The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.
























HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 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 this afternoon’s sitting of the House to order at
this time.



Before we begin our daily activities, I would like to advise the House that I have had a message from
a very reliable source, namely the New Democratic Party Caucus Office, that today is the birthday of the
honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. (Applause)



Before we begin, are there introductions of guests that are here with us today? Well, if there are
introductions, perhaps they could be made later on. I see a class arriving.



We will now commence, then, the daily routine of business.



Order, please. The daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, today I have two petitions. The first one is from 12
residents of the Northfield Road, it is a one mile section of highway between two paved roads. They are
requesting paving and/or gravel on this one mile section. (Interruption) All of the above. I have affixed my
signature.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



The honourable member for Hants East.



639

 

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I have today a petition signed by 300 people who travel
Highway No. 215 in the South Maitland area. They are requesting that the existing guard rail on South
Maitland hill have higher posts and another metal rail set approximately two inches to four inches above the
existing one. They are also requesting approaches to the Goose Bridge on Route 236 and Route 215 be
recapped. I just wish to point out that a petition of 300 people just asking for a guard rail is quite significant
and I take the matter quite seriously.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present and to table today from the
Harmony-Nicholsville 4-H Club and their supporters. If I may read just a little bit of it, I would like to. “We
are concerned about the threatened cuts to 4-H by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The Nova Scotia 4-H
Council depends on support from federal funds to provide direct services to many of our 3,000 members.”.
I would like to table this on behalf of the Harmony-Nicholsville 4-H Club.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to advise members of the House
that Nova Scotia has scored the third highest mark in the country for its efforts to protect wilderness areas.
(Applause)



A Grade of C-plus has been awarded to the province by the World Wildlife Fund in its 1994-95
Endangered Spaces Report. In the same report last year, Nova Scotia received a C mark. In upgrading the
province this year, the World Wildlife Fund acknowledged that the improvement in its rating is directly
related to the Parks and Protected Areas Systems Plan unveiled by this government last March.



The Parks and Protected Areas Systems Plan proposes 31 sites, totalling more than 700,000 acres
of Crown land, for protection. The 31 sites, Mr. Speaker, will increase the amount of land protected in Nova
Scotia from its present 2.9 per cent to approximately 8.4 per cent of the total base of Nova Scotia. In terms
of Crown land, it means that a full 19 per cent of the land owned by the province will be under protection.
Nova Scotia’s parks and protected areas systems will serve as a corner stone for this province’s commitment
to sustainable development, to the maintenance of biodiversity and to improve opportunities for eco-tourism
and for recreation.



Parks and protected areas contribute greatly to the quality of life we enjoy in Nova Scotia. They are
also priceless legacies for us to leave for future generations. As a member of government, it is gratifying to
know that the good work we are doing with respect to parks and protected areas has been recognized by this
international organization. At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would also like to compliment the staff of the
Department of Natural Resources for their hard work and dedication and also like to compliment Mr. John
Mullally and the committee that has gone around the province releasing the document.



Mr. Speaker, the World Wildlife Fund is a respected and independent international organization
dedicated to saving the diversity of life on this planet. In awarding Nova Scotia the third highest mark in the
country, the WWF confirms and acknowledges the substantial progress that our province has made in its
wilderness protection effort. As Nova Scotians, we all can be both proud and honoured to have received this
endorsement by the World Wildlife Fund. Thank you. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the announcement today. I was at the press conference
held this morning by Mr. Colin Stewart on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund. The grade, which has been
assessed to Nova Scotia, is one in which Nova Scotians can take pride. This is evidence that the lengthy
process that has been in place in Nova Scotia since 1990 and which has been dealt with in an even-handed
manner by successive governments is the right process, that it has the proper foundation and that, indeed, we
are now being recognized for approaching this whole matter prudently.



The minister referenced in his statement the tremendous work done by John Mullally, my former
Deputy Minister in the Department of Natural Resources, a very highly respected member of the Civil Service
of Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotians that the minister appointed to work with him. The people of the
province owe that committee a debt of gratitude, as do all Nova Scotians owe debts of gratitude to all those
men and women across this province who came forward at these public sessions to make their views known.



I think we can now safely say we have passed the end of the beginning and we are now well on the
way to moving towards the completion of this project. I can only say that I hope that in the advent of the
World Wildlife Fund’s initiative to look at marine parks, that Nova Scotia will be a full participant. If the
government, through its Coastal 2000 program, has that in mind, then that will certainly enrich that program
when it is delivered to the people of this province. So, I commend the minister and I commend the World
Wildlife Fund for its tremendous work, both in Canada and around the globe. (Applause)



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would really like to echo the comments made by the previous
speaker and by the minister and salute not only Mr. Mullally and the group that have been going around,
working so hard on behalf of ensuring that we do have proper representation and adequate representation of
the areas within the province to be maintained and protected in their wild and natural state, but certainly also
to tip my hat and salute Colin Stewart and the World Wildlife Fund. Their persistent, hard work has, in large
part, resulted in not only the success that we have today but the enjoyment and the assurances that the
enjoyments of protecting our environment will be there for future generations.



I note that we have received the third highest mark and that, of course, is a C - no, a C-plus, the
minister wants to make sure that the plus is on there, Mr. Speaker. I think back to the days when I wore
another hat, as an educator, as a teacher, and certainly we were always striving and trying to promote and
encourage people to be pushing for the best.



I know we have made great strides and it is not something to make little of, the fact that we have
gone from 2.9 per cent to 8.4 per cent. I think the goal and the objective should, however, be the 12 per cent
that has been recommended. I feel quite confident that Mr. Stewart and members in the World Wildlife Fund
will, of course, be helping this government to identify other areas that are also worthy of being identified and
protected.



I look forward to hearing the minister stand on future occasions, when he or successive ministers will
also get well-deserved accolades for having moved us even further along towards the A-plus rating which I
think Nova Scotians would hope for and deserve. So, I congratulate the minister and I thank him for his
announcement in the House today. I very much look forward to continuous progress in this particular area.
Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: On an introduction, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, through you and to all members of this House, I would like
to introduce some very distinguished guests in the House this afternoon. We have Brookfield Junior High
School social studies teacher Rick Hiltz. Accompanying Mr. Hiltz are 26 students and 6 parent volunteers who
are also accompanying the students.



The group came to town this morning, and they are thoroughly enjoying the capital city, I am sure
their pleasure will continue here this afternoon in the House as they try to better understand the workings of
the Legislature. The volunteer parents who are accompanying the students are: Terry Canning, and Terry is
also a County Councillor from the Municipality of Colchester; Stewart Teed; Debbie Brown; Linda Maloney;
and Debbie Horne. I would ask the group to rise and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause)



[2:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to table in the House today the public
consultation report entitled, Towards a Solid Waste Management Strategy for Nova Scotia. (Applause)



Mr. Speaker, hundreds of people from all walks of life attended workshops and public meetings
across the province. The result of this consultation process with the people of Nova Scotia is a clearer vision
of what we as a province have to do to turn what has too often been considered a problem into a real
opportunity.



I want to take this moment, Mr. Speaker, to thank those who agreed to gather the thoughts of the
public: Clive Oldreive, the Director of Resource Management and Pollution Control for the Department of
the Environment; Frances Martin, the department’s Director of Policy, Planning and Coordination; Ms. Susan
Holtz, an experienced and respected environmentalist; and Martin Janowitz, the Executive Director of the
Clean Nova Scotia Foundation, who chaired the committee.



Mr. Speaker, the people of Nova Scotia told the Public Consultation Committee that there is
substantial overall support for the three key provincial objectives:



At least 50 per cent diversion of waste by the year 2000;



A high degree of environmental protection for any residual disposal; and



Effective approaches to regional cooperation.



We have reached the proverbial fork in the road, if you will, Mr. Speaker. We are now being called
upon to shape a future which includes sensible and affordable solutions to waste management challenges.



This discussion document shows what can be accomplished when we do the sensible thing and
consult with those who must live with the decisions of their elected representatives.



My predecessor consulted widely when crafting the new Environment Act. The result was a
document that was accepted by the people because they were among its authors. It is in that same spirit, Mr.
Speaker, of cooperation and consultation that I intend to follow in creating a Waste Resource Management
Strategy for Nova Scotia.



The Department of the Environment will also consult widely with those who have the primary legal
responsibility for waste management and that is, the municipal units. There are already shining lights that
lead the way. For example, Lunenburg County has embarked on a waste management regime that is hoping
to achieve a 70 per cent rate of reduction. (Applause)



The recent announcement by the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency that Minas Basin Pulp
and Power will expand its cardboard recycling program shows that innovative solutions can create wealth
from waste.



This government believes that economic opportunities and environmental solutions go hand in hand.
The contribution of those who gave us their time, energy and ideas again the wisdom of going to the people.



We will take their ideas and formulate them into a solid waste resource management strategy which
will become the envy of other jurisdictions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, before I respond immediately to the minister’s statement, I would
like to bring to your attention and to the House Leader, with whom we addressed this very same kind of matter
just a few days ago, that we have here a minister providing a lengthy statement to the House and no provision
to myself as Critic for the Environment of a copy of that statement in advance nor do I believe the statement
was given to my colleague in the New Democratic Party who also is asked to respond.



I would ask through you, sir, that the Government House Leader crack his very substantial whip and
make sure that his ministers, when they do bring statements forward for delivery in the House, at least at the
time the minister rises, make a copy available to the appropriate critic.



Perhaps the minister would care to respond before I make my response to the statement, Mr. Speaker?






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I agree wholeheartedly with the member for Queens and I
will once again endeavour to have ministers provide copies of their statements prior to reading those
statements in the House. Since all ministers, I believe, are here with the possible exception of one, I will make
the request as public as I can make it. Thank you.



MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister. Looking at the volumes that he has now passed me I don’t think
I could have read it in the length of time that it took the minister to make his statement. I welcome the
statement. I know that this appears to be a departure from the promise that the government made respecting
municipal solid waste and the manner in which it is husbanded. During the last election at that time in the
Liberal Red Book it was made very clear that the province would be taking over this responsibility. It is clear
from the minister’s statement that this is going to continue to reside with the municipalities.



That said, I believe that the minister’s words and the initiatives which are already under way around
the province, for example, in Lunenburg County demonstrate that Nova Scotians do want to have a good,
sound way in which to manage municipal solid waste and further that Nova Scotians understand, as we as
legislators do, that evidenced by amendments made to the Environment Act only a few months ago, that we
are not talking about municipal solid waste, we are talking about material which can be generated into new
forms of wealth. that can only be done if we have a good, solid strategy province-wide.



I do think that we have to look at the 50 per cent reduction target by the year 2000. Lunenburg
County has very clearly demonstrated that even very early on in the program that they have put in place it is
possible to achieve a 70 per cent target. I would hope that the minister, in reviewing this document with his
officials and the municipal units, as I am sure he will want to do, in dealing with them as they will still be
carrying the essential mandated burden that we can move beyond the 50 per cent target and endeavour to
achieve the kind of targets that are laid out realistically in Lunenburg County or indeed that are laid out in
the kind of strategy that was put together by the Community Stakeholders Committee in an Integrated
Resource Management Strategy for Halifax County, Halifax-Dartmouth and Bedford.



This has the prospect of being a very important initiative. It is one that all of us will watch very
carefully. It is one which if it is not done properly will cause the government no small amount of heartache
and I think of that particularly with respect to the absolutely critical and urgent decision that is yet to be taken
with respect to life after the Highway No. 101 Sackville Landfill. Thank you.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, welcome the minister’s announcement today and I look
forward to reading his announcement later on. Quite honestly, I haven’t had an opportunity as the previous
speaker has to go through the discussion paper. I note though from what I can remember of the minister’s
actual words when he announced that he was tabling it, the particular levels, for example, of 50 per cent
diversion by the year 2000 and the regional cooperation and the safe disposal for hazardous materials.



I have to say in all honesty that I don’t think that another lengthy study was required to determine,
in fact, that the public of Nova Scotia were very strongly in support of those principles. I think that those
principles have been well-known and that the public supports them and has for a long time. Certainly, this
government has made a commitment that they were going to be developing a solid waste management strategy
as a top priority in the last election. I am pleased to see that we have a discussion paper. What I didn’t hear
from the minister was any kind of a commitment in terms of a timeframe as to when this is going to be done.



Certainly, I live in a community which has had the dubious honour of hosting the landfill for the
metropolitan area, a landfill, I might just remind the government, that was hoisted on the community of
Sackville by the former Liberal Government without any environmental hearings or process whatsoever. There
are tremendous economic opportunities and jobs that can be created by the proper reuse, recycling and so on
of what people call waste but are truly a resource that just has to be redirected so that it can be appropriately
used.



I would say that the 50 per cent diversion goal for the year 2000, while I appreciate that it is certainly
a very reasonable goal, I would also suggest, as the Lunenburg project and the project suggested for the
metropolitan area have pointed out, that those levels certainly are not what one would call ambitious and that
the level of 50 per cent diversion certainly is easily attainable with a little bit of cooperation and guidance by
the provincial government. One of the things that I am looking for, certainly from this minister and from this
government, firm timeframe commitments and also, quite honestly, some clear directives that would require
the diversion of certain products, certain materials away from landfills which right now there are markets for
and which can be better used than simply using them to fill up valuable space in our landfills.



With those brief remarks I look forward to the opportunity to going through, in some detail, the
discussion paper and then to be prodding the minister for action on a number of the points that are raised in
the document.



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.



RESOLUTION NO. 141



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



Whereas St. F.X. University wishes to replace its aging heating plant with a reliable and economic
source of heat and Antigonish District Heating Limited has proposed the development of a wood-fired co-generation facility that will produce electricity for NSPI’s grid, and steam for the university; and



Whereas the previous government had directed Nova Scotia Power Inc. to purchase 50 megawatts
of private power from projects under 10 megawatts in size; and



Whereas lost generating opportunities are economically viable opportunities which, if not
implemented, would not be available when NSPI expects to require new generating capacity;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature support the intent of the previous
government and encourage NSPI to ensure that there will not be any lost opportunities between now and when
NSPI needs new capacity.



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



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 142



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



Whereas the Minister of Education has today endorsed Education Week, April 23rd to April 30th;
and



Whereas in his endorsement, the minister highlights the importance of this year’s theme, Building
Self-Esteem; and



Whereas this minister has put little effort into building the self-esteem of our teachers and our elected
school board officials who are on the receiving end of his cuts to Nova Scotia’s education system;



Therefore be it resolved that the minister, during Education Week, take time to recognize the
importance of our teachers and boards - who are under great pressure currently with budget cuts and the
imposition of Bill No. 5 - and realize that this stress imposed by the minister negatively affects the self-esteem
of our teachers and administrators and in turn does very much affect the classroom.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 143



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



Whereas the Liberal Government has set out a goal to divert 50 per cent of waste from landfills
through reduction, reuse or recycling; and



Whereas the Economic Renewal Agency Minister recently provided financial assistance to Minas
Basin Pulp and Power to expand their capacity to recycle cardboard; and



Whereas there is no provincial waste management strategy for Nova Scotia and no regulations
banning cardboard from landfills in the province;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment immediately ban cardboard from
landfills in the province as a first step toward meeting waste diversion goals and a first step toward ensuring
the success of the recycling business in the Province.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice on the revolution (Laughter) resolution.



[2:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that the revolution be waived?



I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Lunenburg.



RESOLUTION NO. 144



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



Whereas the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Program for Nova Scotia Students, administered by the
Economic Renewal Agency in partnership with the Royal Bank, encourages students to operate a summer
business and, more importantly, gives the student the opportunity to consider entrepreneurship as a career
option; and



Whereas for the last three years, the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills or YES Awards were presented
to recognize Nova Scotia students for successfully and independently owning and operating businesses; and



Whereas recently the YES Awards recognized Chris Lewis of Lunenburg for successfully running
Creek Enterprises which specializes in 3-D imaging;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Assembly extend congratulations to Mr. Chris Lewis,
1 of 5 Nova Scotia students, for his outstanding entrepreneurial skills in the work place.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cape Breton South.



RESOLUTION NO. 145



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



Whereas the City of Sydney grew out of a sleepy town of under 3,000 inhabitants at the turn of the
century to a major industrial centre by 1904 through the hard work of immigrants from all over the world;
and



Whereas the City of Sydney was incorporated as Nova Scotia’s second city on April 11, 1904; and



Whereas in this, its 91st year of incorporation, the residents of Sydney will bring a rich heritage as
they become part of Atlantic Canada’s third largest municipality on August 1, 1995;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the residents of Sydney, past
and present, for their continued contribution to Cape Breton and the Province of Nova Scotia.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried unanimously.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



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



Whereas the Liberal backbencher from Colchester North and the former government backbencher
from Cape Breton West are on record as opposing their government’s municipal service exchange legislation;
and



Whereas the latest discontent over government legislation has come from the member for Bedford-Fall River who said in this morning’s Halifax Chronicle-Herald that she has concerns over Bill No. 3 which
lays the foundation for municipal amalgamation; and



Whereas the member for Bedford-Fall River simply described her legislative colleagues as bullies
in saying, “that as a single voice - there is little she can do to stop her colleagues in the legislature from
implementing the merger on April 1, 1996”;



Therefore be it resolved that the member for Bedford-Fall River immediately make it crystal clear
to all of her constituents - as has the member for Colchester North and the former member for Cape Breton
West - does she or does she not support her own government with their legislative package to merge the four
metropolitan municipalities in Halifax County.



MR. SPEAKER: I would like to take the resolution under advisement prior to allowing it to be tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.



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



Whereas the federal New Democratic Party is a rudderless ship in a sea of conflicting aspirations,
values, ideology; and



Whereas the search for a captain who will lead the good ship NDP to a safe harbour has brought her
to the rocky shores of Nova Scotia; and



Whereas the member for Halifax Fairview has been lost at sea as the skipper of a leaky barge for 14
years;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House advise the member for Halifax Fairview to
set sail for the Rideau Canal in order to provide leadership for a motley crew of lost socialists. (Applause)



AN HON. MEMBER: Waiver.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I don’t know. I think I will take that one under advisement also. (Laughter)



The honourable member for Eastern Shore.



