The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.






























HALIFAX, MONDAY, APRIL 24, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



4:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman









MR. SPEAKER: I will call the House to order at this time for the Monday sitting.



Are there any introductions of visitors before we commence the daily routine?



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Last Wednesday, April 19th, I put forth
a notice of motion in this Legislature and following the resolution, you suggested that you would take it under
advisement. More often than not, you either rule on these notices of motion almost immediately or, if not, at
least by the end of the day. I would like to know how much longer you are going to be reaching a decision on
the notice of motion? I can certainly refresh you memory, if you would like me to.



MR. SPEAKER: I don’t need my memory refreshed at all. The motion was objectionable and I hereby
rule it out of order. It referred to several members as backbenchers, rather than as honourable members and,
in several other ways it was objectionable. It is ruled out of order. (Interruptions)



The honourable Minister of Health.












873



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, on a less contentious issue, perhaps, I should like to make
an introduction and pay tribute and ask the House, through you, to extend a warm welcome. As many of you
know, our medical students and the physicians working in the health care system are very important to that
system. One of the programs we have begun in the Ministry of Health is one in which medical students have
been introduced to items of the health care system and have participated in that.



I would like to introduce one of the first participants in that program, Chris Culligan who is here to
visit us today, and we want to thank him for his attendance today. We look forward to meeting him in the
future. Thank you very much. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The daily routine of business.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



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, I am very pleased to inform members of the House that
Lunenburg County has been designated Forestry Capital of Canada in 1996. (Applause) This award brings
distinction and honour to Lunenburg County and was officially announced over the weekend by the Canadian
Forestry Association. The Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association actively pursued this
designation and I am sure all members of the House will join me in congratulating the association and its
members for their success in securing this honour for the county.



Lunenburg County has a long and proud tradition in forestry, Mr. Speaker, and I am delighted to see
its recognition in this manner. The Forestry Capital of Canada designation presents an excellent opportunity
to focus nationally and, yes, internationally, attention on the various aspects of forestry that thrive in
Lunenburg County.



These include: the well-managed woodlots in the county, many of them owned by several generations
of the same family; Lunenburg County’s world-class Christmas tree plantations, as well as the wreaths and
brush industries, value added; community sawmills, which play such an important role in the economic well-being of rural Nova Scotia and, certainly, rural Lunenburg County; and a variety of wood processing
industries which help provide jobs and incomes to people in our area.



This distinction is also a fitting tribute to the hundreds of Lunenburg County men and women who
work so hard in the forestry sector. They can be proud of their dedication and efforts which contribute so
greatly to the success of the forestry sector. This marks the second time that a Nova Scotia community has
been designated Forestry Capital of Canada. Our good neighbours, Queens County, won this honour in 1987.
It was a good success for Queens and I am confident it will be equally successful for Lunenburg County. On
behalf of the other Lunenburg County MLAs - my good friend, Lila O’Connor and Minister of Fisheries,
James Barkhouse - I wish the Forestry Capital Committee great success in this project in 1996.



Mr. Speaker, if Lunenburg County can be the balsam fir Christmas tree capital of the world, it is
obvious it has what it takes to be the Forestry Capital of Canada. Thank you very much. (Applause)



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the statement by the Minister of Natural
Resources. No question, Lunenburg County, and Lunenburg in particular, is a very diverse community, still
quite involved in the fishery. Now we find that Lunenburg County has been named the Forestry Capital of
Canada. That is certainly an outstanding achievement so I certainly join in with the minister in his exuberance
and it is certainly justified.



I did happen to catch the minister on, I believe, Atlantic Television Network last night, and I
certainly enjoyed that feature also. The minister notes that the County of Queens was so honoured back in
1987 and that certainly was, I am sure, at that time a very remarkable occasion of the day.



There is no question that forestry does play a very important part in our rural economy right across
this province, from one end to the other. We do have a lot of concerns about forestry, just where it is going.
I am sure the minister is very concerned (Interruption)



AN HON. MEMBER: Well he ought to be. Where is that federal agreement?



MR. TAYLOR: From time to time I question the minister just where in fact the government stands
on this important issue. Like my colleague suggested, why we may be green, we are certainly not a Christmas
tree.



Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my caucus, I want to commend Lunenburg County as the
Forestry Capital of Canada. As I said before, we certainly do appreciate the minister, his involvement in this
and the Forestry Capital Committee that worked so hard and their work has certainly been rewarded. Thank
you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, just let me say, I welcome the announcement by the
minister and I lend the congratulations of the NDP caucus to Lunenburg County for winning this award.



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.



RESOLUTION NO. 169



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



Whereas the late Leonard Rambeau dedicated his life to helping and giving leadership to young
entertainers in Atlantic Canada; and



Whereas Anne Murray and Rita MacNeil have both seen their careers grow through Leonard’s
leadership; and



Whereas this man will be missed by all Nova Scotians as he promoted this province and our people
at every opportunity;



Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly offer their sympathy to Leonard’s parents and
his wife and children.



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.



The honourable Minister of Labour.



RESOLUTION NO. 170



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



Whereas 91 years ago on this day in 1904 the Community of Oxford in Cumberland County was
incorporated as a town; and



Whereas through its 91 years of history, Oxford has grown to become an agricultural and commercial
centre for Cumberland County; and



Whereas the Town of Oxford has a growing tourist industry and is widely known as the Blueberry
Capital of the World;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the citizens, to Mayor Francis A.
McConaghy on the occasion of their 91st Anniversary of their incorporation to the Town of Oxford.



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.



The honourable Minister of Human Resources.






RESOLUTION NO. 171



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



Whereas this week is set aside to honour and acknowledge secretaries; and



Whereas the great work carried out by secretaries in every field, including government and business,
helps ensure the efficient conduct of business; and



Whereas without the dedicated service of secretaries, the business of the province and indeed of all
of Canada would grind to a halt;



Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the work and commitment of all secretaries during
Secretaries’ Week and not forget the invaluable service they offer throughout the year.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



[4:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.



Bill No. 12 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 170 of the Acts of 1895. An Act to Incorporate
the Hopewell Cemetery Company in the County of Pictou. (Mr. Wayne Fraser)



Bill No. 13 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Nova Scotia Health-care System. (Ms. Alexa
McDonough)



MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.



