any other major country on earth. Is that the
kind of country that we want to become? Is that the kind of so-called reform that we want to participate in in
this province and in this country?



Mr. Bruce went on to talk about a number of indicators that are truly alarming in terms of the widening
gaps between the rich and the poor, in terms of the distribution of income. I think it is particularly noteworthy,
Mr. Speaker, that he refers to the fact that the worst attacks that are occurring in the United States today, as
this corporate agenda gains momentum, are attacks on children and on the special needs of children. So, we
have a society to the south of us where the average amount that the U.S. taxpayer spends annually on welfare
support to families is $28 a year. And yet, what has gained momentum, what has gained favour, what has
gained popularity, is the notion that somehow welfare dependents are bleeding taxpayers dry, are bleeding
the public purse dry, and that we have to begin to engage in the kind of mean-spirited and punitive policies
that I, for one, greatly fear are going to be introduced in this province in the name of community service
reform; that are going to look very much like those work-fare kinds of programs that are wreaking havoc in
the United States.



Mr. Speaker, it won’t surprise anybody to hear a New Democrat say that our Medicare program in this
country is our proudest social achievement. There is no question that Medicare, as we know it, is in the
process of being dismantled in this country today. Let me just share with you for a moment the latest statistics
on the numbers of residents of the United States of America for whom there is no health insurance provision
whatsoever.



In 1989, there were 34.5 million Americans with no health benefits, no health insurance provisions
at all. Mr. Speaker, the latest statistics, three years later, would show that that number of 34.5 million has
increased to 40.9 million; 41 million people in the United States of America are without anything that you
could remotely describe as adequate health coverage and yet that is the model that, without a doubt, the
Government of Canada has now decided to emulate and this province has not stood up to register its public
objection.






[5:45 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, we have heard some members mutter that there is no basis in fact for that. If anybody
heard the interview with the Prime Minister of Canada the day after the Martin budget was delivered, he may
have corrected his words by saying “I wish I had not said them,” but what he said was that our Medicare
system was never meant to provide eyeglasses and ambulance services to people who need them, that it was
brought in to prevent people from financial bankruptcy in the instance of being stricken with expensive
illnesses.



Mr. Speaker, there may be some members of this House that do not want to face up to the fact that Bill
C-73 is precisely taking us down the road of dismantling our universal health care system and there will be
no turning back in our lifetime if we do not put a stop to that before it actually is allowed to pass through the
House of Commons in its current form.



There will be some who, I am sure, will suggest that that is unduly pessimistic, that that is some kind
of fear-mongering. Mr. Speaker, what I fear is that this government, in its unwillingness to stand up and fight
for Nova Scotians, is going to let that happen. Any critical analysis of the facts and the figures and the
projections would show that there is no possible way for there to be the maintenance of any kind of national
standards with respect to health care in the future, or with respect to educational provision, or with respect
to any kind of community services, because once the federal government vacates the field to the extent that
they have already indicated their intentions of doing, there is no manner, there is no financial clout, there is
no mechanism for them to begin to enforce any kind of national standards.



Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, every single social policy critic, every single bit of social policy research
done on this issue has shown that when you move to block funding of health, education, community services
and basic income security, that you are creating a situation where there is just going to be steady erosion and
there is going to be a lot of internal fractiousness while people scramble for the shrinking dollars, which is
going to have a further devisive effect on what bit of community solidarity still remains in this province
around these very basic provisions.



Mr. Speaker, members can consider it unduly pessimistic on my part if they wish to do so. They can
consider it as some kind of over-reaction, but if we do not regard it as some kind of a wake-up call with the
facts and figures starting to be widely available about what the impact of the new Canada Health and Social
Transfer Act is going to be then we are going to have presided over the dismantling of some of the most
important features of Canadian society that I continue to believe are not only achievable, but are fundamental
in terms of how we define ourselves as Canadians.