RESOLUTION NO. 146



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



Whereas on April 29th the 5th Annual Lake Charlotte Trout Masters Day will take place; and



Whereas this annual fun and sports event is an important fundraiser in support of The Fabulous
Thunderbirds, the men’s slow pitch team from Lake Charlotte; and



Whereas each year the participation level of sports fishermen in the Trout Masters has steadily
grown, all of which is an indication of superb recreational fishing available along the Eastern Shore;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers of the 5th Annual Lake Charlotte
Trout Masters Day and wish all participants a great day of fishing.



I would ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived for that motion?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Yarmouth.



RESOLUTION NO. 147



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



Whereas the steady hand of the honourable Minister of Finance is bringing integrity to the province’s
finances for the first time in over a decade; and



Whereas in recognition of this fact, the Toronto firm of Wood Gundy has expressed great confidence
in the honourable Finance Minister’s credibility; and



Whereas the ability of our province to deliver services such as health, education and social services
is directly dependent on sound fiscal management;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the honourable Minister of
Finance on gaining the confidence of the investment community that will, in turn, create a climate for
sustained economic growth and job creation.



I would ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: There seems to be a request for waiver of notice.



Is it agreed?



I think I hear a No.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Eastern Shore.



RESOLUTION NO. 148



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



Whereas Ms. Carol-Ann Hutchinson Belisle, a teacher-librarian at Gaetz Brook Junior High, has
been named National Book Service Teacher-Librarian of the Year; and



Whereas this award is made annually to a Canadian teacher-librarian who has made an outstanding
contribution to the development of school library programs; and



Whereas Ms. Belisle has been a teacher since 1974 and has taught Grades 1 and 6, junior high
French, high school German, French and English;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Ms. Carol-Ann Hutchinson Belisle on her
excellent achievement in being named 1995 National Teacher-Librarian of the Year and applaud the quality
of education being given to the students of the Eastern Shore.



I would ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 149



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 reform of Nova Scotia’s health care system from institutionally-based to community-based has been jeopardized by this government’s failure to implement a comprehensive home care system; and



Whereas the closure of hospitals, the elimination of hospital beds and reduction in hospital stays,
without a corresponding reallocation of resources to home care services, has resulted in the proliferation of
private, for-profit home care services and given the care-for-profit sector a new marketing angle to cash in
on the government’s inaction; and



Whereas this mismanaged transition has created a massive shift to a two-tiered health care system,
even by the Health Minister’s own definition;



Therefore be it resolved that the Health Minister put an immediate halt to the dismantling of our one-tiered health care system, by ensuring that universal, non-profit, accessible, comprehensive and publicly
administered home care services are provided to any Nova Scotian displaced from hospital care by this
government’s supposed reform to a community-based health care system.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 150



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



Whereas the series of talks being held between Nova Scotia Power Inc. and Devco have reached such
an impasse that the matters outstanding between them are now the subject of a court action; and



Whereas the results of those negotiations have the potential to affect the livelihood of thousands of
Nova Scotians, primarily those in Cape Breton, an area of high unemployment; and



Whereas it should be clearly stated public policy that no coal will be imported into Nova Scotia for
use in generating electricity, given the existence of indigenous resources;



Therefore be it resolved that this House will require the government to take every step to prevent any
importation of offshore coal to Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 151



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 1994 budget announced the relocation of the Women’s Directorate from the Department
of Housing and Consumer Affairs to the Department of Human Resources; and



Whereas the 1995 budget relocates the Women’s Directorate once again, this time from the
Department of Human Resources back to the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs; and



Whereas the Minister responsible for the Status of Women last year offered an elaborate and
convincing defence for the Women’s Directorate being “incorporated right into the affirmative action
component of the Department of Human Resources”, and only a month ago declared this relocation “has
proved to be an asset to the department”;



Therefore be it resolved that the Women’s Directorate should not be shunted from department to
department, at the whim of a particular minister or for the administrative convenience of the government, but
should instead be located where its role and mandate can be most effectively accomplished.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there any further notices of motion? If not, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has
conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 o’clock this afternoon. The successful entry this
afternoon was submitted by the honourable member for Annapolis, who submitted a motion reading as
follows:



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the people of
Annapolis County for creating the flagship of health reform, namely the Annapolis Community Health
Centre.



So, we will hear debate on that at 6:00 o’clock this afternoon.



Now, if there is no further business to come before the House under the heading of the daily routine,
we will advance to the order of business, Orders of the Day. The Oral Question Period today runs for 90
minutes, that will be from 2:41 p.m. until 4:11 p.m. That will be the duration of the Oral Question Period this
afternoon.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



LBR. - NATIONAL SEA PRODUCTS (NORTH SYDNEY/LOUISBOURG):

 

EMPLOYEES FORMER - ASSIST



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. The National
Sea Products plants in North Sydney and in Louisbourg have closed and I believe that the one in North
Sydney, at any rate, has been purchased by Clearwater. There are about 550 employees from those plants who
are presently suffering a problem, caused by the fact that they were not laid off when the plant actually closed.
They were put into a state of being in abeyance, until perhaps the plant reopened. As a consequence, Mr.
Speaker, when they went to apply for severance, they were told it was too late because they had been laid off
six months prior to that.



I wonder if the minister could give us an update in the House and for the people in that area as to
what action the Department of Labour is taking to alleviate the situation that those employees are in?



HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I have
been told there are about 650 workers involved, not 550, although my figure could be wrong. The honourable
member knows that they were under a union bargaining agreement. He also knows that the company and the
union took it to arbitration and he knows there was a ruling given under the arbitration and it really ties the
hands of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour. However, we are prepared to do whatever we can under the
laws, as they are today within this province. We must keep in mind that both parties took this issue to
arbitration. There was a ruling under the arbitration in dealing with this issue.



MR. RUSSELL: That may well be, but nevertheless the fact is that these workers officially finished
their employment without any notice whatsoever from the plant that they were not coming back to work again.
So, in consequence, they lost the right to severance pay simply because of the fact that that time element of
six months ensued in the meantime.



Has the minister spoken to National Sea regarding this particular matter? Has he spoken to the union
that is involved in regard to this particular matter, and brought both parties to the table to try to work out some
kind of payment to the workers so affected?



MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows there was an arbitration, there was an
award under the arbitration and he also knows that that is handled by the tribunal. I would hope that no
minister of any government in this province or any other, under the type of laws that we have here, will
interfere with an arbitration or interfere with a tribunal decision. That will be handled by them and let’s hope
for the sake of the labour movement in this province that that always remains that way.



[2:45 p.m.]



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the arbitration has been made, it is over and done with and it is
finished. What I am asking the minister now is what he is going to do as the Minister of Labour in this
province to look after, he tells me now, 650 workers who are out some $3,000 to $4,000 apiece? What is he
going to do as Minister of Labour?



MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, that honourable member, who was a former Minister of Labour, knows
full well there was a union agreement in place. He knows the issue, that that went to arbitration. He knows
there was a ruling and I hope no government ever gets involved in a ruling of arbitration when there is a
union agreement in place. I will support the union, the agreements and will work with them in the best
interest of the labour laws of this province. (Applause)



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



EDUC. - SCHOOL BOARDS: AMALGAMATION - INPUT



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Education.
The Minister of Education has announced plans to restructure and to amalgamate the school boards in the
Province of Nova Scotia. The minister contends that it is his plan and the government’s intention to have
broad community input into the process. My question is quite simply this, if the government wants to have
proper input, why have he and his Cabinet colleagues embarked on a process that will give absolute, autocratic
power to the minister and to the Cabinet to make the decisions on what a restructured education system in
Nova Scotia will look like, without there being any opportunity for more public input, without there being an
opportunity for the Utilities and Review Board to review it and, certainly, without any appeal to the Governor
in Council’s decision?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable Leader of the New Democratic
Party for the question but I don’t know if he has been asleep or not. Last June, I started consulting with the
public, very wide-ranging. I spent the last two months consulting with them. In fact, I stood in this House not
a week ago when I heard the Leader of the Opposition talk about the Acadian francophone board that we are
proposing in terms of there has to be a way of doing that, it has to be done in the short run. We have some
boards, that there is no debate about, that are in financial difficulty and we have to move quickly.



The responses to our inquiries over the last month have been arriving this past couple of weeks. I
have signed at least 50 thank-you letters for people who have put submissions in and we are considering those
as we go along. I would suggest to the honourable member that to suggest that there has not been consultation
is just not reasonable.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I assure the minister that I have not been asleep and I certainly couldn’t
fall asleep when I attended the public meetings that the minister was at because the public was expressing
their views quite clearly and quite vocally, what they thought of what this government was doing. The
government has not yet produced or tabled what their plan, what the structure is going to look like. Obviously,
no one can respond to that. But the minister says that all of the amalgamation is aimed at saving money so
that more money can go back into the classroom for the students and that monies will be saved through the
administration. My question to the minister is quite simply this, he says that $11 million will be saved as a
result of the amalgamation. Is it not true, as he told the Halifax School Board, that any dollars that are saved
as a result of amalgamation will have to be spent to pay for the cost of the amalgamation and for the retraining
that is going to go along with it?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, let me correct the honourable Leader of the New Democratic
Party. What he says I said is, in fact, not the case. What we said to the Halifax School Board, and the tape is
available if the honourable member would like to get hold of it and see that, is that we are going to be working
with the boards to do that. The $11 million involved, in fact, stays with the boards as part of their budgets to
be applied to services that they do.



I also mentioned to this House, Mr. Speaker, but I will repeat for the honourable Leader of the New
Democratic Party, that the reasons for looking at amalgamation were in fact threefold. I will repeat it, we
spoke of it last week. Number one, to look at the Acadian francophone governance question; number two, to
deal with some small boards, which are at great risk; and number three, to look at the amalgamation here in
metro and in Sydney. Those are the three reasons. It just so happens that it would also save money that will
be provided for additional services for students.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, when you listen to the minister, you can’t help coming to the conclusion
that really what the minister is saying is that father knows best. When one takes a look at, in truth, the guiding
and the underlying principle and what is being used as an argument over and over again by this minister is
that $11 million is going to be saved and somehow that $11 million is going to be returned to the school
boards, to the classrooms, to the education of the children.



So, my question to the minister is, if the minister is primarily or so much concerned about saving
money from administration, why is he setting double standards? Why is the minister increasing by over 14
per cent the administrative costs in his own office and that of his deputy ministers while he is reducing the
funding for the children in this province by over $26 million?



MR. MACEACHERN: I sense that there are two questions in the honourable Leader of the New
Democratic Party’s question. So, I will answer them in turn. First of all, let me repeat, that the reasons we are
doing this is to address Acadian francophone governance; secondly, that some small boards are in trouble;
and number three, for the amalgamations here in metro and in Sydney. Those are the reasons it was done. It
just so happens that it will save money on administrations that are left with the boards, it is not going to be
returned to them, it is left with them, it is in their budgets now.



In terms of his second question and I am sure this will come up again in our budget questions but
with your indulgence, Mr. Speaker. When I arrived in our office, we had assigned a public relations person
whose budget was someplace else. Our management audit suggested it be transferred. Nothing has changed
but the numbers.



Secondly, as the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party knows, Mr. Royden Trainor was
transferred to our office to deal with the university question and dealing with people with learning difficulties,
Mr. Speaker. I can report to you and to all members of the House that he has repaid many times over what
is there. (Interruption) You will notice the rudeness of the member opposite and I would note that.



But if I would, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Trainor has proven over and over again to be beneficial to what is
happening and this has been spoken to us by everybody involved in education except him.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



EDUC. - NSTU: COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT - INSURANCE COVERAGE



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question, as well, is to the Minister of Education. The
Minister of Education, I am sure, is familiar with Article 34 of the collective agreement between the
Government of Nova Scotia under which agreement he, the minister, is the employer. Article 34.07 of that
agreement reads, “The Union shall furnish the Employer with an annual audited financial statement of all
receipts and disbursements with respect to the insurance coverages referred to in this Article.”.



The minister will know that the Auditor General made representations, indeed, a direct request to
the Nova Scotia Teachers Union to be provided with detail relative to the $10.9 million of taxpayers’ dollars
which were sent to the Teachers Union in regard to the insurance provisions of this collective agreement. I
note, as I have said, that the section requires, it is not permissive, it is mandatory, “The Union shall furnish
the Employer with an annual audited financial statement of all receipts and disbursements . . .”, and so on.



Would the minister first of all tell me whether or not the union has provided him as required under
the collective agreement with that financial detail?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I can inform the House and the Leader of the
Opposition that, in fact, it hasn’t been provided to me nor to the previous ministers of his government year
after year. We have taken action to get it done and they didn’t.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, he can pat himself on the back and get off all these foolish comments
about we have taken action and somebody else didn’t. The question that I put to the minister, has the minister
made a demand of the union to provide the information and has the union provided the information to the
minister?



MR. MACEACHERN: Yes, we have made it in terms of discussions back and forth, formally in two
letters. We have had the Department of Justice involved and the collective bargaining provides for an appeal
process and we are filing a grievance under that appeal process in order to get that documentation.



MR. DONAHOE: I am not sure that I heard the minister say that we are filing a grievance or we
have filed a grievance. By way of final supplementary then, I would ask why is it that you’re in the process
and have not yet filed the grievance, if, in fact, as I read the collective agreement, I repeat, it is mandatory
and not permissive - the union shall furnish -and I don’t understand how it is that we have to get into
grievance procedures and so on in regard to this particular issue.



The union has an obligation to file the material. It is $10.9 million of the taxpayers’ money. Will the
minister then tell me and tell all taxpayers, when is it that the appropriate legal steps that he says have to be
taken, when will they be undertaken?






MR. MACEACHERN: First of all, I can tell the honourable Leader of the Opposition and all
members of the House, one of the arguments being presented to us in discussions on this is we have never had
to do this and that the precedent was there from the previous government. We, in negotiations a year ago,
have made it very clear that we wanted that because it was a requirement and we had significant questions.



We have followed the process in dealing with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union; we have addressed
their concerns personally with the president and the executive director; we sent a letter requesting it, we have
addressed it again. We have had the Department of Justice speak to them, which I think is an appropriate
approach. Now, Mr. Speaker, that it’s been refused formally, we are moving forward to have a grievance filed.



That is the way contracts are dealt with and I would suggest that the honourable Leader of the
Opposition recognize that due process is required.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition on a new question.



EDUC. - DARTMOUTH: FUNDING REDUCTIONS - EFFECTS



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is also for the Minister of Education. The minister will
perhaps be aware that the Dartmouth District School Board, whose affairs will be of considerable interest I
am sure to the Premier, is holding a public meeting tonight and they are asking the public in the City of
Dartmouth to express their views about concerns that $1.6 million must be cut from the school system. In
referencing the budget cuts, the report done by the board said, it is no longer possible to make reductions of
this magnitude without negatively impacting students and the programs we provide. The minister, of course,
will remember that at every stop he has made in the province, he has said nothing in the White Paper is going
to impact on the children in the classroom.



Residents of Dartmouth and across all this province are very concerned that further provincial
funding reductions are going to make it impossible to deliver quality programs to our young people. I wonder
if the minister could indicate to me whether or not his statement that nothing that is happening relative to the
White Paper and the reduction in funding is going to impact on the children in the classrooms, or perhaps
the explanation here is that the report done by the Dartmouth District School Board is in error. Which story
is the taxpayer in Dartmouth to believe?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, if I could draw a line for the honourable Leader of the
Opposition, in terms of budget reductions, that was dealt with in our negotiations with the Teachers Union
about a year ago. The White Paper doesn’t speak to any reductions in funding. In fact, it is a separate and
distinct item and I have said as I have travelled the province that it is not about that.



The budgets for the school boards have been established for four years. They had notification of that
in November. Whether the White Paper moves forward or doesn’t move forward those budgets are in place.
The White Paper is not about budgets and for the honourable Leader of the Opposition to draw a connection
between them is, number one, to indicate that he has never read the White Paper and has no idea what it is
about, or in fact, he is misleading the House and the public.



MR. SPEAKER: That is a little heavy.



MR. DONAHOE: I missed your comment, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: It is a little heavy.



MR. DONAHOE: So perhaps, being as heavy as it is, you might ask the honourable minister if he
would retract the statement which leaves the impression . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I leave that to his discretion.



MR. DONAHOE: . . . that I have somehow attempted to mislead the House?



MR. SPEAKER: I would have to review the text of Hansard. The honourable Leader of the
Opposition has the floor.



MR. DONAHOE: You would have to review the text of Hansard. You will do that?



MR. SPEAKER: I was not paying close attention to exactly what was stated. I would have to review
the text of Hansard.



MR. DONAHOE: And you will?



MR. SPEAKER: The minister can make any statement he wishes, if he wishes to withdraw or retract,
but I would have to review the text of Hansard.



MR. DONAHOE: Yes, and you will be reviewing the text of Hansard?



MR. SPEAKER: Indeed I will, as I will be reviewing various other matters, too.



MR. DONAHOE: Good. My supplementary to the Minister of Education is still staying with the
concerns expressed by the Dartmouth District School Board and the public meeting which they plan to hold
tonight. The Dartmouth District School Board has concluded that it is unfortunately, to say the least, beyond
their control that they are faced with laying off 18.6 full-time equivalent teaching positions, including the loss
of resource services teachers and the elimination of an adjusted class, as well as the elimination of low
enrolment classes and the reduction of program offerings.



[3:00 p.m.]



I wonder if the minister can indicate whether or not it is his view that if those changes are required
to be made by the Dartmouth District School Board that they will not have any effect in the classrooms and
on the children in the City of Dartmouth?



MR. MACEACHERN: As the honourable Leader of the Opposition knows, as a former Minister of
Education, we provide them with the budgets and they make their decisions. I will point out to the honourable
Leader of the Opposition, through you, Mr. Speaker, that in fact, all of the boards are making budgets and
they are going to have to make decisions. If the honourable Leader of the Opposition is inviting me or my staff
to go in and check the budget of the Dartmouth District School Board, let him say so. But it is under their
jurisdiction to do that and they will proceed to do it. It is not my position here to debate their budget.