NOTICES OF MOTION



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



RESOLUTION NO. 172



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



Whereas Nova Scotia’s forest industry is valued at millions of dollars and provides thousands of jobs;
and



Whereas a number of these jobs are the result of Lunenburg County being known around the world
for Christmas trees produced in the county each year; and



Whereas Lunenburg County has been named the Forestry Capital of Canada for 1996 by the
Canadian Forestry Association;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature commend the hardworking individuals
involved with the forest industry in Lunenburg County and wish them every success in 1996.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried unanimously.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 173



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 government is proposing to establish the Highway No. 104 Western Alignment
Corporation to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the western alignment; and



Whereas the corporation is not to be an agent of Her Majesty for any purpose even though the board
of directors will be appointed by Cabinet; and



Whereas the government has not included any plans for requiring an audit or report of the
corporation despite taxpayer’s direct and indirect financing of its construction and operation;



Therefore be it resolved that the government agree not to proceed with the establishment of the
Highway No. 104 Western Alignment Corporation until or unless it makes clear its intention to ensure full
access of the Auditor General of Nova Scotia to audit the corporation on an ongoing basis.



MR. SPEAKER: I am going to allow that motion to be tabled in the interest of freedom of expression
but I must point out that it appears to duplicate the provisions of Bill No. 10, in my opinion. I think other
Speakers might rule that out of order, however, I won’t.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 174



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



Whereas to date government members of the Legislature have refused to say whether they support
a national long arm gun registration system; and



Whereas numerous constituents in rural Nova Scotia want to know not only where their elected
Members of Parliament stand on this issue but also their elected members of the Legislature; and



Whereas this could not have been any more obvious than yesterday afternoon in Middleton when over
300 individuals crammed into a local auditorium to once again vent their frustration on the federal
government’s gun control registration system;



Therefore be it resolved that government members of this Legislature let their constituents know of
the Nova Scotia Government’s position on gun registration.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.



RESOLUTION NO. 175



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



Whereas this being Education Week and David Williamson, a history teacher at Halifax West High
School, has been awarded a $2,500 provincial/territorial Hilroy Fellowship; and



Whereas this award was for a project entitled “Rockingham Inn and Community Involvement in
Education”; and



Whereas a total of 73 Grade 11 students worked with professional archaeologists in a real setting in
their community;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Williamson
on achieving this most meritorious educational award.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Eastern Shore.



RESOLUTION NO. 176



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



Whereas Lynda Conrad and Etta Parker of the Eastern Shore Environmental Group are helping to
preserve the Wood Duck by erecting 18 nesting boxes in West Lawrencetown Marsh; and



Whereas the natural habitat of many waterfowl species has been endangered or lost in recent years,
threatening their very survival; and



Whereas the presence of many different species of waterfowl, marine life and woodland animals will
enhance the attractiveness of the Eastern Shore for Nova Scotians and tourists alike;



Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the work of Lynda Conrad and Etta Parker and all
the members of the Eastern Shore Environmental Group for their commitment to the survival of the Wood
Duck.



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.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 177



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



Whereas the fishery in Nova Scotia is the largest in Canada, both in terms of landed weight and
landed value; and



Whereas over-exploitation of those stocks has already had a devastating impact on thousands of Nova
Scotians in our small coastal communities and the time has come to learn and act upon the lessons of the past;
and



Whereas the impetus to diversify the fishery into new species cannot be allowed to lead to further
over-exploitation, and the Nova Scotia Government, as regulator of processing plants, can have a major
influence on the exploitation of stocks;



Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government carry out a class environmental assessment
of provincial fishery policy and management practices, to assess the steps needed to protect the sustainability
of our fishery.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Hants West.



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



Whereas the Deputy Speaker is quoted in a recent newspaper article saying she deliberately absented
herself from the vote to hoist the municipal amalgamation bill because deputy speakers have never voted; and



Whereas a review of the recorded votes show that from October 19, 1993 to November 21, 1994 the
Deputy Speaker of this House voted no less than 30 times on bills or amendments before this House; and



Whereas the reason cited by the Deputy Speaker is absolutely without foundation, runs contrary to
the traditions and rules of this House and is nothing more than a clandestine attempt to duck the fall-out from
voting the Party line;



Therefore be it resolved that the Deputy Speaker begin exercising her legislative responsibilities and
that she fulfil her obligation to the constituents of Bedford-Fall River by voting on issues of concern to them -
issues that they expect their MLA will, at the very least, stand up and be accountable for.



MR. SPEAKER: I don’t know if I would want to table that motion. Let me take it under advisement
and consult with the Clerks as to the propriety of it.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



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 proposed amalgamation of municipalities in the greater metropolitan area of Halifax
into one uni-city is a policy of the Liberal Government that obviously surprised a large number of citizens,
including many members of the Liberal caucus; and



Whereas many Liberal caucus members were unavoidably or conveniently absent from the House for
the vote to hoist the amalgamation bill for six months; and



Whereas it could appear to many that some Liberal members are trying to distance themselves from
the government’s policies by being absent for recorded votes;



Therefore be it resolved that members of the Liberal caucus, including those representing constituents
in the greater metropolitan area of Halifax publicly state on the record where they stand on the government’s
amalgamation initiative.



MR. SPEAKER: I want to take that one under advisement, too because I recall this weekend reading
in Sir Erskine May’s Treatise that the reference to the specific presence or absence of a member in the House
is not parliamentary and I want to . . .



MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order I did not make reference to any individual specific member.
I referred to a general classification. I did not refer to any individual members.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I do want to say that while I cannot make a specific citation at this time, I
definitely read it in this book over the weekend that reference to the specific presence or absence of a member
in the House is not parliamentary. I would say, too that it is not in the usage or precedent of the House that
I recall. If, for example, the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party were not here, I don’t know that
anyone would make a great to-do about it.



MR. HOLM: The point, Mr. Speaker and trying to be helpful and you may not have heard my
intervention just a moment ago, but if you read my resolution very carefully you will note that I have not made
reference to any individual member. I was referring to the fact that many members were absent, but I did not
refer to them specifically.



MR. SPEAKER: I will take the matter under advisement after . . .



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the Rules and Forms of Procedure of
this House allows for people to be absent, otherwise we would not have provisions in there for a quorum.
Obviously, the tactic employed by Opposition members in recent days and other times is nothing more than
political mischief and should be recognized for that.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I do not intend to tie the House up right now looking through Sir Erskine
May. I know I can find what I am looking for and when I do I shall issue my ruling.