Mr. Speaker, I already referred to a number of the very basic programs that are going to come under
severe stress. The Premier, earlier this afternoon, quite clearly could give no assurance that there were not
going to be further funding cuts, for example, to transition houses. Let me just use as one very particular
example, what is happening right here now today in this city, in this province with something as
fundamentally important as the transition house for victims of family violence, Bryony House, that is already
creaking and straining under the financial burden of trying to raise voluntary dollars to keep that service
going.






Surely, if this government means what it says about an all-out comprehensive strategy for the
elimination of family violence, it has to be prepared to recognize that it is falling short of that commitment
to require transition house voluntary boards to raise $150,000 a year just to maintain those basic services.



Nobody says to our courts that they should go out and raise $150,000 through community fund raising
efforts. Nobody says, not yet anyway, to the elementary school down the block that they should go out and
raise $150,000 in order to keep the doors open and the basic services going. Although that is very much a fear
that is where we are heading now that we are talking about private profit construction of schools. When it
comes to something as basic as support services, and not just providing shelter for victims of family violence,
but helping to work with those victims of family violence to develop alternatives that will allow them not just
to escape from the violence of their perpetrators, but will allow them to reconstruct their lives on a solid basis.
Surely, we cannot say that should just be left largely to voluntary effort.



What happens, Mr. Speaker, when you do heap that kind of burden on a transition house is what we
see happening right today with respect to a very unhappy and painful labour dispute between the voluntary
board of a transition house and between the hardworking overburdened staff in that transition house. The
solidarity of the team effort that those people are desperately trying to provide between volunteers and staff
in support of those women and children who have been the victims of family violence is desperately shattered.
So, what you end up with is the government basically sitting on the side line and avoiding having to deal with
that very unhappy spectacle while those who require the services are caught in a situation clearly that doubly
victimizes them.



If that is not an indication, Mr. Speaker, of what can increasingly happen in the way of divisions and
strains and fractiousness then I do not know what is. Yet, this government can stand up and defend the federal
government’s slashing of $7 billion from our social programs. This government can stand up and defend its
own virtual, total, exclusive preoccupation with fiscal control while it ignores the reality that there is a cost
associated with going that route. Nobody in their right mind would say - and let me say very plainly on the
record that the financial deficit is not a problem - that the accumulated debt that has been allowed to occur
under the previous government is something that can be ignored. But surely it can be understood that if you
were going to ignore the human toll that it is going to take to set fiscal targets by heaping the cost of those
deficits on the backs of those who can least afford to carry the burden, that it is not only going to create a
completely unacceptable hardship for the people who are going to be penalized, it is short-sighted even in the
government’s own economic and financial terms, because there are costs associated with that.



You are generating costs that will have to be paid in the future, one way or the other, if you do not
invest in early childhood intervention programs. You will generate costs that need to be paid for sooner or
later if you don’t provide children who need them with technical aids whether it is hearing aids or whether
it is a prosthetic of some kind or another prosthesis or eye glasses for that matter. It will create costs in the
future if you say we can no longer provide the family counselling that is required to help families that are
under stress and strain to get on a more positive footing and be able to function in a more satisfactory way to
provide stability to their children.



This government knows what the cost is associated with the very high rate of teen pregnancies in this
province because they pay the bill for that now. This government knows what it costs to have children on the
streets engaged in prostitution. This government knows that if we withdraw from the basic services that are
the only hope to provide a transition to those child prostitutes from the street or the only hope to prevent
children from bearing and raising children in our society, that there is a price tag attached to that, that it is
going to occur in the financial debt of this province, it is just going to be delayed.



I am close to wrapping up my comments but I do have a few minutes left and I know that the Speaker
has indicated that we have reached or come close to the hour of Adjournment so I would now adjourn debate
to continue on another day. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the debate on the Address and Reply to the Speech from the
Throne be now adjourned. 



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Tomorrow is Opposition Day and we will allow the Opposition House
Leader to speak from a seat other than his own if he would like.