MR. DONAHOE: By way of final supplementary, the report from the Dartmouth District School
Board, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, indicates that speech therapy services may be, and are
expected to be, seriously affected if the cuts required by the Dartmouth District School Board are made. They
have only four people in speech therapy services now and would require a cut of two of those and leave only
two.



The report also states that the future of the program depends on the deliberations of the committee
investigating the delivery of speech services in Nova Scotia. I wonder if the minister could offer this House
any details on that committee and the current status of its work and when it expects to report?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, we have a draft report out on services for students with special
needs. In fact, I had a meeting last evening in Dartmouth with some concerned parents and present were some
members of the Dartmouth District School Board -not of the board but one of the staff people. They suggested
that these are just ideas they are considering and they are proceeding to move forward.



Our staff is working on a province-wide policy on dealing with students with special needs. We have
done wide consultations and now we are sending a draft copy out to be reconsidered. We will, in fact, be
making provincial policies dealing with such issues across the whole province, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



FISH. - AQUACULTURE: REGIONAL DEV. ADVISORY COMM. - FAILURE



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries. Some many months
ago the minister, quite rightly, in my view, established a Regional Aquaculture Development Advisory
Committee, in part to give him advice with respect to the future of aquaculture in the Annapolis Basin. We
now find that immediately consequent to recommendations being made by that committee that the committee
has broken into various factions, that a number of people have resigned and, in fact, a rump of that committee,
the few who were left, just the other night apparently reversed the motion that provides the minister with
exactly the opposite advice now which it provided to him only a few weeks ago.



It would appear that with respect to this initiative at least, that all four wheels, kind of fell off the
wagon at once. I wonder if the minister could advise the House, and I am sure he wants his opportunity to
explain how something which was supposed to go right, could possibly have gone so wrong?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the member opposite has brought this
matter to the Legislature because it is a very important matter. We have eight of these RADACs functioning
throughout Nova Scotia. It is community-based development and it is the essence of further development of
aquaculture throughout Nova Scotia. This particular region has been the centre of focus for three years or four
years in developing aquaculture. It is one of the few biological areas in Nova Scotia where finfish can grow
and, as the members knows, several attempts have been tried in the past.



Recently, there had been a RADAC established there a year or so ago and it had been functioning
very well. Sometime in February, the original one had dissolved because it was, I felt, not democratic and the
Basin Fishers group, composed of three representatives, did not and would not accept the existing RADAC
formula that was situated there. So, another RADAC was established through the Western Valley
Development Authority, which is a new agency composed of many regional representatives and this group,
also consistent with that, Community Futures, was also being phased out. So, a new organization was set up.
The Basin Fishers, three members from that group, three from aquaculture, municipal representation put
together a board and it has functioned, up until Monday night, extremely well and the original motion from
that RADAC was to gather more scientific advice on the possibility of fish being grown in that area. As a
result, they have made numerous motions and in good faith, many people have done a lot of planning, a lot
of work, many provincial-federal agencies along with the community, have been very active in processing and
coming up with a plan for experimental fish grow-out sites in the Annapolis Basin. At this time, the
information that I have made available to me is only up to and including Monday but not since Monday.
Unfortunately, the information has not been sent to me in an official manner.



MR. LEEFE: I must say I have some sympathy for the minister, as the information he is getting
seems to be a little kaleidoscopic. Every time he looks through the little telescope, it seems to change on him.
I know that that can be very frustrating.



The minister is quoted in today’s Halifax Chronicle-Herald as saying, “Commitments have been made
to quite a number of people,”. I wonder if the minister could advise the House what the nature of those
commitments are and is he referencing commitments by government to people and with respect to people, is
he referring specifically to the three apparently successful applicants? Are those commitments by way of oral
commitment, are they by way of a letter of intent, by way of an expression in writing from the minister, by
way of legal agreement?



MR. BARKHOUSE: A week ago, there was a request for tender proposals and seven submissions
were made. Eight independent adjudicators assessed the matters. Three were selected and four were rejected.
Each were notified, I believe, by phone and may have also been notified by mail of the winning proposals and
of the ones that did not win. Since that time, the process has been one of setting up the environmental plan
that was requested by the RADAC. Also the funding for the RADAC for the environmental plan is also being
put into place. The proponents that have been given the permission when all the environmental studies and
information is put in place, they are now making plans and have placed orders for fish, for equipment, for
anchors, from the feed companies. There are a lot of people in the system, who have already made
commitments based on the information that I was given, based on the resolutions that have been provided by
the RADACs up to and including Monday.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens, a supplementary. Is this the final?



MR. LEEFE: Yes, the final. I thank the minister, he makes it quite clear that there is a substantial
amount of money out there, that is at risk if things continue to fall apart.



My final supplementary to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is this, has the government given final approval
to the three companies that have been deemed to have successful applications with respect to the advice given
to him and does that approval involve the issuance of leases?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear that no final approvals have been
given as of this time. We are still waiting for all the other 12 departments that are involved in providing lease
clearances. That information is still being prepared along with the information on the scientific studies which
must be implemented before anything goes into the basin, before any buoys go in. I am proceeding on course
and have instructed the staff to continue in the direction of processing the license applications. Until the
information is all readily made available to myself from the Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans and all other agencies, I cannot sign a lease until all of that information is made available. It is not
in our hands yet so until some future time this information is made available nothing will happen. But the
proponents are planning and manufacturing cages and ordering fish and that is the normal process. At the
present time I am steering on a steady course in the direction in which we have been instructed and given
advice by the RADAC as of up until Monday.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Human Resources on very quick introduction.



HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, sorry to intrude upon Question Period. Seated in the east gallery,
an individual who does not grace this House that often, famous for being my father’s brother but also for some
good work on the pastoral side of things and definitely in the non-political arena, my uncle, Father Frank
Abbass from Ben Eoin. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



HUMAN RIGHTS - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: APPOINTMENT - STATUS



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Premier. It
concerns the long overdue appointment of a new Executive Director for the Human Rights Commission.
During the 1993 election, the Liberals campaigned on a commitment to strengthen the Human Rights
Commission and to restructure it in such a way as to ensure that it operated more effectively and more
independently of the government. The Liberals also pledged to ensure that the Human Rights Commission
had the resources and the support it needed to effectively execute its mandate. To state the obvious, one of the
things that the Human Rights Commission requires is an Executive Director. It is now 16 months since the
government launched a search process for a new Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission with
a great deal of fanfare in January 1994, not 1995. I wonder if the Premier could report on where that Human
Rights Executive Director appointment has bogged down and when we can expect that appointment to be
announced?



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the question. It is indeed a cogent
and very sensible question. We have had a long and arduous search in a well-advertised position and I would
hope that the report would be before Cabinet within the next two weeks.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I know that as far back as July 1994, close to a year ago, it was
reported that a consultant had been hired and that expenses of $12,500 had been incurred in connection with
this recruitment and search process. I wonder if the Premier could indicate whether there is, in fact, a firm
recommendation in the government’s hand and when it was received.



THE PREMIER: Madam Speaker, yes there are recommendations in front of us and the Cabinet will
decide.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Madam Speaker, the Liberals were also quite outspokenly critical of the
Human Rights Commission during the last election and pledged to restructure it in a number of important
ways, involving changes to the Act and involving the assurance that the Human Rights Commission would
be established in such a way as to be able to function more autonomously and with more adequate resources,
both for enforcement purposes and also public education purposes.



[3:15 p.m.]



I wonder if the Premier could indicate whether the appointment of a new Executive Director will be
accompanied by these important changes, to ensure that the new director and the new commission can, in fact,
be as effective and independent as the Liberals promised during the election campaign would be the case if
they were elected to office?



THE PREMIER: Well, Mr. Speaker, anybody who believes the Human Rights Commissioner is not
independent cannot be living on this planet. It is an independent organization.



I might add too, Mr. Speaker, that we benefitted from the wise advice we received from our
colleagues on the opposite bench when, for instance, we put out, in response to a question, whether or not the
Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commissioner might be merged. That was a matter that we discussed
both with the New Democratic Party and also with the Progressive Conservative Party. So if it has taken time,
it is because we are doing it properly and because the person that we eventually get will, I hope, be the best
person absolutely available.



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



TRANSPORT.: HIGHWAY NO. 104 - TOLLS



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of
Transportation and Communications. As I understand it, the minister is planning to make an announcement
tomorrow respecting the private/public partnership concerning Highway No. 104. While the minister has
certainly not been clear about the facts relating to this issue, he has, from time to time, discussed the
possibility of tolls on this particular section of highway. Media reports today indicate the tolls could be as high
as $3.00 for passenger cars and will certainly be more for commercial vehicles.



What he has said has been unclear and sometimes he evades questions, Madam Speaker. My question
is simply, if tolls are going to be $3.00 or more as a result of $26 million being diverted to a secondary road,
what would the tolls be if he had not diverted the $26 million?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, the member is absolutely right, I will be making an
announcement tomorrow. I think a couple of days ago we heard his seatmate talk about $7.00 tolls and $12
tolls and who would own this section of road, for example. At times they seem to have a lot more information
on this than I do, so I would suggest that if he wants to wait until the announcement is made tomorrow, he
may get answers to some of those questions.



MR. TAYLOR: I certainly have been waiting a long time for answers, as have the travelling public
in Nova Scotia. It is my understanding, Madam Speaker, that before the tolls can be erected on our province’s
highways, specifically the Trans Canada Highway, legislation must be put in place to enable this Liberal
Government to do the unthinkable and erect toll booths on the highways of this province. I am wondering,
does the minister intend to introduce legislation to effect toll booths in this province?



MR. MANN: Madam Speaker, the whole issue of tolling is one that has been discussed at some
length in this province for some time. I talked about it as early as January 1994, in speeches and at other
places. The short answer to his question is yes.



MR. TAYLOR: I believe the minister was very clear that, yes, he is going to introduce legislation
to enable this Liberal Government to erect tolls on Nova Scotia’s highways.



Now, Madam Speaker, will the minister tell this House and Nova Scotians if his proposed legislation
will be similar to the casino legislation, in that it will enable this Liberal Government to erect toll booths on
any Nova Scotia highway, or will it be specific to the Masstown to Thomson Station section of Highway No.
104?



MR. MANN: Madam Speaker, that question will clearly be answered. I assume the member will be
able to read the legislation when it is introduced, and it will answer those questions.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



NAT. RES. - NSRL: PROFIT (01/04/94-31/12/94) - DETAILS



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The
financial statement for NSRL from April 1, 1994, to December 31, 1994, I am sure the minister is aware of
the audited statement. There was a profit, after all servicing of the debt, in that nine month period. I would
wonder if the minister could indicate the profit after the servicing of the debt during that nine month period?



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Madam Speaker, in regard to the nine month period, rebalancing of the
company’s assets, the reality is that the profit that was there was not taken into account, the servicing overall
of all the debt. I don’t have the exact number at the top of my head, but I would be happy to bring it for the
member later on.



MR. MOODY: Maybe to help the minister’s memory, it is $11 million, is my understanding, after
servicing the debt. I would ask the minister if $11 million does ring a bell. My understanding was, in the
audited statements, that it did service all the debt from that period of time, from April 1, 1994, to December
31, 1994. Would the minister confirm that those numbers now are correct?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to confirm. I just do not have the numbers with me
and I would be happy to get the exact numbers. There were two numbers that I was aware of. One was prior
to the servicing of any debt. But I would be happy to bring the honourable member the numbers that he
requires.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister offering to provide a copy of that audited
statement and I will look forward to that. I would ask the minister, in the last supplementary, given the fact
that he will provide me with the audited statement, would he indicate to me, after now dismantling NSRL,
how the debt is going to be serviced and since there was a profit during that period of time, how is the debt
now going to be serviced with the changes that he has now made?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the debt would never be serviced with the mismanagement of the former
government of the day, the way they handled NSRL in the past, nor would the taxpayers ever be able to realize
anything out of that corporation. The reality is that the company, NSRL, a Crown Corporation, was in a
process of producing oil and, yes, we will be able to service the costs of the servicing of the debt of the
company last year and this year because of the production side, but after that it is not. That is one of the
reasons we decided to dispense with the Crown Corporation. We will be disposing of the assets accordingly
and, once and for all, get out of the oil and gas business as a Crown Corporation.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



FIN. - CONVENTIONS: SALES TAX - EXEMPTION



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. It was with
considerable interest that I noticed the plans by your department to eliminate the sales tax on convention goers
coming into the Province of Nova Scotia. You said in your speech that this exemption would apply to hotel
and motel accommodations of convention goers. With the elimination of this tax, I wonder if the minister
could tell me if he had discussions with the Minister of Tourism in regard to this matter and how much money
would they anticipate saving by giving this tax break?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, to assist the honourable member with some of the
information he requests, I might refer that question to the Minister of Tourism.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism. (Laughter) It is hard. We do not have a
Minister of Tourism any more. It is officially the honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: It is a cumbersome little title. The answer to the question is that we
did discuss, obviously, the impact of a recommendation that came out of the tourism industry, through
Voluntary Planning and to the Department of Finance by other means. The ratio of investment in to return
on investment is, perhaps twofold and threefold. The Department of Finance is working out the specific
numbers but, clearly in terms of, for instance, a million dollars worth of tax forgiveness, there is the potential
for a two to three times return on investment, not to mention the very critical attractive package that derives
when you have, first of all, a 10 per cent rebate but also the infrastructure that will be left behind in the
metropolitan area, at least, from the G-7 Summit.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that but I don’t know if the minister understood my
question correctly. I was wondering, how many more conventions are we going to bring into Nova Scotia by
having this tax break being made available to them?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I wish I had that ability. Clearly we are in an internationally
competitive market place for convention business. We have a rather intimate setting here in a city of 200,000
to 250,000. We have not only in Halifax, but throughout the province, the ability to attract convention
business by accredited and registered conventions. The tourism industry has spoken out completely in favour
of this. As to exactly how many more conventions will be triggered by this kind of competitiveness, I can’t
give you that answer, but I can give you the more detailed analysis of the return on investment for the tax
forgiveness that has been created here.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me that a lot of people that go to conventions are on
expenses from one thing or another and I just wonder whether we will be able to receive extra conventions
from this initiative and I hope we can.



Will the minister assure me that not only conventions from outside the province but also conventions
initiated inside the province are tax free as well?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I just received a report that I assume went to all MLAs, which was
the grading - oh the very report you’re quoting - well, what mark did we get for conventions?



AN HON. MEMBER: It said Grade A.



MR. HARRISON: A-plus. (Applause) Thank you. I knew it was a good mark, I just wasn’t sure
whether it was plus. (Interruption) My own colleagues, what can I say? I’ve forgotten the question. (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: It is the turn of the New Democratic Party now, but we will return to you later on.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



ERA - MINAS BASIN PULP & POWER CO.:

 

CARDBOARD - RECYCLING CAPACITY



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency is on a roll, so I
will direct a question to the minister as well.



The minister recently announced a multimillion dollar loan guarantee to the Minas Basin Pulp and
Power Company to assist it in developing and expanding so that it can be involved in increased recycling of
cardboard products. This is an example of where economic benefits can genuinely result from the new
environmental industries that are opening up.



My question to the minister is quite simply, will the Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company be able
to recycle, will they be able to handle all of the cardboard that is produced and used in the Province of Nova
Scotia? Will that plant have the capacity to handle that?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes. There are approximately 67,000 tons
of corrugated cardboard in the province. The plant capacity with the injection of capital from the company
itself, plus the loan, will increase the plant’s ability to process to 90,000 tons of fully recycled post-consumer
liner board, they call it, but cardboard to you and I.



MR. HOLM: I would like to direct my next question to the Minister of the Environment. In the report
that was tabled today, Towards a Solid Waste Management Strategy for Nova Scotia, it says, “The panel
believes that selective landfill disposal bans are appropriate and useful, but must be accompanied by a clear
environmental or diversion benefit and an accessible and cost-effective alternative method of management.”.



Well, Mr. Speaker, we have just heard from the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency that such
a process and management strategy now exists, courtesy of the expansion of the Minas Basin Pulp and Power
Company. So my question to the Minister of the Environment is quite simply, are you now prepared - and I
am not saying that it would take effect today - to announce that you will ban the incineration or landfill of the
cardboard products in Nova Scotia that now will be able to be handled quite easily by the Minas Basin Pulp
and Power Company? Will the minister make that commitment?



[3:30 p.m.]



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. I will today say that we will review
everything in that report. It is a reflection of the public, as I said in my remarks today. That report is, indeed,
a document that reflects the opinions of all Nova Scotians. It is our job to immediately get to work and
implement practically all of it, if we can, or as much of it as we can, to make it a working document of our
waste stream management.



MR. HOLM: That sounds like a pretty weak answer, with all respect, Mr. Speaker, given the fact that
the government has provided $15 million, I think it was, in the way of loan guarantees, to a company so that
that company will now, according to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, be able to recycle
23,000 tons more cardboard than is being produced in Nova Scotia. We have a ready market for it; the
company has said they will take, even now, all the material they can get.



My simple question to the minister is this, what is the delay? What is the problem? Why can’t you
make a concrete decision now, something that would help the industry, help create employment and certainly
be friendly to the environment?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, let me say that the whole document speaks well, in terms of doing
something for the people of Nova Scotia and for industries in Nova Scotia related to environment. I will say
that he asked for immediate solutions and I will remind him quickly that there is nothing magical in
immediate solutions and we don’t offer to promise anything immediate.



Mr. Speaker, the project he talks about I think I would refer to my colleague, the Minister for the
Economic Renewal Agency. He can expand upon the immediacy or lack of it, for that very positive
development at New Minas, which is bringing about jobs.