The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 178



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



Whereas centennial celebrations are being held in Hantsport during 1995; and



Whereas Tuesday, April 25th is the key day of celebration as residents celebrate the 100th Birthday
of their incorporation as a town; and



Whereas residents will revisit the year 1895 in a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Hantsport
school;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature wish the citizens of Hantsport the very
best in their 100th Birthday celebrations and continued success over the next 100 years.



Mr. Speaker, I would move waiver.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 179



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



Whereas agriculture as an activity of Nova Scotians is both crucial to us as a way of life to be
protected and vital to our economy; and



Whereas modern farming relies heavily on off-farm inputs, such as chemical pesticides and
fertilizers, but the long-term impacts of these chemicals on both the individual sprayers and on the
groundwater supply are not entirely known and a cautious approach is therefore warranted; and



Whereas Nova Scotian farmers have made significant strides in implementing Integrated Pest
Management as a step in moving away from the reliance on off-farm inputs and further steps ought to be
encouraged in this direction;



Therefore be it resolved that a major policy of the Department of Agriculture and Marketing ought
to be to encourage the transition of farms to entirely environmentally benign practices and that this include
financial subsidies to ease the transition.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there further notices of motion? If not, that would conclude the daily routine. We will now
advance.



The honourable the Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Could we revert briefly to the order of business, Tabling Reports,
Regulations and Other Papers.



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Supply and Services.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table today the Surplus Crown Property
Disposal Report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1995. This marks only the second time in the 35 year
history of the Surplus Crown Property Disposal Act that this report has been tabled in the House as required
by the Act. My colleague and predecessor, the Honourable Wayne Adams tabled it for the first time last year
and this is the second tabling.



[4:30 p.m.]



This report clearly details the matter in which surplus Crown property was disposed of, be it sold
through auction or tender, donated to charitable organizations or identified as scrap. Government has also
recycled hundreds of computer components, CPU’s, monitors, keyboards, printers and laptops through the
NovaKnowledge Association for distribution to Nova Scotia schools. Auction and tender sales of surplus
property have earned government more than $150,000 in revenue. In addition, we have made every effort to
ensure that no surplus Crown property was discarded if it could be of use or of value to other departments,
schools or non-profit organizations.



In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say, when this report was tabled last year there were some
doubting Thomases on the other side of the House who questioned various items in the report, as to whether
or not they were of a disposable nature. To overcome those doubting Thomases, we have photographed every
item disposed of and those photographs reside in my department and, by the appropriate appointment, I would
be more than willing to show any member a photograph of this disposed property. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: In response briefly, the honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I assume you accepted that diatribe from the minister as a ministerial
statement and not the tabling of a report.



Just following up on the minister’s comments that he used as he closed, I would like to ask, Mr.
Speaker, through you, that the minister would tomorrow table here in this place the photographs of the
vacuum cleaner, the air conditioner and the chain saw which were disposed of through the Economic Renewal
Agency, Fort Lawrence, under Auction No. AU 94-077; I would also like the minister to table here in this
place the photograph of the belt sander and the dust collector disposed of by the Department of Education
under No. AU 94-078; I would also like the minister to table here the photographs tomorrow of the sink,
wheelchair, table, rack, and the silverware holder disposed of by the Nova Scotia Hospital, Auction No. AU
94-084; and I would like, speaking of photographs, the honourable member to table the photograph of the
copy camera disposed of by the Department of Natural Resources, No. AU 94-091.



I would also like to go on and on but with deference in respect to the rules of this place I will not.
Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect I rise frankly, because I think, with the greatest respect, you have been
very quick to suggest on any number of occasions - and perhaps rightly so - that members of this caucus and
the NDP caucus, in your opinion and by your ruling, infringed the Rules and Forms of Precedence of this
place.



This minister stood up a moment ago, purported to table a report and then practically broke both
arms patting himself on the back to the effect that this is the second time in 35 years that this report has been
tabled and then goes on to talk about taking photographs of all of the items referred to in the document. With
the greatest respect, an absolute abuse, if I may say so, of the order of business under which the honourable
minister was given permission to rise and make his presentation. He was given permission to rise . . .



MR. SPEAKER: If I may, this is not a response to the ministerial statement, it is more of a point of
order. I would say this in response to the point that is being made - when the Speaker is speaking, please sit
down - it is at the discretion of the Chair to interpret the rules and if the Government House Leader asks that
the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers be called and the minister proceeds to
table the report and thereupon to make a ministerial statement. That has been done in this House before, that
is not an unusual procedure.



The very fact (Interruptions) Please, please, I have the floor.



AN HON. MEMBER: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: All microphones will be shut off until I resume my Chair.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.



MR. SPEAKER: Now as I was saying, if the minister makes a statement, the right of response has
not been denied to the Opposition Parties, they are now in the course of responding. Therefore, I find that
there is no breach of order.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. If the honourable member will just
recite those for me again, I think I missed the second or third one. I suppose, to overcome that difficulty, I will
table the whole album tomorrow, so that the honourable member can look at any photograph he wishes.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Yes, on the point of order. Mr. Speaker, what I see going on here is, quite
honestly, silly. It is the kind of thing that, quite frankly, brings disrespect upon what we do within this House.



Mr. Speaker, we have a practice in this House. Now whether it is one that you recognize, Sir, or is
one that is widely held by members on the government benches, but we have a widely held practice in this
House that when ministers stand in their place to make a ministerial statement, they do just that, they make
a ministerial statement under the heading of Statements by Ministers and provide copies to members of the
Opposition.



When we have the tabling of a report, a minister simply stands and announces that they wish to table
a report. There are no responses from members of the Opposition benches, it is simply a report that is being
placed on the Table and no speeches being provided.



Mr. Speaker, what I am trying to get at here, quite simply, and I am not trying to cast stones or make
accusations, the minister is a new minister and maybe the minister has made a mistake, in that he should have
made a ministerial statement. But surely the kind of thing that we have seen going on in the last little while,
as a result of what I believe anyway, was a breach of the practices if not the Rules of this House, is one that
we can and should be avoiding. It can be handled very simply by a ruling or by an agreement of members of
this House that when a minister makes a ministerial statement, it will be that. Then, if they wish to table a
report, they do it without the rhetoric and rabbit tracks and so on, which were surely intended to incite.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



MR. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I, too, agree this perhaps got carried away and is a bit silly,
I will accept the responsibility. Perhaps what I should have asked for was to revert to the orders of business,
Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers and Statements by Ministers. I didn’t. One rolls into another,
there is no interjection to Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers. So the next step would obviously
have been for the minister to get up on his statement. I will accept the responsibility for not announcing that
when I got up.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, I do have to take issue with my colleague,
the Government House Leader. There are two distinct, different orders of business under the daily routine.
One is Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers, the second is Statements by Ministers. This does not
provide ministers an opportunity to have a menu from which to select whatever item they choose. They are
restricted to the order which is requested by the Government House Leader and called by the Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, no doubt all that is true but when a statement obviously began to be made,
I did allow the right of response. I feel that under the circumstances, that was the prudent thing to do.