MR. SPEAKER: The Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I am lacking an order paper. Resolution No. 17. We will just be calling the
one resolution and running that through for the whole period available.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well. The business tomorrow afternoon then will be Resolution No. 17.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, we will be sitting tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to
6:00 p.m. I move that we adjourn until tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well. We have reached the moment of interruption. The draw conducted by the
Clerk was won by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview. The motion for debate is:



Therefore be it resolved that the government not confuse educational reform with deficit
reduction and that it take the time needed to ensure any reform to be implemented as positive and
respectful of the best interests of all stakeholders in education.



She has deferred to the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, whom I now recognize.



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.






EDUC. - REFORM: PATIENT - POSITIVE



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I very much welcome the opportunity to rise this evening to launch
what I am sure will be a long and prolonged debate going over many, not only days and weeks, but maybe
over many months as we embark in this province on what the government is calling education reform.



Now, Madam Speaker, as I begin my remarks today, I want to preface them with a couple of brief
comments. First of all, I think it is important for all of us in this House and all Nova Scotians to recognize,
of course, that education reform is, in fact, needed. Education reform is needed now. Education reform will
be needed next year and the year after that and, in fact, it constantly will be in need of reform because society
and, therefore, educational needs are also always changing. So it should be a moving and ongoing process.



When I say that, I say it with the full knowledge that our education system here in the Province of
Nova Scotia stacks up quite favourably, thank you very much, to that which is offered in most other parts of
North America and, in fact, in the world, I would suggest. We stack up extremely favourably in Nova Scotia,
especially in light of the fact that the funding that is provided on a per student basis in Nova Scotia is
relatively low compared to many other parts of this country.



So I think that those who are involved in delivering education are doing an excellent job and it is
something that, quite frankly, the Minister of Education himself has acknowledged on many occasions, as he
has been travelling around the province having his discussions on the White Paper. So I think that we are in
agreement with that.



Madam Speaker, I have had the privilege, I have made it a point that wherever possible, I would attend
the public forums that were being held on the White Paper that was recently introduced by the Minister of
Education. I have to say, in all honesty, that when you just take a look at the White Paper, it is very difficult
sometimes to say what you agree with and what you disagree with because the White Paper itself contains very
little in the way of concretes, in the way of specifics. It is, in part, filled with a lot of platitudes, as a number
of presenters before those public forums said.



I think that it is also fair to say, Madam Speaker, and I know it is something that we in our caucus
support, not only now, but we have as a Party policy for many years, we very much support the increased
involvement of parents and other stakeholders in the community within the public school system and within
the community schools. That, in fact, has been education policy of the New Democratic Party for
approximately 10 years.



The speakers, despite what the Minister of Education said, and I know he did in New Minas, I made
the point that supposedly at the Halifax forum, speaker after speaker came to the microphone saying how they
did not want parents involved in the public school system and in the schools. That is not what I heard at those
forums at all. What I heard many educators saying was that they were frustrated because they were unable to
involve, to get more involvement from parents within the public school system and within their schools, and
for very good reason, one, of course, being that so many parents are already involved in so many items related
to schools and other things within the community. But it certainly was not the message being brought forward
by those speakers, that they didn’t want the public to be involved; that is quite contrary to what people have
been saying.



In fact, I think there is widespread support, hopefully from all sides of this House, that our education
system and our schooling will benefit greatly if we can somehow or other enhance and involve more parents
and the community to a greater extent within the public school system.



That having been said, however when you take a look at the White Paper there is tremendous
skepticism. We were told by this government that the public education system, that the classroom was not
going to suffer as a result of the budgetary cuts being introduced last year. Well, as class sizes have increased,
as programs and services have been eliminated or reduced, as primary classes in some areas were slashed to
half days, we have seen the accuracy of that promise that was made a year ago.



Now people are looking at this, the White Paper, of course they are being told that this is not about
saving money, it is about improving the quality of education. Madam Speaker, we all want that, our children
deserve that. Our children deserve the very highest quality of education that we can possibly give to them and
that they can receive. However, when we take a look at this White Paper and what is being planned, one has
to scratch one’s head and ask what really is the objective? We are told that this is not about saving money but,
coincidentally, $11 million supposedly is going to be saved.