Mr. Speaker, we have to wonder when the questions come about events that will lead to more jobs
and new economic renewal in this province why we get questioned in the negative. I think it is a positive day
for Nova Scotia, looking to the future at new developments and utilizing waste into positive developments and
we are doing that. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



SUPPLY AND SERV. - TRANSPORT.: PAINT CONTRACT - BIDDING POLICY



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Supply and Services. I
noticed a piece in this morning’s paper with regard to the minister coming out with a new policy, I believe
it is tomorrow or Friday, with regard to giving some particular favouritism to Nova Scotia firms in the bidding
process and I applaud the minister for doing that.



However, I noticed in that same article they were talking about an annual event in this province
which is the supply of paint to the Department of Transportation. Mr. Speaker, I presume that you are well
aware that we have in this province a manufacturer of paints, Tibbett’s Paints, and they do manufacture in this
province.



Over the past several years, in fact as far back as I can remember, which goes back about 15 or 16
years now, we always had competition from outside the province, bringing paint into this province to dump
it. Now I am not suggesting that the firm that in this particular case bid against Tibbett’s is dumping but if
past history is any evidence of what is going on at the present time, that would be so.



Now I understand that Tibbett’s is the second highest bidder for that particular contract and, in the
interim period, before the minister comes out with his new policy, will he give some consideration to saying
that the lowest tender in this particular case, which is a Nova Scotian manufacturing firm, be given some
particular edge in the bidding? I believe the difference between the Nova Scotia tender and the New
Brunswick tender is very small. Will he give some consideration to supporting a Nova Scotia manufacturing
concern in the interim period?



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, the honourable gentleman is, indeed, correct. However,
Tibbett’s put in two prices, on two different types of paint; one which met the specifications, one which was
outside of the specifications. One of the prices that was put in that did meet the specifications had a 1.9 per
cent difference. The other was well in excess of 7 per cent in difference.



That matter is under consideration and indeed it is our intention to give every consideration possible
to a local production, the tender is not awarded, it is our intention to give every benefit possible to the
manufacturer in Nova Scotia.



MR. RUSSELL: I think that that is good news for Nova Scotians generally and particularly for those
who are in the manufacturing sector, if indeed, this type of policy is to come into being in the very near future.
So, I would ask the minister, without him giving me the details of what he is going to do on Friday, is it his
intention though, to bias the bidding process in such a way that there will be a percentage differential, which
will automatically be applied to Nova Scotian prices to put them in the ball park?



MR. O’MALLEY: I do thank the honourable member for the question and I also thank him for the
observation that he shouldn’t be asking for the detail of it until it is released. When I will release it, I will give
you all of those details but in terms of the general philosophy, I can indicate to you that absolutely, that is our
intention, it is the intention of this government right from the outset to create jobs in Nova Scotia, which it
has done very successfully. It is on the road to creating more and this is part of the process. When I release
the document, the honourable member will see that in the philosophy. (Applause)



MR. RUSSELL: My final supplementary to the Minister of Supply and Services is simply this, we
are, as I believe, captured under an agreement with the other Atlantic Provinces, or the Maritime Provinces
at the present time, and I was wondering if, indeed, there is sufficient leeway within that agreement for the
minister to make some kind of a policy that does separate local bids from outside-province bids?



MR. O’MALLEY: The honourable member again is very right. Actually, we are under two trade
agreements. We are under an inter-provincial trade agreement, Canada-wide, and we are under the Maritime
Trade Agreement and all of these, we have studied in the paper that we are going to release, which is a White
Paper, for further consumption and public study and public input. We have studied all of the provinces across
Canada and all provinces give some incentive to economic growth within their own province and we intend
to do the same for Nova Scotians in this province and on a global-wide basis across Canada.



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



FISH. - SPORTS FISHING LICENSES: SENIORS - EXEMPTION REMOVAL



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: My question is for the honourable Minister of Fisheries. With changes
taking place respecting Pharmacare, proposed changes to the driving license requirements, et cetera, many
seniors across the province feel they are under seige and attack. Seniors were recently shocked when they
learned that the Minister of Fisheries had removed the exemption that the seniors had enjoyed regarding
sports fishing licenses for an enjoyment that many of them take advantage of on an annual basis; go out and
drown a worm. But the minister removed the exemption and now seniors are required to purchase sports
fishing licenses. My question to the minister is simply this, would the minister indicate to Nova Scotians,
specifically to the seniors, why he removed the exemption?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: The member opposite raised a very good question. We had a
Recreational Fisheries Strategic Plan for Fresh Water Marine Fish Species of Nova Scotia, established by your
government a few years ago. I believe about 1991, this study was implemented through consultants to assess
the needs of the sports recreational fishing in Nova Scotia. As a result of a major study that was completed
and it was tabled in June 1994, recommendations of how the future sports fishing would be funded in Nova
Scotia, was the advice solicited from many Nova Scotians throughout the whole province. We have five
regional areas that have been set up to act as advisors to the Department of Fisheries and we consult with them
on a very regular basis and through this month, we have been consulting with these advisory groups as well.



The groups of people that are involved in these advisory committees are made up of people of all age
groups and there are many seniors in those organizations that give us advice. The advice is to maintain sports
fishing and provide a very important program in the province to ensure that sports fishing will be a very viable
tourism industry and also for recreation, good health and experiences.



The result was that to maintain programs after the program reviews in my department because of the
financial stress that we have in this province, the many billions of dollars that have been laden upon us and
the fact that we have to find revenues to support our existing stocking, conservation and management plans,
it is essential that we have the revenue to do it. On the advice of the people in the fishing industry, we have
taken their consultation, listened to their advice and have structured a financing plan that is based on the user
fee, an endorsement fee, and it also included the senior citizens.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, through you, I go to the Minister of Fisheries. I do note that when
compared to last year the inland fishery budget is some $300,000 less so I don’t see where the Department of
Fisheries is coming forward with any new initiative to enhance fisheries or environment. There is nothing
clearly stated as to what the minister’s department is going to do with these new monies. This year it will cost
seniors some $16.05 to purchase a fishing license, to drown the worm, and considering that many seniors are
on a fixed income and many seniors are outside this advisory committee, will the minister reinstate the
exemption that seniors have enjoyed for many, many years?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I believe it was only a few years ago that the exemption was given.
There is also the GST, we are only charging $15, the GST that the previous Mulroney Government brought
in imposed upon (Interruption) It is that $1.05, your GST that you brought in, sir. I know that the GST is a
bother to everybody and we are concerned about it equally as well.



The funding for this program is to maintain the presence of the stocking program, essential to the
survival of a sports fishing industry throughout Nova Scotia. I believe it is a serious issue. Certainly, there are
many seniors - I believe there were 8,000 people that bought hunting licenses last year - I believe there may
have been about 5,000 that were seniors that went fishing. We are now assessing just how many people in the
province actually obtained a fishing license last year and that information will be shared with you when we
do get it.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, there is not much left which some of our seniors can enjoy but they do
enjoy going and doing a little bit of fishing. I can’t believe that minister has the support of this government
to remove that exemption. My question is this, will the Minister of Fisheries, at the very least, consider a
possible discount for seniors?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, that is a good suggestion. I am glad finally that the Opposition
is coming up with some constructive ideas. (Interruption) I think that Mexican overdrive slipped again. There
is a very serious financial situation in this province. I believe that all other fishing industry agencies have had
to be subjected to user fees. We do have sympathy for the senior citizens and I will certainly take your advice
under advisement.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



AGRIC.: SCHOOL MILK PROGRAM - SHORTFALL



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Agriculture and
Marketing. It is in response to a question from last Thursday in the Legislature when the minister expressed
to me some comments about the School Milk Program, indicating that he was going to ask the industry to take
part and pick up the $400,000 that has been subtracted from the program. I am just wondering, was the
minister referring to the dairy farmers picking up the program or the dairy plants picking up the program?



HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out to the honourable member last week, our
department has had some ongoing discussions with the industry for the last three or four months. Presently
there is a proposal, as a matter of fact, that is being looked at. Part of the proposal is to include chocolate milk
under the present School Milk Program. That is being looked at. That is basically what is being looked at.
Until decisions are made, discussions are ongoing with the industry, and we certainly will provide the
honourable member with the outcome of those decisions.



[3:45 p.m.]



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education, last week the Minister
of Education indicated that he was very interested in the School Milk Program and, you know, that the School
Milk Program was okay and all that sort of thing. He indicated that we should adopt the policy that they have
in New Brunswick whereby the producers or somebody other than government looks after it.






In the Province of New Brunswick the Department of Education purchased the coolers that are
located within the schools. My question to the Minister of Education is, the milk coolers that are currently
provided by the dairies, will the Department of Education purchase those coolers and save the dairies and the
schools the money from doing so?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: First of all, I can tell the honourable member and, Mr. Speaker,
through you to all members of the House, that in fact we are very interested in that program. When I was on
the opposite side of the House when that honourable member first cut the program significantly, I was one
of the people who was significantly critical of him.



Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member, and if I might, when I heard of the negotiations
between the honourable Minister of Agriculture and the industry, I assured him and the public through
comments I made in the paper that, as they worked through, if I can be of any assistance in strengthening that
program, I will be more than willing to do that.



Presently, it is a program that has been developed by the Department of Agriculture and they are
involved in negotiations and I have great confidence in the honourable Minister of Agriculture. I can assure
you, Mr. Speaker, and all members of the House that as this develops I will be there to provide assistance and
I express that to all members of the House here.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the Minister of Agriculture and I am
sure that he feels reassured and all Nova Scotians feel reassured that the Minister of Education is now taking
an interest in the milk program. I would like to ask the Minister of Agriculture when the last time he met with
the dairy producers in this province to discuss the School Milk Program?



HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, some ongoing meetings have been taking place, especially
in the month of January/February with the industry. At the present time, I know some of the department staff
have certainly been discussing with the dairies, with the milk producers. We anticipate, very shortly, that we
will have some indication in terms of the proposal that is before our department to look at. How we are going
to react and respond to it and then we will certainly keep on this ongoing discussion with the industry itself.



Now, however, regardless of the outcome of those discussions, we might certainly as I have pointed
out earlier that the present school year, the School Milk Program is not being affected. We are looking at
making some changes to the present school milk for the next school year looking at September 1st. So, at the
present time nothing has been finalized in terms of what the present School Milk Program will look like as
of September 1st. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



HOUSING - WOMEN’S DIRECTORATE: MOVE - REASON



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of
Housing and Consumer Affairs. When the government, last year, moved the Women’s Directorate from
Housing and Consumer Affairs to Human Resources the Minister of Human Resources presented, what I
thought was actually quite a convincing argument, for why she felt that the Women’s Directorate would be
better served if it were located in the Department of Human Resources, arguing that this would allow them
to work directly with the staffing and compensation division of the department and deal with issues related
to affirmative action, equality and pay equity.



This year, Mr. Speaker, the budget shunts the Women’s Directorate from the Department of Human
Resources back to the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs. I would like to ask the minister what
has changed? What rationale does she now offer for why this year the Women’s Directorate, the Department
of Human Resources and the women of Nova Scotia are better served by having the Women’s Directorate
relocated yet again to the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the question because I realize it does present
some confusion. I want to reassure the member opposite that the Women’s Directorate physically is still within
the Department of Human Resources building and works hand in hand with the Affirmative Action Program
under the Department of Human Resources.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am standing here with that very valuable document which
I have congratulated the Minister of Finance for on more than one occasion, where it sets out under Housing
and Consumer Affairs, Restructuring Initiatives, “The Women’s Directorate has been transferred from the
Department of Human Resources.”, to Housing and Consumer Affairs.



I wonder if the minister could please clear up the confusion which this statement she has just made
here in the House causes, around where on earth the Women’s Directorate is to be located?



MRS. NORRIE: I believe the history of the Women’s Directorate is that at one time it was under the
Minister of Housing and when it moved from there it followed the Deputy Minister of Health. When I became
Minister responsible for the Status of Women, the Deputy Minister of Health was the deputy minister who
was responsible for the directorate. It was housed in the same facility as the Department of Consumer Affairs,
in the Terminal Road building.



It has since been physically moved into the Department of Human Resources and works hand in hand
with affirmative action and with the compensation division of the Department of Human Resources. It will
remain there and the Deputy Minister of Human Resources is still the deputy minister to the Women’s
Directorate.



The numbers in the budget have been moved to the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs
because, as minister responsible, it makes it easier for me to work with the administration of the funding of
it but not the actual operation of it, as Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs. So the Women’s Directorate
itself is still housed in the Department of Human Resources and works hand in hand with the compensation
division and with the Affirmative Action Program.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to be able to say that the minister has cleared up the
confusion but I think she has caused greater confusion now because what she has talked about is where the
Women’s Directorate is housed. The question is whether she is the Minister responsible for the Women’s
Directorate or not and whether the compelling arguments offered last year for why it was so important
administratively for the Women’s Directorate to be tied in with the Department of Human Resources in order
to deal with these important equity issues, whether those arguments no longer apply?






My question is not where it is housed. Frankly, I am housed in an office building with dozens of other
agencies, organizations and businesses. The question is whether she is responsible, as minister, for the
Women’s Directorate and what happened to the rationale for why it should be tightly tied to the Department
of Human Resources?



MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, yes, I am still the Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate.
The deputy minister who serves that function is the Deputy Minister of Human Resources. That is not any
different than it was when I was minister when the Deputy Minister of Health was responsible for the
Women’s Directorate. When I first took over as Minister responsible for the Status of Women, the Deputy
Minister of Health at that time was responsible for the Women’s Directorate. So it is still with the Department
of Human Resources as a function and works with the Deputy Minister of Human Resources.



As the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, I am also responsible for the Women’s Directorate
and, as I have said, it works within the division of the Department of Human Resources closely with the
Affirmative Action Program that is there. It is still the same function as happened previously and the
argument still stands.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



MUN. AFFS.: MUNICIPAL SERVICE EXCHANGE - CONSULTANTS



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, 54 municipal units in this
province still have not had their municipal destiny determined by new legislation, but those same units are
dealing with the additional costs of service exchange and are trying to make changes within their structure
to reduce costs. My question to the minister, is the minister receiving requests from any of these 54 municipal
units to appoint a departmental consultant to assist them with such things as blending of services and such
things as, perhaps, altering the form of local government?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.



DR. HAMM: I thank the minister. Would the minister outline for the House, in general terms, the
role that these departmental consultants will play in their duties that are being assigned to them as a result
of the requests that are coming in to the minister?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. It is a very broad
question, but I will try to deal with it in a few instances.



We have not assigned anybody from our department to be a coordinator. There are not any specific
terms of references for anybody from our department as a coordinator. We certainly have had discussions, as
the honourable member is quite aware, with New Glasgow and Westville, when those two municipalities had
come forward and asked to have an opportunity to share services and to be able to contract back and forth with
each other. We had some general discussions with them and I certainly gave them all the support that I could
from the department, but nobody from the department officially was involved in that decision. We certainly,
as the honourable member is aware, have Queens and Liverpool that had a report done for themselves. They
actually hired two individuals to act as public consultants, to go out and have input. They have brought back
a report and I know that those two councils are looking very seriously at that report.



DR. HAMM: By way of final supplementary would the minister then confirm that, on request, she
is prepared to provide persons in an advisory capacity to municipal units that are requesting assistance in
making these adjustments and would she also confirm that there would be no charge to the unit for this
service?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, certainly the Department of Municipal Affairs is more than willing to
help any municipality in any number of functions. We certainly help them with their budgets, we help them
with any difficulties they have in developing by-laws or in being able to run some parts of the municipality.
Certainly we have said very clearly to all municipalities that if they want to come forward or if they are
interested in looking at service exchange on a level of where various services could be provided by one
municipality, if they want to look at the boundary issue, that we in the department are very pleased to provide
whatever expertise we can. Where it is provided by the Department of Municipal Affairs, certainly there is
no direct charge to a municipality for some of that service but, as you know, in the past, should there be a
coordinator appointed outside the department, we certainly have, there have been two of those appointed and
they have both been totally paid for by the Department of Municipal Affairs.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



EDUC.: WHITE PAPER - SAVINGS SOURCE



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. The minister
spoke yesterday in Question Period and at the end of Question Period, he talked about the conservative nature
of his figure of $6 million, which he expects to save as a result of cuts to administration in our education
system, as described in the White Paper. It appears that the minister is either wrong or is misleading the
House and the public when he uses that number. The school boards association (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: I have already ruled that that turn of phrase is a bit heavy. (Interruption)



MR. DONAHOE: The school boards association for the province, on the other hand, has, as the
minister well knows, contended province-wide that the minister’s figures are wrong because they are based
on calculations relating to the 1993-94 numbers and I wonder if the minister, in light of the commitment
which he made yesterday here in this House that he would provide figures generated by himself, he referred
me to an accountant who is a member of the Digby School Board for clarification but I would rather the
minister’s numbers than some Digby School Board member accountant’s numbers. Is the minister in a position
to table today the numbers which were promised yesterday which would as he said yesterday, dispel the facts
issued by the NSSBA?



[4:00 p.m.]



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: I thank the honourable member for the question. First of all, I can
tell him that I spoke to my staff today, we will probably have details tomorrow for the House and I will table
them here.



While I am on the floor and the honourable Leader of the Opposition holding me to a commitment
on April 6th, he said in response to a challenge from Richard Mann that he would table a document indicating
what Mr. Mann said relative to seniors on the highway. He said he would have it tomorrow, so I would ask
him when he gets up for a supplementary to tell me when he is going to have that document tabled?



MR. DONAHOE: In the fullness of time. Question Period I thought went the other way, Mr. Speaker.
My supplementary to the Minister of Education and I thank him for the commitment, I take it I have a
commitment that the numbers generated by the department will, in fact, be tabled here tomorrow. I think that
is the commitment that I have gotten.



In one of the responses that the minister made mention of earlier, he said that his figures applied to
five or seven boards as outlined in the White Paper and then he yesterday mentioned nine and maybe we are
talking about nine boards. I wonder if the minister can tell me and all of the very interested public across the
province whether he is considering increasing the number of boards as has, in fact, been suggested as he well
knows by many members, parents and teachers across the province? Is he, in fact, contemplating an increase
of the number of district school boards from those suggested in the White Paper?