Is there any further business to come before the House under the heading of the daily routine? If not,
we will advance to Orders of the Day.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



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



PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 3.



Bill No. 3 - Halifax Regional Municipality Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The debate was adjourned, I believe, by the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic
who has I believe, some 22 minutes remaining.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Suffice to say I will not need the full
remaining time. I guess I really want to summarize my position on this amendment, which is to refer the
contents and the implications of Bill No. 3 to the Public Accounts Committee to look at the ramifications and
tax rates for the metropolitan municipalities.



As I have tried to argue, Mr. Speaker, I think that the questions that have been raised and the reports
that have been done on this issue, first of all, the Hayward Report of 1992 and then the subsequent report done
by that same minister as the commissioner responsible for the amalgamation in 1994-95, as well as the most
recent report conducted by UMA/Doane Raymond for the metropolitan municipalities, there are some very
serious questions raised in those reports about what is going to happen to the tax rates of people in Halifax,
people in Dartmouth, people in Halifax County, Bedford and Sackville.



I think it is only prudent of this government to not push headlong into this whole mess, but to refer
the question to the Public Accounts Committee, let us, and I say us because I am a member of that committee,
examine it, call expert witnesses in order to deal with some of the underlying assumptions that have been
made with respect to the predictions and let us come out with a full package of what people can expect to see
in terms of the tax rate implications from the merger of the metropolitan municipalities together with the
already completed service exchange.



Mr. Speaker, I think that that is a responsible suggestion by the member for Hants West, who
introduced this motion. I would support it and encourage all members to do likewise. The problem with this
process right from the start, as with so many other things this government has done, is that they have made
a unilateral decision and they have been ham-handed in terms of dealing with the details. They are pushing
through. They are telling people what is going to happen instead of actually engaging in some dialogue and
some discussion on what the options and the outcomes are going to be and, as a result, people have their backs
up. People are concerned about what is going to happen and the result is going to be, I think, if they do go
forward in this manner, it is going to affect whether or not this is going to have a positive outcome at all.



So, Mr. Speaker, I think it would be to the benefit of all of the residents of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth if this matter was referred to the Public Accounts Committee and I would recommend that all
members, in particular those members whose constituents reside within the boundaries of Halifax County, to
vote in favour of this amendment and send it on to Public Accounts and let’s deal with the real concerns that
residents have about the implications of Bill No. 3 on their tax rates. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak very briefly on the
amendment that is before us, an amendment introduced by the member for Hants West, I believe, to Bill No.
3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is, I think, a very reasonable and supportable
amendment, one that proposes that the subject matter of Bill No. 3 be referred to the Public Accounts
Committee for the purpose of conducting hearings to determine the fiscal impact of amalgamation on the
residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area.



Mr. Speaker, it may be that some persons on hearing such an amendment, will wonder why any such
proposal is contemplated and wonder if, in fact, the government has not already fully considered the fiscal
impact of amalgamation on residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area.



[4:45 p.m.]



I think, suffice it to say, that there is widespread concern that the issue of the amalgamation impact
on tax rates has not been fully and thoroughly considered. If, in fact, that is an unfair criticism of the
government’s amalgamation proposal that is before us then one can say at the very least that the government
has not seen fit to fully share with the public their analysis of the fiscal impact of the proposed amalgamation
on the residential and commercial tax rates.



Interestingly on Friday, as frequently happens in this House, there were a series of student groups
who came to the Legislature for the purpose of becoming familiar with what goes on here at the House of
Assembly and coming to some understanding of the legislative process. On Friday there were a couple of
groups in succession of students from Halifax West High School in my riding, who are enrolled in the law
course at Halifax West, I think some 150 students actually are enrolled in the law courses offered at Halifax
West. They asked what I thought were some really quite impressive points.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much background noise. I cannot hear the honourable
member making her speech. Please refrain yourselves.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Those students who visited the House on Friday were not only interested in
the bill that was before the House and what the impact would be of incorporating the four municipal units in
the metro regional area into one Halifax regional municipality, but actually, to my delight, those students
asked some really quite well-informed questions about what the likely impact was to be.



In particular, I thought it was quite impressive that they had concerned themselves, I am not sure
whether it was because some individual students had a real interest in this issue or whether in fact it had been
the subject matter of some extensive discussion in their high school law course, whichever explains the fact,
the fact remains that those students asked some very informed questions about how thoroughly the impact had
been considered and how much detailed analysis had been shared with the public. They seemed to be quite
aware that the cost projections that the government had shared with the public in its advocacy of this
amalgamation, had not given a really thorough and accurate picture of what the impact of amalgamation
would be.



They showed some awareness in their questions, for example, that with the proposed amalgamation
of the four municipal units in metro taking place, that in fact there needed to be a very thorough consideration
of what costs would be associated with introducing the harmonizing of a number of different policies, both
policies with respect to the provision of services and policies with respect to personnel and not just wage rates
but benefit packages and so on.



They, frankly, were putting me on the spot to answer questions about how thoroughly the financial
implications of merging the four units, amalgamating the four units, into one municipal superstructure had
taken into account the simple reality that there are going to be considerable costs associated with bringing
together public sector employees in four different units who are currently paid a vast differential of pay rates
or have quite different benefits attached to their remuneration packages. They wanted to know to what extent
the cost projections, in fact, reflected an accurate accounting of what the increased costs were going to be of
bringing the standard of both services provided and personnel packages paid to employees up to uniform
standards.



Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I was not able to fully assure them on that point, which brings us to the
amendment that is now before us. It is quite clear that if we are going to have an accurate understanding, a
completely accurate view of what the fiscal impact of this proposed amalgamation will be on residential and
commercial tax rates within the affected area, then at an absolute minimum we have to have to a full and
detailed accounting of what the costs will be associated with the harmonization.



We are not just talking about . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Again, order.



MS. MCDONOUGH: . . . recognizing the reality - my throat is going here.