The government doesn’t tell people that the figures and the projections are based on 1993 figures, long
before the last budget cuts and before major slashes were already made in administration from one board to
the next. This year there are more cuts projected. If, in fact, $11 million is going to be saved by amalgamation,
that $11 million, as the minister himself admitted when he appeared before the Halifax school board, all or
most of that money is going to have to be used up to pay for the administration costs and for the training that
is going to be involved in this so-called restructuring.



Madam Speaker, they tend to forget. They say that there is supposedly going to be $11 million in
savings on one hand, which, of course, is going to be used to pay for the administration costs of the change-over, but they don’t mention the fact that there is going to be another 2.9 per cent hauled out of the public
education system this year as a result of the budget restraint, which is going to place even greater strains and
pressures on the education system which we are talking about trying to improve.



The government says that this is aimed at improving parental involvement, yet they are talking about
creating one school board in the metropolitan area with 57,000 students, which will mean that those
individuals will be made all that much more distant from the school board, and other boards, which in terms
of geographical area, will be so large that it will be virtually impossible for the schools and the school boards
and for parents to have any meaningful dialogue at all with the board, which they also would like to have an
influence over, in terms of policy.



Now, Madam Speaker, you have indicated that my time has run out and I have not even begun to
scratch the surface of this topic, so I look forward to having the opportunity to rise on future occasions to bring
forward many other issues and concerns.



In closing I will say that I hope the government will be respectful of the importance of this issue, slow
down, stop the rapid race, don’t, Madam Speaker, restrict input until April 5th. This is too important. Slow
down. If there is any message that I heard from Sydney to Yarmouth, it was that, slow down, give time for
proper input. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure tonight to stand and debate
the resolution: Therefore be it resolved that the government not confuse educational reform with deficit
reduction and that it takes the time needed to ensure any reform to be implemented is positive and respectful
of the best interest of all stakeholders in education.



The member for Sackville-Cobequid commented at the beginning of his speech that education reform
is needed now, will be needed tomorrow and there is need for continuous reform. If I may, Madam Speaker,
I would like to address one example that comes quickly to mind and is very close to me, my region and in the
different francophone regions across the province. If I may, I would like to address this particular problem
in my first language.



Mme. la president, j’ai au la chance de participe dernierment dans plsaires descusions du reform
d’education. Ca c’est un grand interete pour moi parceque, j’etait enseigent pour 9 ans, 6 ans a Cole Harbour
High, mes premier quel ques annees. J’enseigne francais comme langue secondaire puis ensuit mes dernier
3 annees a l’ecole de Yarmouth High en immersion. J’enseigent la biology, la chimie, l’histore en francais.



C’est sans doubt que tout les jeunes de la province Nouvelle Ecosse soifee qu’ils anglophone ou
francophone tout les jeunes veut l’excellence en education, ils venut le mieux pour nos enfants, le mieux pour
touts les enfants de cette province, il ventent en education en quality. Un de plus apres defi de papier blanch
de rasion c’est l’addresser les problems de le system Acadian/francophone de la province. On a carrier sous
ce systems sous le direction de la charter a droits et ca c’est un des defit quand a besoin de, d’addresser aussi,
tot que posible.



On a besoin des reformes maintant, donc, ici on a besoin de la vrai reform comme a mentioner dans
la resolutions, on a besoin de les vrai reformes, c’est pas de le reforme sessane a cause de, pour reduction de
la deficite, c’est le vrai reform que nous besoin pour un system d’education pour les Acadians et francophones
de cette province. L’annee dernier, j’ai participer dans en reunion a Clare. Le ministre avec nous, le ministre
l’education, le culture, le ministre des Affaires Acadians et est avec vous en Clare, on a visite le public, en a
visite le conseil scolaire en Clare/Argyle, on a faire visite avec les profeseurs, les emploier de conseil scolaire,
pour discoutes touts un problem quand peut voir qui peut s’arriver de nos system d’education Acadian de cette
provance et francaphone en cette province.