MR. MACEACHERN: I can inform the honourable member through you and to all members of the
House that our request of the people of the Province of Nova Scotia was that we were proposing two and we
requested that if there was a consensus around the third that satisfied the three requirements we had, we would
be pleased to consider that and we are in the process of doing that and that may involve something more than
seven because we didn’t rule that out. The one thing that has been agreed is that the 22 that presently exist
are too many. There seems to be consensus across the Province of Nova Scotia on that.



MR. DONAHOE: The minister stated on April 5th, that he would take something like 27 days to
review the proposal submitted in response to the White Paper. I ask the minister today whether or not he will
give an assurance or a commitment here in this place to educators and to parents and to students and to boards
that his response to the review of the White Paper presentations following his review of everything he receives
from across the province will, in fact, be made public and available for some further consideration and
assessment before the legislation which he has tabled in this House this session will be called for debate. Is
he prepared to give that undertaking?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, what the honourable Leader of the Opposition is sentencing
some boards to is to go into bankruptcy. To suggest that we don’t act immediately, and Guysborough is a very
particular example, to do something to help Guysborough out, is to sentence them to bankruptcy and that is
what he is suggesting as he speaks. We, in fact, consulted with the province (Interruption) The honourable
member, if he would listen for a moment, in fact, we have spent six weeks . . .



MR. DONAHOE: I am listening but it is all poppycock thus far.



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, he can accept the answer as given.



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



HOUSING: MOBILE HOMES ADVISORY COMM. - REPORT



MR. JOHN HOLM: We will return to that topic another day. I want to direct my question to the
Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs. The minister, of course, will know that there are many thousands
of Nova Scotians who are living in mobile home parks and that these residents are both property owners,
mortgage payers, taxpayers, yet at the same time they are also renters. As a result of the difficulties and
concerns that they have had a Mobile Homes Advisory Committee was established. My question to the
minister is quite simply, has the report now been completed and if not, why not?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: During my briefing I am aware that there has been a committee
appointed and I do not have a report back from them as yet.



MR. HOLM: I saw the minister just getting a briefing. Well, that committee was struck last spring,
it has held countless meetings, it has had draft reports going back many months that have been looked at. My
question to the minister is quite simply this, why hasn’t the government put a push on to ensure that a report
is brought in so that the kind of abuse that those tenants often have to take will come to an end and so that
they will have some concrete solutions to the problems that they face?



MRS. NORRIE: I do have sympathy for anybody who is taking any kind of abuse and if that is so
I am sure that the report will reveal that and as soon as I have that available to me I will take action and I will
keep the member opposite informed.



MR. HOLM: I can’t help but feel that the minister is taken completely off-guard in essence, that she
doesn’t really know about the committee and so on and I will take that and the fact that the minister is, in fact,
a new minister and has assumed a lot of new responsibility. I don’t wish to be too harsh.



My final question then to the minister is quite simply this, will the minister speak with her staff and
come back and report to this house before the end of the week to explain where that process currently stands,
what is happening with the advisory board and tell us when we can expect and more importantly when mobile
home owners can expect that a report which will contain concrete recommendations will be in the minister’s
hands?



MRS. NORRIE: I do appreciate the member opposite’s patience with my understanding of the issue
and as soon as the report is available I will bring it to the House.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



HOUSING - RENT INCREASES: POLICY - REVIEW



MR. DONALD MCINNES: My question is also to the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.
I read with interest a letter to the editor in Monday’s provincial paper and I will table it for the minister to see
in case she hasn’t seen it, but it was sent in from the Greenwood Manor Tenants Association of Antigonish.
The tenants are very concerned there about the increase in their rental fees and the letter indicates and asks
the minister if she would be prepared to review the department’s rental increases adopted by the provincial
government. Does the minister feel this is a reasonable request and when will she do it?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Yes, I was aware of the letter to the editor and I think my understanding
is that the review program that was adopted last year has been for the most part accepted across the province
and I am not about at this time to make any changes in the program.



MR. MCINNES: I am sure the tenants from the Antigonish Greenwood Manor Tenants Association
will be very disappointed to hear that. This government has imposed tax on Pharmacare, user fees on
Pharmacare, increases in fishing licenses for seniors, when will it all stop? Will the minister communicate
to the members of that housing association in Antigonish that she is not going to review this?



MRS. NORRIE: The Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs offers a wide range of programs
to seniors right across the province. There are more than 7,600 units available to seniors and I think that there
is housing that is affordable and it is also comfortable and secure for seniors. I am very proud of the programs
that are made available by the province for the seniors of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: We have 30 seconds left. The honourable member for Colchester -Musquodoboit
Valley with a very short snapper.



HEALTH - REGIONAL BD. (CENTRAL): APPOINTMENTS - ADDITIONAL



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: My question is for the honourable Minister of Health. I suggested to the
Minister of Health many times, how grossly under-represented many of the rural areas of the Central Regional
Health Board were. I wonder if the minister can tell us if he has been able to make a determination, as to
whether there will be additional appointments made to the Central Regional Health Board?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, that would be decided by the regional health board, if
they feel they need additional members for representation, then any request should be addressed to the
regional health board chair and they would, of course, consider that.



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



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Briefly, Mr. Speaker, during Question Period I quoted extensively
from a Liberal election platform document outlining five concerns about the Human Rights Commission’s
inability to function independent of the government. I failed to table that document, as the rules require that
I do. I now want to do so, in compliance with the House Rules but also because the Premier said, that anybody
who had such concerns was clearly living in outer space.



I guess we now know why the commitments to restructuring the Human Rights Commission have
not been kept because they, too, have evaporated into outer space.



MR. SPEAKER: This is the tabling of a document. I will state that the document is tabled and the
matter is closed.



OPPOSITION MEMBERS’ BUSINESS



MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 55.



Res. No. 55, re Transport.- Seniors: Driving Licenses - Restrictions - notice given Apr. 6/95 - (Mr.
T. Donahoe)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to make certain
remarks relative to this resolution. I tabled it on April 6th. The operative clause, you will know from a reading
of it, is simply this:



“Therefore be it resolved that this House agree that there be no mandatory age-related delicensing
or degraduating of drivers’ licenses held by the province’s seniors.”.



I tabled that resolution because as a consequence of a speech made by the Minister of Transportation
and Communications, reported in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald of March 31st, very great concern and
confusion was created across the seniors’ community in the Province of Nova Scotia. I will just very briefly
quote from that press report. It is, as I say, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald of March 31, 1995.



The story opens - it is from the Truro bureau and the byline is Steve Proctor; “The government may
soon side-swipe the driving careers of seniors who are rattled by heavy traffic or unnerved by high speeds on
highways. Transportation Minister Richie Mann told an audience in Truro Wednesday his department is
looking at a `de-graduated’ licensing scheme to deal with safety issues posed by older drivers. Under the plan,
seniors could have their licenses restricted to certain routes or their driving privileges limited to certain times
of day.”.



The article goes on to say; “Because there is no specific age when people begin to have problems
driving, the scheme might be implemented in conjunction with mandatory testing at a certain age.”.



Our office was just absolutely flooded with calls and faxes and expressions of concern, that the
minister was planning, as a result of these remarks, a very serious assault, if I may use that word, on . . .



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I want to point out one thing as the
member begins his remarks. The reporter for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald was not in attendance when I gave
my address. In fact, the information he gathered was from other people, the day following the address. So,
while some of the quotes there may, in fact, be from remarks I gave, they are certainly not directly quoted
from me because, in fact, there were no press at the function I attended. In fact, they did not talk to me about
that story before it appeared. I am not indicating that there are misquotes there or anything like that but I
wouldn’t want the member . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: I was there.



MR. MANN: That is right, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit was there and I
certainly acknowledged his presence. But I would point that out as he is referring to direct quotes, in fact, that
is not the case. I think the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit could back that up.



MR. SPEAKER: All right. The honourable minister has made his point.



[4:15 p.m.]



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, we know from subsequent events here in this place that such a speech
was delivered, that the substance of what is reported was, in fact, said by the minister. His comments of a
moment ago were interesting and I am sure factual (Interruption) and all that but I repeat, we have already
had a discussion here in this place subsequent to the delivery of the speech which verifies that remarks to this
effect were made. It appears, therefore, the reason the seniors community across the province is tremendously
distressed by the prospects of a deregulation process or a process that would interfere or impinge upon their
driving abilities and rights and entitlements and indeed their privilege, so hence the resolution which I
introduced.



It appears the government, in all of its wisdom, has determined, or so it seems, to be fair, to now have
the impression very widely abroad that once you are a senior, once you turn the magic age of 65, you are no
longer deemed to be totally fit or totally healthy and that in essence you may well be a danger to public safety.



Mr. Speaker, I was astounded to read in Hansard that the Minister of Transportation said his
government’s announcement about its plan to degraduate seniors’ driver’s licenses was motivated out of a sense
of concern over their safety, out of a sense of love for our loved ones was the expression used. This is the
minister who in recent weeks has been mocked for his absolute disregard for the public safety of Nova Scotia’s
driving public and he then tells seniors that this action to deregulate and to change the circumstances whereby
a senior can have driving privileges was motivated out of this sense of their safety and concern for their safety
and love for them. The government’s proposal to degraduate their licenses is precipitated over his concern
about their safety and well-being. He stood in this House two weeks ago and said that degraduating senior’s
licenses and I quote him, not from a newspaper report, but from Hansard, Page 312, “. . . not about creating
hardship for anybody, it is about highway safety. I have a responsibility to that.”. That was the Minister of
Transportation and Communications.



We all know about the minister’s commitment to public safety and so do Nova Scotian seniors. Can
you imagine, this is the same minister who ripped this $26 million out of an agreement established to deal
with the most treacherous stretch of highway in this province and he tells seniors that he is motivated by
public safety and out of a sense of concern and love for Nova Scotian seniors.



Taking away the driver’s licenses of seniors will in effect remove, for those who are so effected, their
independence. You, Mr. Speaker, all of us who know from family members and other seniors with whom we
deal, if you take away their independence, you take away virtually all they have to live for. There are already
ways and means available to remove the driver’s licenses of those who are deemed medically not fit to drive
but to suggest that all seniors are medically suspect is nothing short of discrimination and as many seniors
have told us, is an assault on their civil liberties. Many seniors voluntarily have medical examinations to
determine their driving abilities and many more take part in programs such as the 55-Alive Program.



The minister says that as a result of programs such as these, they come across seniors who are a
danger to themselves and to the public. I would suggest that any refresher program for drivers of any age
would turn up individuals who would or should perhaps not be on the road. I wonder if the minister really
believes that we should implement a new mandatory testing program for every driver on our highways? If he
does, he should perhaps say so.



More and more seniors are calling our office, calling the Senior Citizens Secretariat and asking, what
is next? What possibly could come next? What can this government possibly do next to the seniors of this
province? Every week there seems to be something new. They cite the Minister of Transportation’s
announcement with respect to degraduating their licenses, the issue which is addressed in this resolution.
They cite the new Pharmacare Program, a Pharmacare Program they are obligated to pay into whether they
want to or not. We have actually had a number of seniors tell us that they will go to jail before they will pay
one red cent to the government for Pharmacare. Not a terribly smart position to take, but nonetheless a
position which they very strongly voice to us.



They say it is discriminatory and it is an assault on their rights and the Minister of Health, the
Premier and this government should not, in my opinion, underestimate their resolve. The seniors who call
us in relation to this issue and others cite the decision to increase the rental fees for senior’s housing from 25
per cent to 30 per cent of a senior’s income. They cite the elimination of the property tax rebate and the rental
assistance programs for all new seniors, a decision that clearly flies in the face of their stated policy of keeping
seniors in their homes as long as possible.



They cite even the new fees that they are now being forced to pay to go fishing and they cannot even
go fishing without this government’s hand digging into their pockets; pockets that are being picked dry by this
government. All of these actions that have been dumped on Nova Scotia seniors at a time when they are
suffering a great deal of anxiety and stress of a result of cut backs to our health care system generally. They
are saying, the government is closing our hospitals, they are cutting the number of beds and we do not see
anything of the promises that have been made with respect to home care or emergency health services. Seniors
are saying that all they see this government doing is cutting and cutting and cutting and they tell us that they
hear this government saying trust us, Nova Scotia is going to have the best of this and the best of that, just
trust us, just wait and see.



Well, the government is hardly earning the trust of the Nova Scotia seniors on the basis of the many
to whom I have been speaking. As a matter of fact, this government is earning their absolute disdain. Seniors
are very, very angry in all parts of this province and for very good reason, not the least of which is the
government’s stated intention to pursue degraduated licensing of seniors, a move that will, I think, be seen
to jeopardize their independence and as Dr. Fred MacKinnion stated - and many in this House will know Dr.
Fred MacKinnon who has served for something close to 50 years in the public service of this province and
for the last many, many years with the Senior Citizens Secretariat - recently in a public statement in reaction
to the Minister of Transportation’s speech, Dr. MacKinnon said, the director of the province’s Senior Citizens
Secretariat has no problem with retesting, nor do I, but Fred MacKinnon said that putting license restrictions
on seniors could evoke great hardship; for someone to lose driving privileges is a serious business, especially
devastating for someone in the country who might not have another way to get around. He said that any plan
would have to proceed cautiously and recognize driving is vitally important to everyone, especially the seniors.



So, it was on the strength of the concerns from many seniors that I did introduce the resolution back
on April 6th and I wanted it called for debate and for some discussion here, mostly to ensure if, in fact, it is
possible to ensure with this government and I hope in this instance it is, that there will be very, very
significant dialogue with those organizations which speak for the seniors of Nova Scotia. I see the Minister
of Health who may be the government member who proposes to respond or make remarks relative to this
resolution, I am not sure.



I sincerely hope that the calling of the resolution will have the effect of having this government have
extensive dialogue and discourse with the organizations dealing with the seniors of the Province of Nova
Scotia so that we do not find that there is precipitous action taken relative to the deregulation of driving
privileges in the province.



The seniors of this province are a pretty sensible and serious lot. They are thousands of them in this
province who come to the conclusion, reluctantly, but voluntarily that their facilities and their skills are no
longer such as to enable them to feel that they can drive comfortably and safely. My father at age 85 happens
to be one of those.



I simply raise this issue so that we would raise some cautions with this government that if any policy
change is made, that it be made on the basis that there not be, first of all, a blanket policy that if any Nova
Scotian reaches age - pick a number, 65, 71, 68, 76, pick a number, I do not care - bingo! Automatically that
person no longer has driving privileges.



That cannot happen, it should not happen, it would be inappropriate and discriminatory. I simply
urge the government, by having this matter called for debate today, that serious dialogue be opened up with
the seniors of the Province of Nova Scotia; that a discussion paper be prepared that addresses the various
issues so that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature could have a look at it, could then follow up with
discussion with the seniors of the Province of Nova Scotia and make sure that together, we come to an honest,
open and fair system that is in the best interests of all seniors of Nova Scotia, to protect their independence
and to protect the safety of all people who use the highways of the Province of Nova Scotia. Thank you, Mr.
Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable the Minister of Education.



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise and discuss this
resolution that addresses a great concern to the seniors of Nova Scotia, but before I start I would like to remind
all members of the House of that maxim relative to building straw dogs and then slaying them, which is often
a tactic of rhetoricians when they stand in places like this and they build a scenario and then they tear it apart.



The Leader of the Opposition for some time now and some other members of the Opposition have
indicated, in fact that the Leader of the Opposition has stated today, that the Minister of Transportation has
made a statement that there is a consideration of degraduating licenses. He made a similar statement in this
House on April 6th. He said in fact on April 6th that the government intends to strip away the privileges of
seniors at a particular age.



He was challenged in this House - and he made this statement again today - he was challenged in
this House by the same Minister of Transportation and asked if he would table the documentation on which
he was basing that allegation. Now, without hesitation, the Leader of the Opposition said, I will table it
tomorrow. That would have been April 7th, quoting the remarks of this very Minister of Transportation saying
that.



Now given that the honourable Leader of the Opposition has restated that today, despite the fact, and
I checked with the Clerk, Mr. Speaker, about one hour ago whether this has been tabled, it has not been
tabled. So I am going to give the honourable Leader of the Opposition a moment or two, if he would, to
describe the documentation on which he bases this straw dog and ask in fact if he will table this in the House
of Assembly so we will know if he knows of which he speaks. I would ask the honourable Leader of the
Opposition if he would give us that commitment now. (Interruption)



Obviously not, Mr. Speaker, you see, that is the problem to which I speak. He claims, the honourable
Leader of the Opposition, that in fact the Minister of Transportation made such a statement. No such
statement was made nor does any such documentation exist. Because, in fact, and I checked with the Minister
of Transportation a few moments ago and the resolution before us states, if I might, “. . . that there be no
mandatory age-related delicensing or degraduating of drivers’ licenses . . .”. There is no claim to nor plan of
any such deregulation or delicensing. It is something which is the figment of the honourable Leader of the
Opposition’s and some other members’ minds.



We checked to the source of that particular bit of misinformation and it goes back to a response that
the Minister of Transportation made towards a plan somewhere else, Mr. Speaker. He expressed serious
concerns, as the Leader of the Opposition did in his comments a few moments ago, about finding ways of
detecting and helping seniors who may be having having difficulties, whether visually or with, for example,
problems with reflexes as they approach their older years.



The idea that is being promoted by the Leader of the Opposition, that at some magical day, when you
are 65 years old or 67 years old or 82 years old, that you lose your license or be retested, is just absolutely
preposterous. It was not stated by the Minister of Transportation and Communications nor by anyone else,
because it is totally preposterous. In fact, I can go even further than that. The fact that the honourable Leader
of the Opposition will not table that documentation is, in fact, a statement that it does not exist.



[4:30 p.m.]