MR. SPEAKER: It might be best just to be quiet until order comes.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think it is evident that we can’t expect that if you
are going to amalgamate the units into one metro super unit, which is what is proposed, that you can’t possibly
be serious about paying, for example, recreation workers in one part of that new mega-municipality one rate
of pay and recreation workers in another area a different rate of pay. You can’t surely be planning to pay
firemen in one area, let’s say in the Halifax County portion of the existing municipal structure, a different rate
of pay than what you are going to be prepared to pay firemen who are providing identical services and,
presumably, of the same quality, of the same standard in, let’s say, the Halifax portion of that new mega-municipal unit. So, there clearly are a lot of unanswered questions here.



Similarly, Mr. Speaker, we know that there is considerable unevenness in the quality of services that
now exist. In some cases for historic reasons, in some cases related to differing financial capacities of the
various municipal units. Of course, in some cases, as a result of the different priorities that have been adopted
by different municipal units over time.



One of the questions that arises, for example, is what the intentions will be and then what the cost
implications associated with any such decisions will be of recognizing that the City of Halifax, over a very
long period of time, over 25 years now, for example, has had a social planning department that is really not
paralleled by any other of the three municipalities that are proposed for this merger nor in existence in any
other of the remaining 62 municipalities in the province.



In my early years in the work force, I had the opportunity to work in that Social Planning Department
of the City of Halifax for a number of years. I don’t say this with any reference to the years that I was there,
Mr. Speaker, but I have been long gone and it, I think would be fair to say and without fear of contradiction,
I think a lot of people would agree that in a number of very important areas of community service, both in
regard to preventive programs and rehabilitative programs as well as a whole vast array of support programs.
Perhaps the greatest significance of all in regard to a variety of job training and job creation projects, the
Social Planning Department of the City of Halifax has piloted and pioneered a number of very important
developments.



Of course, there have been costs incurred in the process of doing that, costs for personnel to be
involved in the research and developmental aspect of those programs, costs associated with often negotiating
or cost-sharing with the provincial and federal government and, very often, extremely important partnerships.
I know this government is very fond of talking about partnerships. Without exception, what they seem to
always have in mind when they talk about partnerships are partnerships with business corporations. But the
Social Planning Department over the years has very often entered into extremely important partnerships
through shared arrangements with a variety of community service agencies, either voluntary non-profit
agencies or, in a number of cases, with various kinds of small business enterprises that have, in fact, been
operating on a non-profit basis.



It is true that there have been costs associated with the various pilot projects and pioneering
initiatives of that Social Planning Department, but I think that there are very few people who wouldn’t
acknowledge that there have been significant cost-savings incurred as well, as a result of the effective
preventive measures in many cases, in reference to a number of important job re-entry and job training
programs which then have fed into some very important job generation projects.



I know that at least one member of the House, himself a former member of Halifax City Council, will
know very well that that has often represented a front-end investment on behalf of both social assistance
recipients and on behalf of the taxpayers, and certainly has incurred costs in the process of launching those
programs. He will also be in a position to attest to the fact that it has paid off, as any sound investments do,
in reallocating the expenditures associated with those programs: first, from the social assistance rolls to some
of those pilot projects and then, most importantly and in keeping with the objectives of those programs, in
providing for the full transition to independence and economic self-sufficiency by a great many people who
have availed themselves of those various important programs.



My point is that those are programs that have been critically important, not just to the Municipality
of Halifax, not just to those who have participated in those projects directly but also, to the taxpayers affected
by those very wise and sound financial investments in job rehabilitation and job generation that has benefitted
those individuals and also, I think, on a much broader basis, in often blazing the trail for the benefit of other
municipal units who have seen the wisdom to follow suit and introduce similar programs.



Mr. Speaker, it is not at all clear that there has been a thorough analysis of the impact of the
amalgamation that is proposed here which will, of course, have the effect of either bringing up to the standard
set by, in this case, the Social Planning Department, but there are other programs as well that one can point
to as exemplary and visionary and I think, over the long term, very wise investments.



[5:00 p.m.]



We don’t have the kind of detailed information at this point that would clearly indicate what the fate
is to be of such programs. That of course, is not only going to have direct impact on the recipients of service
or those who will be denied such support services in the future, but it will also clearly have financial impact,
in terms of what the costs and benefits will be to taxpayers.



So, Mr. Speaker, I think that the proposal before us in the form of an amendment by the member for
Hants West, to refer this whole subject matter of Bill No. 3 to the Public Accounts Committee, is a very
reasonable and sound proposal. Of course, what the intention is, is that there be a more complete analysis of
what the financial implications, short-term and medium-term will be, of this proposed amalgamation and
what effect that will have, in turn, on the tax rates for the persons in these four municipalities, that will be
brought together in one mega-municipality.



Mr. Speaker, members will be familiar with the fact that the Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, the
Town of Bedford and the County of Halifax, were extremely dismayed with the decision of this minister and
this government, to barrel ahead with what has to be seen as an accelerated timetable to put this amalgamation
into effect by April 1996. It is well known that this is a decision that the government took after the 1993
election, in contradiction to the commitments made prior to the election, in fact, having specifically
campaigned against that approach to amalgamation, that accelerated timetable, and in specific defiance of
the commitment that was made to a much more thorough consultation process. Secondly, in defiance of a
commitment made to set out all of the facts and figures for consideration and, indeed, to map out a series of
alternatives that could be fully considered by the public and on which the public ought to have some real say.



I think it is not surprising, in view of the fact that the government completely changed its tune and
decided to take a different course, that the four municipal units affected came together and made a decision
to hire a consultant to conduct a more thorough analysis of the impact of the municipal amalgamation.



I am sure that by now, all members will have had the benefit of receiving a copy, or certainly of
having access to a copy of that report that was made public on April 12, 1995. In that report, it becomes quite
clear, if you just familiarize yourself with the executive summary, that in fact, some of the representations to
the public, in trying to gain favour for this accelerated timetable and this municipal amalgamation, have not
been completely accurate or have not been sufficiently comprehensive to give the whole picture.



There have been, I think it is fair to say on the basis of this consultants’ report and other analyses that
have been brought forward, that the government has seen fit to exaggerate the cost-savings that would be
involved in combining some of the administrative operations of the four municipal units. Conversely, that the
government has not fully taken account of what the financial impact is going to be on the overall costs and
expenditures of the service exchange that is currently in the process of being carried out. It also would appear
from the consultants’ report that the government has not really taken account of some fairly significant capital
expenditures that may well be incurred in the near future that for whatever reason the government has not
seen fit to bring forward to give a completely accurate picture.