Cette annee encore, on a participer a une reunion le semain dernier, en Clare, le region de Clare, heir
soir je fait parti d’un reunion avec le ministre a l’Ile Madame, avec les profeseurs, Petite le Gras, une ecole
en un pilot, de, committee greivance, en ecole elementaire. Et puis ce matin, je fait visite a une ecole, l’ecole
d’ Pomquet, l’ecole elementaire. Je suis fiere a presovoir de saige va cette de conuissance ce, ca, dans ce
doucher de quelque minutes. J’agree d’acepter en position que le 29 Mars quand etait annoncer on post de
conseil special de matier de question scolaire Acadian et francais et cet system d’enseignant public de le
Nouvelle Ecosse et apres ca, je vais repond directement au ministre l’education, puis a ministre a des Affaires
Acadian, et notre problem naturellement.



Monsieur MacEachern a fait une tournée, il a quel’que réunion qui reste, je pense, il a fait visite
d’autant conseils scolaires, de publique, d’employers, d’autants personnages qu’il pourait trouvé, pour discuter
le Livre Blanc, especiallement dans les Regions Acadiennes, il y a 8 different régions Acadiennes
francophones dans cette province, pour discuter l’idée de la gestion scolaires. Donc, je suis fier de faire partie
de comité, de diriger un comité de transition qui va être mis en place, et ça c’est ça qu’on a besoin de disuter
avec les 8 regions Acadiennes de cette province, et d’avoir réprésentation des huit régions Acadiennes.



Se commene à avancé sur ce dossier. Coment est ce qu’on peut assuré les Acadiens, les francophones
de cette province, qu’ils vont avoir le pouvoir de gerée leur ecoles, que leurs enfants vont avoir access à
l’education qu’ils veulent? Donc, ce comité ici qui va être mis en place, que je va faire partie de, que je veut
faire consultations au travers de la province, dans les different régions, moi-même, je prend ça avec beaucoup
de soin, et je sais que ça va être un defit pour moi, pour nous, les Acadiens de cette province. Et j’ai besoin
de dire ca, je comprends trés bien ma région d’Argyle, il y a beaucoup d’anglophones dans nos régions aussi,
donc un de nos defits, ca va être les Ecoles Sécondaires. Les Ecoles Sécondaires, si tu prend L’école Sainte-Anne du Ruisseau par example, L’Ecole Sécondaire de Clare, L’Ecole de Ile Madame, NDA de Chéticamp,
pour eux, pour nous, pour les Acadiens, ca va être un de nos plus gros défits. Ont veut comme Acadiens, ont
veut acceptés, ont veut accomodés les angolophones dans nos régions. Mais aussi, ont veut la gérance de notre
système d’education. Et voila la chance, voila la chance nous comme Acadien, ont doit maintenant, avec ce
conseils scolaires Acadiens provincialle qu’on parle de maitenant, c’est maintenant la chance pour nous les
Acadiens d’avoir une voix dans notre systeme d’éducation. Avec ça, maintenant avec le comité qui vais ce
formé, on vais ce s’avancer avec le conseils scolaires provincial, c’est la chance maintenant, nous les Acadiens,
de prendre charge de ça, puis de prendre la gérance de nos écoles.



Donc, il faut assurer a notre population, comme j’ai dèja mentionner, access a une education de choix
pour tout les enfants de cette province, soit Acadiens, francophones et les anglohones, il faut respecter ça. Et
aussi il faut respecter la chaque de droit. Donc, pour nous les Acaidens, ont doit assurer ca à notre population.
Je pense que j’ai juste quel’que minutes qui reste, ceci va être un défit pour nous, pour moi, pour la
departement de l’education, et je sois qu’on a besoin de travaillé en partenaires avec les nouveaux conseilles,
si s’avance, les nouveaux conseilles régionaux anglophones, sur des differentes dossiers, diront pour maintenir
les écoles ou pour les autobus, il doit travaillé proche avec les conseilles anglophones.