When the honourable Leader of the Opposition was on this side of the House and I was on that side
of the House, in fact there were situations where seniors went through the kind of retesting that he referred
to. There was one particular fellow from Glace Bay who called upon me. He was over 70 years old. He had
had two minor accidents and was called in to be retested. Now, this was a very strong coal miner, who was
afraid of very little in his lifetime. But the idea of being retested was more frightening to him than even losing
the license, which he valued highly. What we did, is that we worked with that senior. We had a driver
education teacher work with him, got him comfortable with the test, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, and all
members of the House, that he is still driving.



I would like, too, to talk about age for a moment. There was, and you probably knew him, Mr.
Speaker, when you were at St. F.X., a Father Bernie MacDonald, who was a very learned fellow, who had
brain surgery and was somewhat incapacitated because of it. They took his license from him and they did it
for his own safety and the safety of the public. They were not interfering with his rights and he knew that. But
the interesting part, he kept his car because the car was so special to him. I remember it. It was one of the first
Volvos and it was parked out in front, without license plates. I remember one time, someone driving by saw
it and knew the story of Father Bernie and so, knocked on the door and asked Father Bernie if in fact that was
his car out in front. Father Bernie responded, he said, yes, it is; is it bothering you? He kept that car as long
as he was alive because of how valuable it was to him for what it was.



Likewise, with the seniors of this province who drive. It is very important to them and a symbol of
their independence. There was no, and I repeat, attempt by the Minister of Education or a statement of that
type, that in fact there was an intention, a policy paper of any kind that would imply what the Leader of the
Opposition has stated. I read the Hansard comments, Mr. Speaker, because this was debated last week. The
member for Halifax Fairview talked very sensitively about her father and the difficulty driving and the Leader
of the Opposition has spoken likewise. Oftentimes, we come upon that in our family. In fact, the Department
of Transportation and Communications relies on family members, friends, physicians and, sometimes, the
RCMP, to let us know when some people are having difficulties. That takes a certain amount of courage
because of how important this is.



Now, I am suggesting to you, Mr. Speaker, what needs to be done - and my understanding, by the
way, is that the Minister of Transportation and Communications has been working with Dr. Fred MacKinnon,
in order to find ways of consulting with the seniors of this province - to find out if there is a way that we can
consult with seniors and find mechanisms to be aware of problems, so that in fact we can then deal with those
problems. So, our grave concern on this side of the House is safety on the roads. By the way, the resolution
talks about stereotyping. I would say to you, that anybody who would suggest that seniors who are 62 or 71,
by matter of some law of nature no longer can drive a car, is just talking foolishness. We in this House, do
not speak foolishness, we try to be reasonable at all times.



I am suggesting to you, Mr. Speaker, in dealing with safety, the Department of Transportation and
Communications has dealt with graduating licenses and this House accepted - I was here at the time - that
this is a good policy. It graduates people towards becoming better drivers. Likewise, if somebody has an
accident, we have a re-education program in the Department of Transportation and Communications, so that
if in fact somebody is having an accident, drunken driving, we have ways of dealing with that. Likewise, if
we have people constantly having accidents then, in fact, they walk for awhile and, after they walk for awhile,
they get relicensed after some training, rehabilitation.



Now in dealing with seniors - and the honourable Leader of the Opposition has spoken of that today -
there is some concern about safety on the highway when our skills are gone, whether it would be eyesight and
even at some of our ages, we know that driving at night, for example, the eyes do not adjust as quickly. Many
seniors withdraw from driving at night time for that very reason but, at the same time, we have to find ways,
whether it be through the physician or whatever, to know of those problems and to work with the seniors to
alert them of the difficulties. It is not a question - and I go back to the resolution - of mandatory doing this
but working with the seniors, as has happened in other jurisdictions.



In response to the resolution that the honourable Leader of the Opposition has brought forth, we have
no hesitancy of saying that mandatory delicensing or deregulation, that is not something anybody should do
based entirely on age. Nobody has intended on doing that, so to suggest one ought not do what one has no
intention of doing is actually preposterous. What has happened in this House in terms of the resolution before
us, the Leader of the Opposition has brought a resolution that is rhetorically maybe very useful to the House,
so that we can explore the issue, but there are no policy papers in the Department of Transportation that would
be indicating there is any direction.



I challenge all members of the House and, in particular, the Leader of the Opposition, under the
Freedom of Information Act or a House Order, whichever he would rather, to ask for copies of all
documentation that is proposing that there be a deregulation or a delicensing of seniors based on age.
Likewise, and the challenge is here, in fact, to the Leader of the Opposition, to table the documentation which
he says even in the press this was stated. He was asked that some weeks ago; he has refused to do that but I
will put the challenge to all members of the House and I have spoken to the Minister of Transportation and
he will gladly oblige. So, if a House Order would come in indicating that there be release of all of that
documentation that is in the Department of Transportation that would indicate that there is plan of any kind
in order to delicense or deregulate anybody at any age, I would suggest that it be called for and we will gladly
give it forth.



I can tell all members of the House that such a plan does not exist, such an intention does not exist,
but we are not removing ourselves, we are going to work with the seniors so that we can develop plans to help
them become better drivers and make the roads safer and that is something we on this side of the House are
committed to and we will proceed to do that.



I would ask the Leader of the Opposition to reconsider his resolution in terms of the whereases to
find out if, in fact, that is exactly what he meant. If he has proof otherwise, I would be glad to have it. Thank
you. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to make a few further
remarks on this issue of seniors and safe driving that has become something of a controversy.



I think it has to be acknowledged that this issue has become a very serious concern to a great many
seniors in this province. There are 118,000 senior citizens in this province, and I don’t know what percentage
of those 118,000 Nova Scotian seniors actually are still driving an automobile or have ever driven an
automobile, but the fact of the matter is that there are a great many. I don’t think there can be any
exaggeration in saying the overwhelming majority who do drive automobiles depend very heavily on that
mode of transportation, especially if they live in rural areas and for whom any possibility of their ability to
continue driving safely could be compromised or jeopardized by any new, across the board kind of restriction
that could potentially be introduced.



I hear the Minister of Education, who uses the familiar tactic of trying to suggest that the Leader of
the Official Opposition or, for that matter, myself, as another member who has spoken on this issue, may in
fact have caused the concern, caused an outbreak of hysteria, caused concerns in this province to have major
concerns where no such basis for the concern need exist.



I have to say, Mr. Speaker, just to set the record straight, that the Minister of Transportation, perhaps
unwittingly, perhaps completely without intending to do so, in fact I choose to believe it was not intended,
nevertheless set something of a storm of protest in motion when he made comments on March 31st that did
not, in any way, reflect a consultative process being held with senior citizens and suggested that, in fact, some
new changes might be brought in that could in fact restrict the driving opportunities for some seniors in the
province.



Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also true that in picking up on this issue, and it is again a silly tactic that
government members in their own defence try to use, to suggest that some member of the media further
misrepresented or distorted what the minister said. The fact of the matter is that on the basis of comments that
were made and reported by the Minister of Transportation, there were, in fact, a number of editorials, there
were letters to the editor from a number of seniors around this issue, expressing legitimate, understandable
concern before any members of the Opposition brought this matter to the floor of the House.



So it is just preposterous and actually quite childish for government members to try to suggest that
this was a concern generated for some wilful, political, perverse purpose by those of us on the Opposition
benches.



But let me say, Mr. Speaker, that the controversy probably has been an important debate because the
reality is, unfortunately, a number of seniors have been unnecessarily caused a good deal of anxiety and
insecurity. But the fact of the matter is, by Opposition members bringing this concern to the floor of the
House, in response to phone calls, letters to the editor, in response to, I know in my case, attending the
Canadian Pensioners Concerned annual meeting where it was a very central concern brought forward, that
what has been accomplished is an important step forward.



That is, for the government, not in advance of the Minister of Transportation’s musings, not even
as a result of a week of public debate out there in the community, but as a result of our bringing it to the floor
of the House and bringing a little pressure to bear, putting a little heat on the government, the Minister of
Transportation did, belatedly, but nevertheless to his credit, do the right thing, that is to go to the Senior
Citizens Secretariat and say, this is an issue that obviously does concern seniors and we want to talk about
how to ensure seniors are fully consulted in the process.



Fred MacKinnon, the Executive Director of the Senior Citizens Secretariat knows it is nonsense for
government members to try to give a revisionist account of how this concern became a public controversy,
because Fred MacKinnon, the Executive Director of the Senior Citizens Secretariat, on hearing the musings
of the minister, did exactly what you would expect him to do in displaying leadership on the issue. That is,
he went to the Canadian Pensioners Concerned and other seniors across the province with a discussion paper
to say, this needs to be a concern of yours and you had better speak out on it. He accurately reflected what the
implications would be for seniors if they were arbitrarily, unilaterally stripped of their ability to drive and be
free to drive.



What he called for then was a well-planned, well thought out study, and these were his exact words,
of all of the issues involved and if that is what is to be done, that seniors are the ones who should play a
central role in having it done.



[4:45 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, I want to report briefly on a couple of very important comments that were made at the
Canadian Pensioners Concerned annual meeting. Because I know of no senior who is an advocate of a person
of any age being permitted to drive an automobile if they are unable to do so safely. But the point was made
by a number of speakers, I think it is the crucial point that the evidence shows that seniors who are having
some difficulty in some instances driving, respond very positively to safe driving programs, to educational
programs.



In fact, Mr. Speaker, there are pilot projects going on in some other provinces that will clearly
demonstrate that seniors who may be found, in some instances, not to be driving as safely as they might, if
they are given, frankly, the respect and the fair opportunity to come in and participate in even a one-half hour
safe driver education program and then have the opportunity to voluntarily be retested, that they can
significantly improve their driving habits for the benefit of their own safety and for the benefit of the safety
of the community.



Interestingly, Mr. Speaker, one of the senior citizens who happens to live in my riding, actually, on
behalf of the Safety Council made the pitch to the Canadian Pensioners Concerned that they ought to take
advantage of safe driver programs that were being offered for seniors and other members of the public as well
and that they have been found to be effective and there was considerable enthusiasm among seniors to take
advantage of exactly that kind of opportunity.



One of the things, Mr. Speaker, that concerns me, and I guess during the estimates debate we will
have an opportunity to grill the Minister of Transportation on this, is that when I look at the Minister of
Transportation’s budget, I see that close to $100,000 has been shaved off of the highway safety programs
budgeted for the next year in this province. This is a government that says it believes in prevention and
promotion and presumably that applies not just to health, but to safety as well. Yet, I see when I look at the
budget that there has not only been almost $100,000 eliminated from the Department of Transportation budget
for safe driving programs, but also, inexplicably, and I am sure we will hear an explanation from the minister,
but I just want to raise the concern at this point, the total elimination of what in the previous year’s budget
was $667,000 for Driver Evaluation and for reasons that I do not understand actually no dollars allocated
under the current budget.



Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I do not think it is fair to create a kind of controversy here that
would suggest that seniors are advocates of being free to drive unsafely. I think it also is unfortunate that there
has been a considerable amount of misinformation spread around on this whole issue. One of the things,
probably inadvertently, I am sure not deliberately, one of the editorials on this subject reported that practically
every other province in Canada had an arbitrary ruling.



MR. SPEAKER: Excuse me. Order, please. There is a little bit too much background noise here.
Could we have a little quietness so I can hear the honourable member, please. Thank you.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that. There was a suggestion made in
one of the editorial comments on this subject that practically every other province does in fact have, I believe
the suggestion, I am sorry I do not want to further contribute to the inaccuracy, the suggestion was in one such
editorial of March 31st that Quebec and at least three other provinces require drivers to be retested
automatically and arbitrarily at the age of 70 and then pass driver exams every couple of years.



Mr. Speaker, our research would indicate that that is simply not the case. We have not been able to
find any province in fact, in which at the age of 70, drivers are arbitrarily and automatically required to be
retested. Perhaps that is so in some provinces. We have not been able to determine, but that is not the
information that we have been able to ascertain or confirm. The information further that we have obtained
is that it is only at the age of 80, and then not on any across the board basis but in fact on a pilot project basis,
that some retesting is being required at the age of 80 but only then after safe driver training has been offered.
In fact, the success rate of those who have been retrained in such pilot projects has been found to be very high.
So, I think that is information that is necessary, is important to inform both the government’s actions and the
public that have a genuine, honest concern about safe driving by seniors and by persons of every other age,
because that is the only responsible thing to in fact be concerned about here.






So, Mr. Speaker, I hope that the government will honour the commitment that I think the Minister
of Transportation and Communications has now made, to widely consult with seniors on this matter, to bring
forward the facts and figures that bear on any decisions that might be made, to accurately report on what is
and is not being done in other provinces and with what success, before there are any kinds of changes
introduced. I want finally, before my time runs out, to make that further plea that the government go the route
of offering the opportunity of driver refresher courses, of defensive driving instruction, because in fact that
is found to be the most successful means of being able to ensure the safest possible driving practices, by not
just seniors but by all members of the driving public.



In the final analysis, Mr. Speaker, I think that credit has to be given to those seniors who have
spoken out, including Dr. F.R. MacKinnon, to bring the issue to public attention, to bring it to a head, in
terms of really asking the government to not generate unnecessary anxiety and concern, to recognize that it
is a fact that with a government that has virtually pulled the plug on any commitment to any sort of
comprehensive public transportation system, for Heaven’s sake, that it is all the more important to explore
every avenue, to ensure that seniors can continue to safely operate their automobiles, because they
unfortunately are victimized, doubly victimized, by a government that does not seem to believe very much any
more in such basic community infrastructure as public transportation. That, of course, in the case of Nova
Scotians, and seniors most particularly, is a very serious problem.



You know, I think the majority of senior citizens in this province would prefer, in a great many
instances, to be able to avail themselves of public transportation services. Let us recall that there were a good
many senior citizens in the forefront of the fight in this province to try to hang onto our VIA Rail services.
In fact, statistics about Nova Scotia showed that Nova Scotians, among all Canadians, were the greatest users
of VIA Rail services on a per capita basis. The tragedy is that this government at the provincial level failed
to provide any effective leadership in trying to prevent the shutting down of much of our VIA Rail system.
The current government shows no sign of taking any different tack on that. At the provincial level, when it
comes to even basic bus public transportation, the government is back pedalling and withdrawing any
meaningful support.



Mr. Speaker, I would simply wrap up by saying that I hope we have moved to a new stage in this
debate, one focused on the commitment of consultation, a commitment to ensuring that any decisions are
made on the basis of facts and figures and on the fairest consideration of what is in the best interests of both
seniors and the general public of all ages in this province. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I believe that concludes the debate on Resolution No. 55.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Would you please call Resolution No. 92, Mr. Speaker.



Res. No. 92, re Transport. - Highway No. 104: Twinning - Funds Reinstate - notice given Apr. 10/95
- (Mr. B. Taylor)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.






MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, our Critic for Transportation and Communications has
had a strep throat for the last four days. So, I am just sort of filling in for him. But I would like to read part
of Resolution No. 92. It says, “Therefore be it resolved that the Premier make an immediate commitment
tonight to Nova Scotians that he will not tolerate the crass and entirely irresponsible actions of his Minister
of Transportation and immediately reinstate the funds intended for twinning Highway No. 104.”. That is an
appropriate resolution for today, particularly when we realize that tomorrow morning at 8:00 o’clock the
Minister of Transportation is having a press briefing and at 11:00 o’clock he is having a news conference to
announce that we are going to have the first toll road in Canada on the Trans Canada Highway. Technically,
apparently that isn’t quite true because this highway will be a by-pass of the Trans Canada Highway the way
he plans to build it.



Any way you look at it, right from the day in this House, in this very Chamber when the Auditor
General’s report was tabled and it was disclosed that the Minister of Transportation was singled out as an
individual for shifting funds in a way that he should not have done it. The Auditor General called the attention
and what was the first remark of the minister? He said it was an attack by a bureaucrat on Cape Breton. Nova
Scotians deserve a better response than that. It wasn’t Cape Breton that attacked and took away the money,
it was that individual minister; trying to link in the people from Cape Breton as victims is not fair because
it was the minister that was out of line, not the people of Cape Breton.



You know yourself, Mr. Speaker, that the people in Cape Breton are Nova Scotians first. Any way
you look at it the actions of the government, including the Cabinet, the Premier, the Minister of
Transportation was an injustice to the people of Cumberland, Colchester and all the regions of Nova Scotia.
The minister has a grandiose plan to start construction of Highway No. 104 twinning between Thomson
Station and Masstown and tomorrow’s announcement will be scrutinized by all Nova Scotians.



What amount of equity is this minister planning to put into this public/private sector partnership?
Will the remaining funds from the SHIP agreement be drained away? What do we know and can we trust his
judgment? What does the minister intend to do with the $95 million being given to the province by Ottawa
in transitional funding as the result of the federal government cutting off feed freight assistance and other
transport assistance programs in the federal government. What does the minister plan to do with those funds?
Could they not be transferred to the Highway No. 104 construction program so we would not have to have the
tolls?



Read the editorials of the last 10 days and see what the people are saying. Read the letters to the
editor and go into your coffee shops in your neighbourhood and go into the areas where you see people from
time to time, listen to them and hear what they are saying. One of the topics, I am sure, that will come up very
quickly is the Highway No. 104 construction and the way that money was taken away. People in Nova Scotia
are not pleased. Auditor General Roy Salmon, I think spoke on behalf of all of us when he scolded the
minister for taking the money without authority. It is not fair to Nova Scotians.



I was part of the group that lobbied Ottawa to take part in the federal-provincial agreement to build
this highway. Certainly the spirit of the negotiations were the need and the demand for a highway to be
constructed that was safe. It would be safe for the truckers who need it and for the autos using it.






[5:00 p.m.]



The highway between Truro and Amherst is the busiest road in Nova Scotia. The traffic count in
1993 indicated there were 6,600 vehicles using that road every day. Now last week, in response to a question,
the Minister of Transportation said there were between 9,000 and 10,000. Now I don’t know whether there
was a new traffic study done or he was just taking a number from the air, based on the fact that it is now two
years later and perhaps there are 4,000 more cars using it now than were using it two years ago. But in any
case, in 1993 the traffic count said 6,600 cars, on average, used that road every day. That is the busiest road
in the province.