I want simply to indicate my support as my other caucus colleagues have for the amendment that is
before us, an amendment to refer this whole matter, the subject matter of Bill No. 3 to the Public Accounts
Committee, to do a more thorough analysis of the costs and benefits, to examine the evidence that is now in
hand to determine where there may be gaps in the information and to invite public representations to the
Public Accounts Committee that will enable people to come forward and either take issue with the projections
that have been presented by the government, to perhaps expand upon some of the concerns that have been
raised by the individual municipalities that are going to be affected and perhaps on consideration of the UMA
Report entitled, Analysis of Municipal Amalgamation to add to the considerations that have been identified
there that it is quite clear need to be more thoroughly considered and fleshed out before the government
proceeds at this accelerated pace with decisions, the full implications of which are not fully understood and
in particular, as indicated in this amendment the full fiscal impact of which - both upon residential taxpayers
and upon commercial taxpayers within the affected area - have not been fully considered.



I would urge that other members recognize that if it is obvious to high school students, who decide
to make a cursory study of what is happening with this legislation and what its impact is likely to be on the
future, then surely it is clear to all members that there is more homework that needs to be done, more analysis
and consultation that is required. I suppose it is fair to say, and perhaps this is the most important thing of
all for us to acknowledge, that high school students perhaps have the greatest stake in just exactly what the
overall implications of amalgamation will mean for them and what the fiscal impact of amalgamation will
be on future tax rates because they will be both the taxpayers of the future in a very short period of time and
also will be full citizens and residents of this new mega-municipality who are trying to ensure that there is
a standard of service maintained and that the impact of amalgamation will not be, as many people fear, the
possibility that we will see some erosion of services lowering the standards to the lowest common
denominator.



This in fact, has very frequently been one of the pressures that is brought to bear in the process of
amalgamation and I think they are realistic concerns that that not be allowed to happen in this instance. For
the benefit, not just of the high school students who came to the House and expressed that very concern when
they were here on Friday but I think for the benefit of all citizens whom we represent, particularly for all
members of the Legislature who represent municipal residents in these four municipalities, it surely is
reasonable to ask all members to support this amendment to refer the subject matter of Bill No. 3 to the Public
Accounts Committee which will report back with a more thorough analysis and more detailed information
that will allow us to make the responsible decisions with which we are entrusted. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Are there any further speakers to the amendment? If not, we will now
put the question. The question is that Bill No. 3 be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
The motion was made by the honourable member for Hants West and reads, specifically, as follows:



that the words after that be deleted and the following substituted: “the subject matter of Bill
No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality, be referred to the Public
Accounts Committee to conduct hearings to determine the fiscal impact of amalgamation
and the residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area.”.



So the question will be on that proposition. I hear several members calling for a recorded vote.



Are the Whips satisfied?



I hear several Nays.



Ring the bells. Call in the members.



[5:11 p.m.]



[The Division bells were rung.]



MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied? The bells will now stop ringing and the Clerks will
conduct the vote.



[The Clerk calls the roll.]



[5:32 p.m.]



YEAS NAYS



Mr. Moody Mr. Barkhouse

 

Mr. Donahoe Mrs. Norrie

 

Mr. Russell Mr. Downe

 

Mr. Leefe Dr. Smith

 

Mr. Holm Mr. Boudreau

 

Mr. Chisholm Mr. Gillis

 

Ms. McDonough Dr. Stewart

 

Mr. Archibald Ms. Jolly

 

Mr. Taylor Mr. MacEachern

 

Mr. McInnes Mr. Mann

 

Dr. Hamm Mr. Gaudet

 

Mr. O’Malley

 

Mr. Abbass

 

Mr. Adams

 

Mr. Brown

 

Mr. Lorraine

 

Mr. M. MacDonald

 

Mrs. Cosman

 

Mr. MacAskill

 

Mr. MacArthur

 

Mr. MacNeil

 

Mr. Richards

 

Mr. Surette

 

Mr. Holland

 

Mrs. O’Connor

 

Mr. Mitchell

 

Mr. Carruthers

 

Mr. Fogarty

 

Mr. Hubbard

 

Mr. W. MacDonald

 

Mr. Fraser

 

Mr. Colwell

 

Mr. Huskilson



THE CLERK: For, 11. Against, 33.



MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment carried in the negative.



We are now back to the main motion, that Bill No. 3 be now read a second time.



I hear the question being called.



The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to rise to speak on Bill
No. 3. I have some concerns, as I know a number of members do with regards to this legislation. I think one
of the disappointing parts of this legislation was the fact that there wasn’t the kind of consultation after the
government announced that it would be introduced before we got the bill before the House.



The government, when it made its announcement, I think took a lot of people off guard because
during the campaign, the government campaigned on the fact that there would be no amalgamation without
consultation, there would be no amalgamation unless the municipal units were in favour. My concern is that
we have a bill which is quite different from the bill we saw with regard to the Cape Breton amalgamated area.



One of the things a number of people that I have talked to can’t understand is why this government
fails to treat all parts of the province the same. I know that the Premier indicated that he would hope no one
would pit one end of the province against another and that is true. But here we have a government that pits
various areas of the province against one another. Maybe it is divide and conquer, I am not sure what the
motive is.



We got off to a bad start because when the announcement came that the four municipal units would
amalgamate, unlike Cape Breton where we had a request by the mayors and leaders in those four
municipalities who indicated they wanted amalgamation, we had some units in Cape Breton that were not
financially as viable as the four units that we have in metro.



The government made the choice in Cape Breton to put the units together so that those that were
more prosperous could support those that weren’t so prosperous and in the end, the tax rate wouldn’t change
in Cape Breton although there is some speculation. I think in all fairness, there is not the chance of the rates
going up like there is in metro. Part of that is because the government here, this Liberal Government, has
decided that in this legislation they do not pay the social services funding, the costs, like they do in Cape
Breton. Once that scenario changed then obviously the tax rate will be affected because of that change. You
are going to have in this amalgamated area the taxpayer picking up some of the social services costs which
aren’t going to be picked up by the local taxpayer in Cape Breton.