Mme. le Presidente, ça me ferait plaisir de continuer ce discours a une autre temps, et je veut assuré
la population Acadienne et francophones de la province, et les huit régions de la province, que j’ai besoin de
faire tour de tout les régions, pour comprendre éxacte la demande de chaque régions. Et sous la governance
d’une systeme de conseille scolaires provincial, Mme. le Presidente, il faut assuré que chaque région peuvent
répondre à leurs besoins. Merci.



MADAM CHAIRMAN: Merci.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Madam Speaker, in a previous incarnation as Minister of Education,
having had at that time the honour and the privilege to introduce legislation which enshrined for the first time
in the history of this province Acadian schools in the Education Act, I want to begin by saying that I support
the sentiment expressed by the previous speaker and I understand well the hope and the aspiration and the
conviction of the Acadian and francophone communities of the Province of Nova Scotia that this current
Minister of Education move, as he has suggested he will do, to deal with the question, among others, of
Acadian and francophone program delivery and governance. The Minister of Education has said a number
of times from the public platform that that is one of his three reasons for moving in the direction in which he
purports to pursue, following, he says, the White Paper. The second reason, he goes on to say in essence, so
as not to spend too much time on it, that if I, meaning himself, if he, the Minister of Education doesn’t do
something about Acadian and francophone governance and program delivery, he runs the risk - and he is right
- that he will face and the province and the government will face Charter challenges and there may well be
some significant legal difficulties. He says - and I think rightly so - what is the point of doing that or
subjecting ourselves to that if in fact by making some program delivery and governance changes, we can avoid
that? So, I can’t take issue with that. So, there’s rationale number one which the minister offers publicly as
to why we should move in the direction which he suggests.



The second rationale that the minister suggests from the public platform as to why he’s doing what he’s
doing is - and again I think there is some merit and truth to this. He says that there are some small fiscally,
or financially, fragile boards in the province and we simply cannot allow those boards because of their very
small size, their very precarious financial circumstances to wither and die on the vine. Therefore, there should
be some consolidation of those boards with neighbouring boards to develop that critical mass of student
population, teaching population, administrative population to enable the young people, and in some cases not
so young people, in those board jurisdictions to receive a more broadly based, a fuller educational opportunity.
Issue number two, I can’t take any significant issue with at all.



The third issue that the minister offers around the province as to why he’s doing what he’s doing
relative to the White Paper document, as I recall him saying on a couple of occasions, is that we’ve got to, in
effect, do more with less. We’ve got to save some money and we’ve got to be rather more efficient with the
programs which we offer. Well, I said a moment ago, Madam Speaker, I don’t have any trouble with issue
number one, the Acadian-francophone matter. I don’t have any difficulty with issue two, the small board
difficulty. But I really do not understand, and in future days here in question period and elsewhere I will want
to ask, and hopefully get straight answers from the Minister of Education, why any of the three cornerstones
of the initiative he has undertaken, how or why any of that justifies, or more to the point, rationally compels
the conclusion that here in the metropolitan region - as but one example, we have to now have a merger of
the district school boards here in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Halifax County - which will generate or create
a board with 57,000 students, something in excess of 2,000 teachers, and a piece of geography required to be
dealt with by that board and handled by the teachers and worked in by the parents of some 21,000 square
miles.



Madam Speaker, I remember yesterday you graced this place with remarks as you made your Address
in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I recall you saying that on an earlier day and I remember those days
well and you certainly do because you and I were both parties to the event from different vantage points that
there was a consolidation on an earlier day in the implementation of the Walker Commission and you made
the point then in your remarks the other day, that there was some resentment in the Town of Bedford and in
other places that the establishment of the board which linked the Town of Bedford together with the County
of Halifax resulted in some resentment because there was a concern that the interests and the day to day care
and provision of education in the Town of Bedford would somehow be subsumed into and under the larger
Halifax County board and therefore the quality of education on the ability of the parents to be players in the
education system and so on would be lessened.