We went to Ottawa and we said, for the sake of those people and for the infrastructure that is needed
in this province, help us out. They offered $50 million and we insisted and we gave them the statistics, we
showed them the dangers of that highway and they came across and agreed to cost share $100 million.



At the same time, Mr. Speaker, they indicated that Nova Scotia and Ottawa had other agreements
that were pending at the time, one of them being Micronav, the other being the Halifax Harbour clean-up.
Those two cost-sharing agreements had $300 million of federal taxpayers money. They said, we can divert
some of that to your highway program, if you wish.



Now is that option still available? Has the minister, has the Premier even approached the federal
government? Apparently Micronav is now in the stage of being closed because technology moved faster than
Micronav and they are now using a different landing system at airports than Micronav was capable and was
in the facility to make it. So is that $80 million from Micronav available? It was certainly available to transfer
funds from Micronav because the current federal Cabinet Minister from Nova Scotia transferred $20 million
from the $100 million Micronav immediately after the election in 1993, for some much-needed work
programs on Cape Breton Island. So certainly the pattern has been set to take money from Micronav to put
it somewhere else. Wouldn’t that be a better place, Mr. Speaker, for money? What better place than the safety
of Nova Scotians and the modernization of our transportation system.



Well, Mr. Speaker, the government announcement on the Fleur-de-lis Trail was peculiar, to say the
least. Not very many people noticed that it was money taken from the SHIP agreement. Now it was either by
accident or by design.



The member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley indicated and asked questions in this House on the
transfer of funds, but still it went unnoticed. It wasn’t until the Auditor General pointed it out in black and
white that all Nova Scotians realized what had happened.



So what was the government trying to hide? It is almost as though this government is another
example of the wheels coming off when she is going down the road. The same minister wants to attack the
seniors in Nova Scotia with their driving permits. You know, the secrecy of this government and the hide-and-seek. They had to hire all the new experts and even the new experts in the Premier’s Office have not been able
to make a sow’s ear into this silk purse because Highway No. 104 is just not going over very well.



Tomorrow’s press conference at 11:00 a.m., I guess, when the minister is going to announce this
grandiose scheme, that is not going to go over very well either because Nova Scotians were promised a four
lane highway from Amherst to New Glasgow, toll-free, and now they have the tolls. The minister and the
Premier got only half the funding. Well, perhaps they could think of the $35 million annually collected in the
gasoline tax that is dedicated to 100-Series Highway construction. Perhaps they could look at the additional
$22 million that we are paying in gasoline tax from this government’s 1993 September budget. Let’s look at
those avenues. The people who are driving their cars and tractor-trailer operators who are driving their
tractors up and down the highways are now paying for the roads and to ask them to pay again, it is not fair.



I think the Premier has a choice and his choice is on one hand, if he does the tolls, on the other hand,
he absolutely must reduce the gasoline and diesel fuel tax that we are paying in Nova Scotia. It is not fair to
be taxed twice to drive on the same road, it is not fair. This Premier and his government needs assistance in
looking fair, in looking justified and in looking as though they are a government that cares. The eyes of the
people of Nova Scotia are not looking very well at this government. If the Premier showed that he would
reduce the gas taxes at the same time his Minister of Transportation is putting on tolls, people might find that
acceptable. Certainly, to raise taxes by $22 million, to have a dedicated tax of $35 million and then to have
the gall to say we have to put a tax in a tollbooth. Is that fair? I think not.



This government has an opportunity to right the wrong, to build the road and this is by no means an
attack by me or our caucus on Cape Breton. Our caucus has had two meetings outside of Halifax in the last
year and both of them were on Cape Breton Island. We are not attacking Cape Breton and I will tell you, the
former government and this minister met with the federal government and we were dealing with ACOA and
we were in the process of signing a federal-provincial agreement to fund the Fleur-de-lis Trail. We are not
opposed to the Fleur-de-lis Trail, we welcome development on the Fleur-de-lis Trail. In fact, we were well
on the way to having an ACOA agreement signed, sealed and delivered but something happened after the
election.



After the election, this government did not have the same commitment to Cape Breton that we did
and they did not get an agreement with ACOA, a federal-provincial agreement, so the best thing they could
do was take the money from the former government’s agreement and shift it there. Now, that is the facts of
the situation, we welcome the Fleur-de-lis Trail but let’s be up-front and let’s be honest about it. Let’s not
blame the mainland and let’s not try to pit the mainland against Cape Breton Island the way this government
is trying to do at the present time because it is not right and it is not fair.



The real issue of this debate this afternoon is their transfer of funds from a 100-Series Highway to
a different road in a different section of the province. That is the real question that we are discussing today.



In the 1993 election, there was no talk from this government that, oh, you don’t have enough money.
The only talk from this government was, you elect us and we are going to check the realignment of that road,
we are going to put that road somewhere else, we are going to loop that road 15 miles out of its way over to
Tatamagouche because those people didn’t know where to put it. The Premier set up a special committee to
look at that alignment procedure and what did he find? He found that an independent consulting firm had
been hired to select the route for the highway. The Premier found that there wasn’t any skulduggery, there
wasn’t any politics involved, it was a business decision made by a consultant firm and suddenly the Premier
said that is the way the road should go. Then laterally, they suddenly decided that they would rather transfer
the money.



That money was given by one government to another on the faith that it was going for safety, for
infrastructure development. At the same time there was a program with the federal government, through
tourism development, to build another road. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



THE PREMIER: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in the debate on this
resolution and I want to make one thing clear from the very outset that I, the Cabinet, and the members of the
Liberal caucus continue to have the greatest admiration and respect for the job being done by the Minister of
Transportation. I only wish he were here to hear these nice things that we are saying about him, but I will pass
it on to him as well.



I certainly do not believe the words crass and irresponsible as being relevant to a person like the
Minister of Transportation. Indeed, if one wanted to look at the definition of irresponsibility - since that is the
word that is being thrown around - that word is best defined in the way this province was run for 15 years by
the bunch opposite, by those who sit opposite over there, producing hospitals, but no closure of beds,
producing, in many instances, in different areas and producing pockets of money that were designed for roads
that, of course, were never built.



The person who sponsored this resolution is as typical as anyone of that kind of irresponsibility that
was demonstrated for 15 years. It was a former Conservative Government that transformed a surplus into a
massive series of annual deficits that left this province with a debt of $8 billion.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame. Shame.



THE PREMIER: Shame indeed. When we first came to power, we had little money to spend even
on badly needed and previously ignored highway projects. Because the province’s finances were in such dire
condition - and the minister mentioned this in January 1994 - from the very outset, we began to look at new
ways of financing large projects. More on that in a moment.



For now, let’s examine the issue under discussion here this afternoon, the completion of Highway
No. 104 from Masstown to Thomson Station and the government’s plans for completing that highway. When
we took office, almost two years ago, one of the first things we did was to look at the need for highway
improvements in Nova Scotia. It was clear to us and to most Nova Scotians that a high priority was the
completion of Highway No. 104 around the admittedly dangerous Wentworth Valley - we all know and have
had many referrals to that in the last week - we determined that the government had to find a way to do the
project in as short a space of time as possible.



Why did we place high priority on that? Largely because of the need and the concern that we had
about the safety of the travelling public in Nova Scotia. We will come back to that again and again and I can
assure you, too, that there is no one in this province who is more committed to highway safety than the current
Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Richard Mann. Safety. Safety. You will hear this again and again
from us. Safety is the number one priority of this government when it comes to highways and the policies that
we have enacted.






Madam Speaker, if this province, if this government had adopted the policies of the previously
bankrupt Party that ran this province, construction of the Wentworth Valley By-pass would have taken
somewhere between 8 years and 12 years. Is that what the people of this province wanted? No. This
government will build this highway in two years. (Applause)



[5:15 p.m.]



While safety was the main factor, was the main reason, for proceeding with an accelerated Highway
No. 104, it wasn’t the only factor we considered. As a government concerned with planning, as opposed to
following their nose, as we have seen them do before, we knew that the days when we could count on federal
transportation subsidies were dwindling down. As a result, we had to ensure that when we came to the end
of subsidies, business in Nova Scotia could at least count on having access to a fast, efficient and modern
highway system. This is particularly true, Madam Speaker, when we refer to the main corridor connecting
us with New Brunswick and the rest of Canada.



That brings up a very important consideration. While it is true that a large part of Highway No. 104
is located in either Cumberland or Colchester Counties, Highway No. 104 is not only a Cumberland highway
or a Colchester highway. It is a Nova Scotia highway, it serves all Nova Scotians as part of the Trans Canada
Highway. It is, in effect, a service to all Canadians.



Madam Speaker, a lot has been said about tolls, much of it very interesting from the other side, on
Highway No. 104 by-pass and the effect they will have on the residents of Cumberland and Colchester
Counties. We take the concerns of Colchester and Cumberland Counties seriously. It is a fact that the majority
of those travelling the Wentworth By-pass will not be residents of the two counties mentioned. Most of the
traffic will be cars and trucks from other parts of Nova Scotia and in the Maritimes as well, on their way to
and from New Brunswick. Local residents will probably continue to use the old Wentworth highway. As an
added bonus, Madam Speaker, local residents will discover that the highway through so-called Folly Lake
will, indeed, be safer because we will have eliminated truck traffic from that stretch of highway. (Applause)



One of the points we have observed in two years, is the way the Opposition attacks those job creation
programs that this government has come forward with. There is a major economic spinoff that the
construction of the Wentworth Valley By-Pass will have on northern Nova Scotia residents, including many
of those living in Colchester and Cumberland Counties. Madam Speaker, this will be the single largest
highway project every undertaken in Nova Scotia. It will produce between 700 and 1,000 jobs over the two
year construction period. (Applause) That is what we call job creation. That is, in effect, what we will do in
those two years. We will also talk about its impact on employment for the people of this province.



Madam Speaker, a lot has been said about the government’s decision to redirect a portion of the funds
that were originally destined for this project. Well, the truth is that had the money allocated to the project
under the agreement been spent, the result would have been about 20 kilometres of unusable road, with no
assurance that money would be available to finish the project, except as was stated by the former minister,
taking it out of current money. What current money? Current debt? (Interruptions)






It is with this knowledge, Madam Speaker, and the government’s commitment to highway safety that
we decided we would build this highway in two years instead of 12. We also decided we would have to involve
the private sector. This is the only way that this highway, in the interests of safety, can be done in two years.
We intend to do that. (Applause) Not only will we be able to finish that particular section of the highway, the
Wentworth By-pass, so to speak, but we will also be able to continue with other highway twinning projects,
including Highway No. 101, from Beaverbank to Mount Uniacke and Highway No. 104, between New
Glasgow and Truro. That is what we call planning and it produces the kind of roads that we are talking about.
(Applause)



I have been very offended, and so has my colleague for Cumberland South, about the references to
the speed with which this was decided. The government did not decide to proceed with a plan to accelerate
this by-pass overnight. We did not decide in any paltry minutes. We did not decide at a single Cabinet session.
It was the subject of lots of discussion and many, many hours in Cabinet and discussions with the private
sector. I am proud, Madam Speaker, to go on record of saying that much of that was led by the very capable
Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Richard Mann. (Applause)



Let me conclude, Madam Speaker, by saying that we think the people of Nova Scotia will be
delighted with the ultimate choice that they will have. They will have a very difficult part of this highway built
by the private sector by-passing that very dangerous area that we are referring to. This, undoubtedly, will be
revealed tomorrow by that very competent minister, the Minister of Transportation. Mr. Mann, the Minister
of Transportation continues to have the support of his Leader, his Cabinet and the government and I can
assure you that some of the people who will travel on that road first will probably be the members over there
trying to get home to hide their tails between their legs. (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.



HON. GUY BROWN: Madam Speaker, and members of this great Assembly, I consider it an honour
and I take a great deal of pride in taking my place in this House on a number of occasions. I want to tell you
this is one in particular with regard to this federal-provincial agreement.



Let me make it very clear, Madam Speaker, through you, to all members and to all Nova Scotians
that this is a federal-provincial agreement that was signed by the former government. The former government,
those members that are now in Opposition know that it has to be agreed to, know there is no pot of money,
know that there has to be a check-off under an appendix with regard to that agreement and know the federal
government controls it, not the Province of Nova Scotia. (Applause)



As this highway basically deals with my constituency, I want to tell you I stand here and I feel very
proud that 700 to 1,000 people will be employed, most of them Cumberland County people, most of them
people from my constituency and that this highway will be built in two years, not five or seven years which
was under the original agreement. (Applause)



Madam Speaker, let us not kid ourselves. There were only $55 million total provincial and federal
dollars in that agreement. We need $120 million with regard to that road and the road, if we had to build it
under their agenda, the road would have been built maybe in 1998-99. That group had 15 years. They get up
here and talk about deaths on that highway. Well, what did you do for 15 years? (Applause) Where were you
when those accidents were taking place?



That is not death valley, let me tell you. That is a highway that people use on a daily basis and that
sort of fear into our tourism and into the business community is no help to the people in this province. Madam
Speaker, they can bounce up and down all they want. They served and ran this province for 15 years and I
travelled that road every week. Tell me, what did you ever do for the people then during your term of office?
(Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, one gets somewhat cynical after a short period of time
in this House about issues and how they get dealt with and problems and whether they get solved and so on.
I just thought, here we are on Opposition Day, we have just another resolution and we will get up and we will
say our piece and that will be that. We have been dealing with this particular issue in terms of the diversion
of the $26 million from a federal-provincial agreement to a place where it wasn’t supposed to go for a couple
of weeks now and the government members, the Minister of Transportation, the Premier and others continue
to get up and say, well, you know, it is the federal government’s fault or it is the former government’s fault
or it is this person’s fault or we were well within our rights and all of that. As an Opposition member who
takes that seriously, thinks this isn’t right what is going on here. This is more of the kind of stuff that Nova
Scotians voted against in 1993 but we are banging our heads up against a brick wall and it doesn’t make any
difference.



I think maybe we are making a difference here, Madam Speaker, because here we are with this
resolution after, what’s it been two weeks now that this issue has been on the table and here we are honoured
by the participation of the Premier, who I don’t know if he has ever spoken on a resolution on Opposition Day,
he gets up and throughout his 12 minutes of participation mentions the Minister of Transportation, the
Honourable Richard Mann probably about eight times, which is surely a sign of the fact that that honourable
minister is in big trouble, that that honourable minister has slipped in a pile of asphalt somewhere and he is
in big trouble, in order to have the Premier out here trying to prop him up.



Let us not forget who wrapped up the intervention on the government side and that was the
experienced and esteemed and well-respected member for Cumberland South. He gets up when it comes time
to really rally the troops. When it comes time to really come to somebody’s defence, then they bring out the
Honourable Guy Brown who is now the Minister of Labour to really crank it up and to pull at the heartstrings
and make sure that everybody knows that he is fully in support of whatever the issue is. In this case it is
protecting the backside of the Minister of Transportation and also, I think, clearly protecting the collective
backsides of the Executive Council or the Cabinet.



I must tell you that I feel reinvigorated here. I feel like I do serve a purpose and the members of this
small Opposition, in particular the NDP caucus do serve a purpose because we have been hammering away
at this issue, as we hammer away at a lot of issues and we didn’t think we were making any headway but by
heaven the people of Nova Scotia know this afternoon, that we have made a dent in the armour of obfuscation
and refusal of this government to accept their responsibility.



That having been said, let me deal with a couple of things that were talked about. The Premier got
up in his speech and he talked about planning. In fact, I think he underlined the word planning and he said
it a few times, now that is planning and when we came into government, we sat down and decided what’s got
to be done and we set our priorities. Madam Speaker, that is the exact point that the Auditor General was
making. The Department of Transportation, regardless of the rhetoric and the pronouncements on behalf of
that department by the minister and his government, is absolutely lacking in any planning, that they go from
season to season where their priorities continue to change. This is an example of the fact that the priorities
change on the basis of politics, on the basis of that time-worn patronage style of government that this province
has had far too much of for the past 25 years or 30 years.



[5:30 p.m.]



The Premier also said that Nova Scotians would be delighted. Well, I do not think there are very
many Nova Scotians out there that are delighted with anything that this government is doing other than,
perhaps, the people that are benefitting from the high interest rate policy. The business people that are
benefitting from the fast-tracking privatization strategy that this government is going forward with and who
are getting their pockets lined. I think that they are the only ones that are delighted about what is going on
because every other Nova Scotian feels they have been betrayed. They feel that time and time again they are
being fleeced by this government as they are going to be whenever they have to travel outside this province
and pay $6 or $12 or $15, whatever it is, to some faceless private corporation or private consortium or
however it is going to be dressed up for the next 25 years or 30 years every time that happens.



The member for Hants East says where would I get that? Well, I tell you what, you may believe and
may have sucked back hook, line and sinker the line that, let the private sector do it, it is going to be cheaper.
I do not buy that because in the final analysis somebody has to pay for it. When you take into account the fact
that the private sector cannot borrow at the same rate that the government can, when you take into
consideration the fact that there has to be profit made on the basis of this, when you consider those factors,
that is a question that has to be answered by this government that is so caught up with itself with its creative
solutions.



They have to tell Nova Scotians what they are going to end up paying for this boondoggle and that
is clearly what it is. What are they going to have to pay for that in the long run? Not just this year, not just
next year, but over the next 30 years when that road is under the control of a private consortium to pay for
the fact that this government doesn’t have the courage to make the kinds of decisions and engage in the kind
of projects on behalf of the public of Nova Scotia, the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, that need to be done. Not just
for us, but for our future generations.



This gang talk about reducing the deficit and that our future generations will have to pay. Let me tell
you something. The way this gang is going, our future generations, my child and her children if she has any,
are going to be paying for that road. They are going to be paying left, right and centre for their schools. They
are going to be paying left, right and centre for all other public services, I would suggest, that they are going
to have, as well as, they are going to have to pay through income tax. That is what this government has in
future for the people of Nova Scotia.