The types of councils that the metro bill talks about provides for four different types of councils. This
type of set-up of councils was not in the Cape Breton legislation and I have yet to understand what in the
world is so different in the metro region that is so different in Cape Breton? I thought you lived in Nova
Scotia, yes, we have our uniqueness, our identities and our communities around the province but I can’t
understand why the councils that are provided for in this legislation, which I know some people have some
difficulty with because these councils in this legislation shall be set up. It doesn’t matter whether the people
living in the four municipalities decide afterwards that councils are good for them or bad for them, this
legislation sets it up.



Some people might say and I have heard it said, that the communities set up in this legislation are
artificial and are not real and maybe without the kind of real powers. Some people think that the councils that
are set up in this legislation should not be forced. In other words, once we have a government that is elected
in the amalgamated area, that government which deals with the local issues can then decide themselves after
the proper consultation takes place, what kind of a set-up works best.



Now we know that they have advisory councils or community councils and whether it be Sackville
or some of those areas that seem to work well, but that didn’t come from the province, it came from the
councils, the Halifax County Council itself decided that would work best in dealing with some urban areas
that are in Halifax County.



What we have here is the provincial government under this legislation that is telling this municipal
council, this large council that is being created, that you are not smart enough to figure out what is best,
working with the people in those areas; we are smarter than you are so we are going to tell you how it is going
to work. Whether it works well or not, it is hard to know when something that is being driven from the top
down and not from the bottom up. So there is - and if it was such a great idea, why in Cape Breton don’t we
have any of these four different types of community councils? There are no community councils, the types that
are provided for in this legislation that have actually been set up in Cape Breton.



The minister is shaking her head, yes, well I would be pleased and want to learn because I wasn’t
aware, in that legislation, that the four different types that this bill provides for were provided for in the
legislation that we did for the Cape Breton region. I look for clarification.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the honourable member’s
comments. In actual fact, community councils are allowed to be set up in the Cape Breton Regional
Municipality the same as they are allowed to be set up in this municipality.



Community councils will only be set up if there are 500 people who request it, if they come forward
with people from each of three voting districts to put a community council together. There may be as few as
zero community councils or maybe as many as five or six; it depends on whether the community in that area
wants a community council.



AN HON. MEMBER: Is that the same way in Cape Breton, 500 people?



MS. JOLLY: In Cape Breton I believe the numbers are the same, I would have to double-check, but
certainly we focus this legislation, based on a large portion of what we did in the Cape Breton area, as well
as look at what the charters in this area already had in their legislation. So we wanted to make the charters
that were there for the Halifax County, Halifax City and Dartmouth City that had charters, to ensure that we
followed along a lot of the same rules that they had there, which is the community council.



But the community councils here can be set up at the request of the community, or the community
may ask for a community advisory committee. The council could set up an advisory committee other than a
community council. But that flexibility is in both municipalities.



MR. MOODY: I thank the minister for the clarification because my understanding, and I guess what
the minister is saying then is if there is, and when we get into the clause by clause and there is some
disagreement on the interpretation that what she is telling me that what we are doing in this legislation is the
same as the one in Cape Breton.



My understanding here was they shall be set up in this legislation; in Cape Breton they may be set
up if the people want it. I understood here that the words in the legislation, and I remember going through
it in my memory and I would have to go back to the exact clause, but my understanding was that they shall
be set up, but the minister is saying, they shall be set up if 500 or more people want it. If nobody wants it, then
they don’t have to set it up. But in Cape Breton, if they have a number the same way, then it shall be set up,
or only may if the council so decides. Now that, and I could be corrected because it has been a while since I
read the Cape Breton legislation, to be honest. But if she stands behind what she is saying, then I don’t have
any difficulty with that.



MS. JOLLY: Just on a further clarification, and in actual fact in this legislation, if 500 people ask
for it to be set up, then it can be set up. But in this legislation as well, if the regional municipality doesn’t want
to set it up, they can say no. Then the citizens have a right to go to an appeal board and the appeal board
would then make a decision.



I am not saying that the wording is not exactly saying all the way through both these bills because,
as I say, we tried to use the charter wording in many instances, that is already there, that these councillors are
already quite familiar with. But, in actual fact, if 500 people wanted to set up, they apply to the council. The
council can approve it or the council can deny it, but if the council does deny the community council then the
citizens have a chance to go to an appeal board and that can be appealed and then the appeal board would deal
with it.



[5:45 p.m.]



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I am a little bit confused, and I understand that the whole legislation
is not exactly the same and where they understand the charter part and I accept that. I will not argue that point
because I think what you are saying is valid.



The point that I am saying and I must have missed something in the legislation and maybe the
minister could point out the clause that she is referring to where the council does not have to do that even after
the 500 people go through the process. My understanding, in reading the clause, was that they did not have
a choice, that it shall be done.



I think the minister acknowledged that that is not quite the same process that we have in Cape Breton
on community councils. I think that by her clarification and I have to say in reading legislation sometimes
we can misinterpret what it is saying because we are not sure what the government was saying should be in
it to begin with. So if we are misinterpreting it, I apologize. If the minister would show me the clause, I would
appreciate it.



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, it is on Page 14, Clause 29(1), “Where not fewer than five hundred
electors have requested the Council to establish a community council for an area and the Council has refused
or has not acted within one hundred and twenty days after the request, the applicants may appeal the refusal
or failure to act to the Board. (2) The Board, if satisfied that the refusal or failure to act was unreasonable, and
that a community council ought to be established for the area, may order that a community council be
established for the area.”.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I think what the minister is saying, if 500 people and the council says
no, it goes to a board, but I do not think that is the way it is in Cape Breton in the legislation.



I almost see this that council would have to have a pretty good reason to say no in my mind. I think
a council is going to have to pretty well live with community councils because of this legislation. Now maybe
community councils are a way to go. I know there has been some experience with it in Halifax County, but
there obviously has not been any experience in Bedford, Halifax or Dartmouth with community councils, in
discussing with the mayors of those two cities and town that they have not had that experience.



I can see that if this works that it will probably be something that would be incorporated, I guess, as
we amalgamate around the province. I cannot imagine it being good for here and not good for other areas.
The only part that I have a little bit of disagreement on is that I do not think that in the Cape Breton one the
council is in the same position once you get the 500 electors requesting this, I do not think council would have
any reason that the board would not overturn to turn it down. Saying that, I will move on, but I would ask the
minister to have a look at the one in Cape Breton, the legislation, because I think what they are saying here
is, if this is good then let us use the same argument for Cape Breton. If it works here why wouldn’t it work
there? Now I know there is a smaller number of people, but yet if you go up to that region in Cape Breton,
it still covers quite an area when you get out to Glace Bay and all those other areas.