If your observation of the other day, Madam Speaker, is a valid one then I say to you and through you
to the throng of members here listening to these remarks here this evening, the risk of having the opportunity
for all of us as parents here particularly in metro to have a day to day, hour by hour input into the lives and
more to the point the education of our children in this consolidated board here in metro is even further diluted
and diluted big time by comparison to what happened as a consequence of the consolidation following the
implementation of the Walker Commission.



I know we are not in Question Period but I would hope that the minister would in the coming days and
perhaps he and I might make a deal that if I ask him the question tomorrow he will give me a straight answer.
I think it is incumbent upon this minister, Madam Speaker, I really do to say whether or not he will afford
the thousands of people across the province who honestly believe they need some reasonable additional time
to understand the implications of what the minister has been talking about. Will he give them that modest
amount of additional time?



I went to the Halifax meeting at Queen Elizabeth High School. People went to the microphone and they
said to the minister, what if we put to you an Option 3 or another option for the school board configuration
here in metro and the minister’s answer at that time was, if I get that option and it seems to be rational and
it seems to be worthy of consideration I will certainly consider it. He says it sounded like a good answer to
him, well, it was a good answer. All I hope is that it was an honestly intended answer and that this minister
will in fact, because he knows that there are those in the Halifax metro district for instance, who really are
proposing to make presentations to him and need additional time to do that.



It took the Department of Education over a year to prepare what he calls a White Paper which frankly
isn’t a White Paper, but, it took the department over a year to produce that. Can it be unreasonable for this
minister to say to the thousands of people who are interested only in one thing what is going to happen to their
children in the public school system? There are some things that I think the minister would agree and I would
agree, most people or some people in every single meeting said there is some stuff in here that is pretty good
and I agree with that.



In each meeting there was considerable said that people had concerns, uncertainties as to how much
of it really might play out and I think it is incumbent upon this minister, I truly do if he is honestly proposing
to engage in a legitimate dialogue with those parents affected that he will say - and perhaps in Question Period
tomorrow if I have an opportunity to address the issue with him - that he will afford some reasonable
additional time for those who wish to put other options to him as was the case with all speakers tonight.
Unfortunately, the Late Show particularly when we are dealing with an issue as interesting as education, one
that some of us can get into high gear on, the time runs very quickly and I realize my time is up so I will
conclude my remarks at that point with the hope that the minister really meant what he said publicly in
various places across the province, that he will afford people the opportunity to put potential alternate
proposals to him, that he will consider them carefully and that he will respond and engage in dialogue with
those who put those to him and I hope to have that debate with the minister on a future day.



MADAM SPEAKER: Order. The time for the Adjournment debate has expired and the House stands
adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.



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



NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



RESOLUTION NO. 40



By: Mr. Joseph Casey (Digby-Annapolis)



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



Whereas the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency announced today that the schooner Bluenose
II could be repaired and that its sailing days were not over; and



Whereas for less than $90,000 of taxpayers’ money the Bluenose II will sail for many more years to
come; and



Whereas it was as a result of the experience and knowledge of Nova Scotia shipbuilders who
discovered that the schooner could be repaired;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the shipbuilders of Lunenburg who are diligently
working on the restoration of the Bluenose II while at the same time passing on the sills of the noble craft of
shipbuilding to future generations of shipbuilders.






HOUSE ORDER NO. 8



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs:



(1) A copy of the audit conducted on the Pictou Regional Housing authority by the New Glasgow
firm, Steele and Cleveland.






NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

 

Given on April 3, 1995

 

(Pursuant to Rule 30)



QUESTION NO. 1



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as do Mr. and Mrs. D. Edwards of Head of Chezzetcook, how much money has
the province contributed to cover losses of Sydney Steel?



QUESTION NO. 2



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Guy Brown (Minister of Labour)



(1) The roof of this historic House of Assembly has had some work done on it recently. At the time
of the work, some safety infractions occurred. I want to know, as does I. Maxwell of Kentville, what has been
done to ensure that further incidents such as these do not happen again?