Let us not forget that we are talking about a part of the Trans Canada Highway. A part of the
highway that links one end of this country to the other. There is not one single piece of that road, a road that
is constructed and that is maintained with federal dollars because it is to the benefit of all Canadians, there
is not one stretch of that highway that is now subject to an additional user fee. Not one section of that, but we
are going to change that starting tomorrow morning. We are going to change that.



Everybody that comes across the border into Nova Scotia and that comes smack up against that
tollbooth are going to say, I have been to British Columbia, I have been across the Prairies, I have been
through Ontario on my vacation and not once have I had to pay extra. I thought my income tax and I thought
the taxes I pay, GST and all the rest of it go into providing these kinds of public services that link one end
of this country to the other.



That was supposed to be part of the national dream, the national agreement in terms of a Trans
Canada Highway, but no, no, Nova Scotia. People are going to say when they throw in that $5, $10 or
whatever, what does this indicate about Nova Scotia? What does this indicate about the ability of the
Government of Nova Scotia to handle its own needs and the needs of its citizens?



The fact is that this is a federal-provincial agreement. Let’s see the documentation that allows these
two ministers to cook up a deal that put $26 million into their own ridings. Let’s see the agreement that is
going to allow them to get out of that. Let’s see the agreement that is going to allow them to apply, what is
it, $29 million that is left, or $27 million or whatever, that is going to take that out of this Trans Canada
Highway agreement and, all of a sudden, put it towards a highway that is going to be owned and controlled
by the private sector for the next 25 or 30 years. Let’s see that agreement, Madam Speaker.



Let us also see this government come clean, for the first time since it has been in power, with the
people of Nova Scotia, to present to us the true costs of this creative solution, Madam Speaker. The member
for Hants East might have bought the line but I have not bought the line and I don’t think a lot of Nova
Scotians are buying the line, as they continually see the level of service provided by their government going
down and down.



Yet these policies, in terms of keeping high interest rates and the real interest rate at an exorbitant
level that benefits only the creditors and not the small business people and not the people who are trying to
get jobs, who are trying to make a living. Those are the people who are suffering the outrageously high levels
of unemployment in this country, in this province. Has the Minister of Finance said anything about the fact
that we can’t afford to have those levels of unemployment? We can’t afford to have 25 per cent unemployed
in Cape Breton? No, but he will say we can’t afford to build an important part of the highway, from Masstown
to Thomson Station, that will save lives and contribute to the economic well-being of this province, we can’t
afford to do that.



Yet, Madam Speaker, that Minister of Finance can stand in his place and say that we are not going
to do anything about the levels of unemployment of 25 per cent, reaching 50 per cent in some communities
in Cape Breton. I say to you that those policies are bankrupt. It is time that this government started doing
something that was going to bring economic growth, as they promised Nova Scotians and as the federal
government promised Canadians, instead of constantly turning over everything to the private sector, which
is going to mean only one thing, it is going to mean that Canadians, the taxpayers, are going to pay twice.
They are going to pay twice in terms of the taxes they pay and they are going to pay a second time for user
fees if they want to come into Nova Scotia, or, Heaven forbid, if they want to leave. That is a concern that I
have.



But let’s be clear, tomorrow morning the Minister of Transportation, that fine minister that the
Premier and a senior minister of the Cabinet has risen to try and defend this afternoon, is going to get up in
front of the cameras tomorrow and present a creative solution to a problem, to Nova Scotians. He is going to
try and dress it up as a creative solution. But, let me tell you, Nova Scotians are not going to be fooled. They
don’t buy that line, Madam Speaker. They know that $26 million of federal money was supposed to go into
that stretch of road and it ended up in that minister’s constituency and the federal minister’s constituency and
they won’t forget that, Madam Speaker.



They are also going to know that every time they throw $2.00, $5.00, $10, $20 into the toll for that
road, that it is money that the Minister of Transportation is taking out of their pockets. No other reason,
Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 7.



H.O. No. 7, re Nat. Res. - Office Costs (Dartmouth [Burnside]: Halifax [Founders Sq.]) - notice given
Apr. 3/95 - (Mr. B. Taylor)



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I so move, Madam Speaker.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, I believe the House Order was for the Minister of
Supply and Services, if I am correct. (Interruption) Was this House Order not tabled some time ago by the
Ministers of Natural Resources (Interruption) and Supply and Services? So, we can disregard this House
Order?



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I am sorry, Madam Speaker. We do not show it as being tabled, but that
is fine. We can check that one out.



Would you please call House Order No. 8 and on behalf of the member for Pictou West, I so move.



H.O. No. 8, re Housing - Pictou Reg. Authority: Audit - Table - notice given Apr. 4/95 - (Mr. D.
McInnes)



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Housing and
Consumer Affairs, I believe that she will comply with this request.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: When I called the House Order, and I spoke to the former Minister of
Housing and Consumer Affairs, I thought it was a special audit that was reported in whatever it was reported
in. But I would be very pleased if she would table it. It was just a regular audit of the regional housing
authority.



HON. GUY BROWN: Look, the honourable member is absolutely stating a fact, that he did discuss
it with me. These are the normal audits that go on every year at every housing authority. Although I cannot
move, because I am not the minister, but I just want to make it clear to all members of the House that the
honourable minister did talk to me about it before and it is the normal yearly audit that takes place at all
authorites.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you for that point. I believe the Government House Leader did say that,
in conversation with the minister, she was prepared to provide the information.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, I wonder if the honourable Deputy Government House
Leader would nod his head if it is worthwhile calling Transportation. Okay.



Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 9.



H.O. No. 9, re Transportation - Amherst: Off-ramp - Agreement - notice given Apr. 5/95 - (Mr. D.
McInnes)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I so move.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: In the absence of the Minister of Transportation and Communications,
he indicated that paragraph (1) has nothing to do with the Department of Transportation and
Communications, it was between the Government of New Brunswick and the Economic Renewal Agency,
Tourism, so he is not prepared to comply with this request.



MADAM SPEAKER: What is the resolution of the motion, then, that is on the floor? The minister
is not prepared to provide the information? If I recognize you it will be to close the debate.



The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Madam Speaker, can I amend the House Order, so that the Minister for
the Economic Renewal Agency will be able to report back on that matter? I thought it was under the Minister
of Transportation and Communications, that is why I put it in. It is very simple. We are just talking about the
entrance to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick and the off-ramp.






The way it is now, when you come in it is very difficult to see the tourist bureau and I have suggested
to the former Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency that we change it and they agreed and the Premier
agreed. I would just like to find out where it is. So, can I amend the House Order so that it would read that
the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency would be prepared to reply?



[5:45 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: Is the House agreed that House Order No. 9 be amended?



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: In the absence of the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, I
would ask that this House Order be stood for today.



MADAM SPEAKER: Shall the order stand?



House Order No. 9 stands.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 10.



H.O. No. 10, re Transportation - Motor Vehicles: Seniors - Accidents - notice given Apr. 5/95 - (Mr.
B. Taylor)



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I so move, Madam Speaker.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, in responding for the Minister of Transportation and
Communications, there was one section to this House Order, the estimated cost to insurance companies of
seniors aged 65 and over, he has no real way of checking this through his department so he asks to refuse this
House Order.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I wonder by agreement of the House if we could remove
that particular terminology from the House Order? Actually, what we are trying to find out is some data and
factual information that could possibly merit such a discriminatory measure against the seniors. If we could
remove the insurance component, we would be prepared.



MADAM SPEAKER: I think I hear enough responses in the negative that I will have a vote on this.



There has been a motion on the House Order and it has been advised to the House that the honourable
minister is not prepared to provide the information.



MADAM SPEAKER: The debate is closed honourable member because you did stand up to close
it the second time around.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I understood the Deputy Government
House Leader to say that the minister had a problem with only the insurance component of the request. What
I had asked was if we could remove that component from the request, would it be admissible? Just for further
clarification. (Interruption) That is what the Minister of Transportation suggested.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you for your point of order, honourable member, but I don’t rule it as
a point of order. It is more a point of clarification. I believe the Deputy Government House Leader did provide
us with the information and you did close the debate. I will now call the question.



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



The motion is carried in the negative.



The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, were we voting on the House Order with the paragraph
deleted or were we voting on the House Order as it was?



MADAM SPEAKER: As it was, sir.



MR. MOODY: Well, Madam Speaker, I understood that the member withdrew that section, that was
my understanding.



AN HON. MEMBER: They would not let him.



MR. MOODY: That has been done many times in this House. I, as a minister over there, agreed
many times when these people were in Opposition, when House Orders came in and parts were deleted and
we said we would get the information. That has been a precedent that has gone on for years. Now we are
finding, Madam Speaker, that through you and this group that the rules have changed. I am wondering what
the rules are.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I hear your side of this argument and I will recognize
the Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: To clarify, I did not agree to delete Paragraph (3) of the House Order,
that is what the member was referring to. The motion that was on the floor, I believe (Interruption) No, I am
not prepared to do that. If they want to do so, we can stand the rest of the House Order, if you wish. Asked
that it be stood, the minister is not here and I am not quite sure what his directions are.



MADAM SPEAKER: With respect I think the motion has already been voted on but members are
free to resubmit a House Order if they wish at a future date and that may be the final resolution of this.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Yes, I see the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency in the House
now, so can I re-call House Order No. 9?



H.O. No. 9, re Transportation - Amherst: Off-ramp - Agreement-notice given Apr.5/95 - (Mr. D.
McInnes)



MADAM SPEAKER: House Order No. 9 was stood for one day I understood. You are calling it
again?



MR. RUSSELL: It was stood, I believe, pending the Minister for Economic Renewal Agency taking
a look at it because it dealt with his department rather than the Department of Transportation.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: I would like to move that House Order and I would say to the minister,
who I know has been out probably on government business and has just come into the House, the House
Order, I think, is very straightforward. All we are asking about is where the negotiations are in regard to the
off-ramp coming into the tourist bureau in Nova Scotia and we have been suggesting to the former minister
that this should be done and we just want to get an update of where it is, it is basically as simple as that.



MADAM SPEAKER: Could I just clarify with the Chief Clerk on my order paper, under Notices of
Motion for House Orders, it is the Minister of Transportation and this is being addressed to the Minister for
the Economic Renewal Agency?



The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Again, I am not sure that there is such an agreement, but I think the
gist of this House Order, despite the fact that it is the wrong minister and the wording may not be accurate
is, could I provide some sort of tabled update of plans for the Amherst Tourist Bureau? If that is correct, I
would be happy to do that.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 11.



H.O. No. 11, re Fin.: Debts - Write-off ($8 m.-28/03/95) - notice given Apr. 6/95 - (Mr. R. Russell)



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: I have some difficulty with that one, Madam Speaker, the reasons,
the causes. It has been routine to file a list with the honourable members of write-offs and the reason they are
written off, is because we can’t collect them. And the decision is made on that basis but I don’t want to mislead
the honourable member or the House by agreeing to this House Order, with that kind of foggy language in
it. I would regret that I would not be able to agree to that.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West to close the debate.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: If the minister is prepared to table the numbers, names and what have
you, that is quite satisfactory. In some cases, though, I am sure that there are reasons that perhaps are not
normal for writing off debts and I thought that perhaps if there were some specific reasons other than the
business going bankrupt, et cetera, that the minister might supply them, but if he doesn’t want to do that, that
is fine.



MADAM SPEAKER: It was my understanding that the minister said he was not prepared to answer
the House Order.



MR. BOUDREAU: Perhaps there is some difficulty about this House Order, but I don’t think there
is any difficulty giving the honourable member a list of the names of the write-offs and the amounts, we are
perfectly prepared to do that.



MADAM SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion
please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 6.



H.O. No. 6, re Justice: Chief Firearms Officer - Job Description - notice given Apr. 3/95 - (Mr. B.
Taylor)



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I so move, Madam Speaker.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to say that the Minister of Justice has
agreed to this.



MADAM SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion
please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 12.



H.O. No. 12, re Health - Antigonish: Hospital-in-the-Home Project - Evaluation Table - notice given
Apr. 13/95 - (Ms. A. McDonough)



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: I so move, Madam Speaker.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Yes, we would be happy to comply and we will do it promptly.



MADAM SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion
please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I think that concludes all we can do for today with regard to House
Orders, Madam Speaker, and concludes Opposition Members’ Business for today.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: I would like to inform the members of the House that we will meet
tomorrow between the hours of 12:00 noon and 6:00 p.m. Following daily routine and Oral Question Period
will be Public Bills for Second Reading and Bill No. 3. I move that we adjourn until noon tomorrow.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. Honourable members, we have reached the hour of adjournment
and the time being 5:57 p.m., we will now begin the debate on the late show resolution. The resolution is:



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the people of
Annapolis County for creating the flagship of health reform, the Annapolis Community Health Centre.



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.



ANNA. CO. - ANNA. COMMUN. HEALTH CARE: CREATION - CONGRATS.



MR. EARLE RAYFUSE: Madam Speaker, our resolution tonight is, as you just mentioned:
Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the people of Annapolis
County for creating the flagship of health reform, the Annapolis Community Health Centre.



Just as in 1605 when history was made with the arrival of the first settlers to Annapolis County, so
was Saturday, April 8, 1995, witness to history again being made in Annapolis Royal. Tonight, Madam
Speaker, I am referring to the official opening of the Annapolis Community Health Care Centre at which I
had the honour to represent the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Health, the Honourable
Ronald Stewart.



The Annapolis General Hospital, as it was called, shed its in-patient services and has taken on a new
role focusing on emergency and home care services. This new focus for the Annapolis Community Health
Centre came about following an agreement made last fall between the Department of Health and the minister
and the hospital.



Madam Speaker, at this time, I am proud to applaud both parties for the open and creative
discussions that resulted in a new direction for this health centre. Furthermore, the plans developed by the
people of Annapolis are the best example of health system reform at work with the community to address their
unique health care needs. Health care reform is a fundamental change in the way Nova Scotians approach
health and use health care services. Health care reform decentralizes decision-making giving communities
more input into the health care decisions that affect them.



[6:00 p.m.]



On April 8th, the doors to the leading edge of health care in Canada opened with over 400 people
attending throughout the day. Positive spirits showed up to view the newest health care facility, learn more
about its new role as a community health centre and attend the unveiling of the new sign that displays the
official name, the Annapolis Community Health Centre.



I am pleased to inform you that the people of Annapolis have determined their needs and they
include: primary health services or in-house services, such as acute care which includes diagnosis, respite
care, palliative care and the Nova Scotia Home Care Substitution Program; ambulatory programs, these
programs will also be provided, such as ophthalmology assessment, same day surgery or laser treatments and
diagnostic techniques, such as blood labs and x-rays.



A new physiotherapy unit opened on April 8th; a diabetic day care centre; nutrition clinic; mental
health clinic; specialty clinics such as internal medicine, urology, surgery, gynaecology and cardiology; a well
women clinic; a crisis intervention program and related services such as equipment rentals; and last but not
least, emergency care which involves diagnosis with observation, detainment, admission or referral with
transportation to another facility or discharge, and this includes obstetrics.



I am very pleased to report that the health centre will provide 24 hour emergency coverage. The new
enhanced modular ambulance has been delivered to the centre through the Annapolis County Emergency
Medical Services. The director, Mike Reno is responsible for this pilot project for the enhanced ambulance
service in our province.



This state of the art ambulance is not only the first and the best in Nova Scotia, it is one of its kind
in North America. That is because the equipment on board is everything needed for a critical care unit. One
piece of equipment includes the Life Pack Eleven with a 12 lead diagnostic EKG machine. It is the only one
in Canada and the only one in use in North America. This machine is capable of doing a complete cardiac
diagnosis and then transmitting to the local hospitals through cellular fax transmissions. In addition, the
ambulance staff are receiving emergency medical assistants level 2 training. The only level 2 training outside
of British Columbia.



In addition to the new services and programs the services and programs presently offered from the
centre include Meals on Wheels. This is an nutritional program where the hospital delivers prepared meals
on a regular basis to individuals who have been identified as requiring assistance with food presentation.



Currently we have a crisis intervention program which is conducted by a social worker for senior
citizens in the community. These citizens may require assistance in terms of accessing short or long-term
appropriate health and social assistance. The palliative care program now offered is in the initial development
phase with a community liaison worker based at the health care centre. Respite care is also in the development
stage with a bed available within the centre.



Recently the board of directors of Annapolis Community Health Centre purchased a multi-purpose
van to assist in the transportation of the elderly. This was identified as a priority item in the needs assessment
conducted in May and June of last year.



In addition, Madam Speaker, the health centre provides physical space and administrative services
for the public health nurse, the mental health clinic, home care, homemakers, Annapolis Royal ambulance
services and the Victorian Order of Nurses.



Madam Speaker, the board of directors will review the information gathered in the needs assessment
and determine a number of priorities to be supported through local funding. This will be an ongoing program
and is intended to address the needs not covered by the Department of Health’s funding. Included among these
priorities would be the development of an Adult Day Care Program.



Madam Speaker, Annapolis Royal is known for its long tradition of commitment to the community
with full and active participation in the local health care system. As a result of the hard work, dedication and
forward thinking of a great many people, Annapolis Royal is now recognized as a leader in health reform in
Nova Scotia.



Madam Speaker, the renewed role of the health care facility and the expanded programs and services
that are now available in this area is a testament to what can be achieved when everyone works together to
support health reform. The people of Annapolis knew things would change and they rose to that challenge
to make the change for the better for the people who live in this area. We are proof of what good can come
when people work together for a common objective.



Madam Speaker, the people of the Annapolis area are to be commended for making sure that their
concerns were brought to me, the hospital board members, the Minister of Health and the Government of
Nova Scotia when the process began last year. It is with sincere pride that I continue to ensure that the voices
of the people of the riding of Annapolis will be heard in Halifax.



Again, Madam Speaker, I would like to conclude by extending my appreciation for the leadership
in health reform that the people of Annapolis have shown for the rest of this province. Thank you very much.
(Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: Are there further speakers in this debate?



Hearing none, we have reached the hour of adjournment. We stand adjourned until 12:00 noon
tomorrow.



[The House rose at 6:08 p.m.]