One of the things that I think is a little bit confusing is the tax rate and when we get into rural tax
rates and, I think on the assessment, there is a little bit of confusion if you read what is on Page 40, Clause
83(8), where we get into the rural areas. I mentioned the other day that it does not talk about policing and it
does not talk about roads in a couple of other areas. So, it is not quite clear whether there would be a separate
rate, area rate, besides the tax levy, for some of the services that are not identified in the bill.



Now, obviously, if you live in Dartmouth or Halifax, that section does not apply and, obviously,
policing roads and streets and all of those things are covered. But if you look at the legislation here for the
rural areas, I think if what the government is saying, in the rural area, your tax rate and your assessment will
not go up, but if there is an area rate that will be added on, then it could go up. So if we are talking in here
about the rate, we could get into sort of another added tax and somebody might - the government, I am sure,
wouldn’t do this - say, well, your assessment, your area rate has gone down on your tax bill, but then we get
into other certain taxes for things that are not mentioned.



So it is a little unclear to me how they are going to cover policing and roads when they talk about
separate rates for the areas of the regional municipality determined by the council to be a rural area. So that
is not clear. It may be clear in the government’s mind and there may be a simple answer to it and, if it is, then
I hope, at some point, the minister will clarify that point in her reply about how the rural area is going to be
dealt with and why policing and roads, as a service, was left out of the definition, because I think that is
important.



The landfill issue is a problem. The bill says the landfill site shall be developed, but it does not say
where or that any other area will have input. I know the bill is tied into the Municipality of Halifax setting
up the landfill site. But I don’t think, if you read the legislation, that it clearly says it has to be in the
Municipality of Halifax, the location of the site. Does that mean it could be in an industrial park in Dartmouth
or Ragged Lake or one of those areas? It is not clear. It just says it shall be developed by the Municipality of
Halifax, but it does not say exactly who is going to have input, what citizens will have input, on where it
might be.



We know that there is some question on the seniority issues for workers. We know some of them are
unionized. There is some concern because the Dartmouth, Halifax and Bedford employees are unionized. We
have, in Halifax County, the workers aren’t unionized and there is some concern about seniority issues that
aren’t clarified or resolved in the legislation to many of them. I hope that before we finish this legislation and
after it goes to Law Amendments, where I am sure there will be some recommendations, that, we will get
some clarification so that if I am an employee in the County of Halifax or an employee in any of them that
there will be equal opportunity. If you are a unionized group and you have a particular job area, that might
be secretaries or whatever, and obviously this legislation is going to save money, that means that there is
going to be less people actually working for this one municipal unit compared to the previous four municipal
units.



If we are going to save dollars, where do my rights as a worker come in and does union seniority play
a part on who gets a particular job? Obviously, administrative jobs and other jobs there are going to be fewer
and how is this going to be fairly done? Is it going to be based on the number of years that I have worked for
a municipal unit regardless of whether I am in the county or in the City of Halifax or Dartmouth or the Town
of Bedford or is the union contract somehow going to have something to do with who ends up with the job?
I noticed, in the legislation, I think, in Cape Breton, for the chief administrative officer people were
encouraged to apply from the Cape Breton region and maybe hopefully, it would have been a preference.



I heard the minister say the other day that this was the same here but it is not clear in people’s minds.
I hope that is the same because people were a bit confused whether that was or wasn’t and I have to say that
in the CAO advertisement, I think in Cape Breton, that preference would be given to current employees or
at least a resident of the municipal unit or the area. I am not sure if that was done or will be done here and
that is proper and I would encourage the minister to make sure that happens because I think that, you know,
just because we think we can go outside that we have some very good employees working in the units that we
have here. I would hope that they would obviously receive preference when it comes to filling the top job down
because they are very capable people.



I don’t suspect that there will be a problem for when the buy-outs are done for these people like we
had in Glace Bay. Obviously, we won’t have people coming back to work and there is nobody here, these four
municipal units that are receiving supplementary funding so obviously, there will be a chance for some of
these people to get into early retirement.



The other area of legislation where there is some concern is that there is sort of no recognition of
assets. I know that there is in here a recognition of debt, levels of debt in this legislation, there is provision
for discretionary recognition of levels of debt. There is no mandatory recognition of levels of debt but when
we get into assets there is really no recognition of assets and I think some of the municipalities may feel that
there should be and because even though we have a new amalgamated area, as I understand it, these
communities will end up with community councils and I think the taxpayers in certain areas feel that their
assets will be recognized as well as the debt. I hope that when we get through to the Law Amendments
Committee that when suggestions come forward that there be some recognition given to that.



[6:00 p.m.]



The legislation recognizes the role of area rates to provide for varying levels of discretionary
education funding. We, obviously, have had for years additional education funding in Halifax and Dartmouth,
the two cities. Some people would argue that that is maybe fair or unfair, but one of the things that the
residents or the councils, and they must have felt this because there was no great backlash in Halifax and
Dartmouth, that they could contribute extra funding for education.



We all know how important education funding is and up until a very few years ago we had additional
funding for education in some of the rural municipal units across the province. I think basically now we only
end up with Halifax and Dartmouth putting in additional funding. Now, in the legislation, the approach is
being taken that it provides for discretionary funding and I think you will see that discretionary funding
obviously phased out. What you are also going to see with one area, you are going to see one school board,
I am sure, no more boundaries where, if you were in Halifax County and wanted to send your child into one
of the two cities, then the municipal unit ended up paying the cost.



Now those boundaries will disappear, but also the supplementary funding or discretionary funding
that we have known in the past from the two cities will disappear even though this legislation recognizes the
role of area rates to provide additional discretionary funding. I doubt if that will happen. I think it will go the
route that discretionary funding is gone in Kings County and many other areas of the province, that you will
find this will disappear.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable the Minister of Municipal Affairs.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarification, I guess, I have used order all
along, a couple of members have mentioned that the legislation does not allow for additional discretionary
funding and in actual fact, it does. It very clearly deals with the Halifax-Dartmouth situation such that the
maximum that can be reduced is 10 per cent per year, although if there is agreement between the school board
and the council, more than that can be reduced. But it has to be an agreement between the school boards and
the council so there is provision for that. There is also provision that if the new regional municipality wants
to provide additional supplementary funding over and above the mandatory supplementary funding, this
legislation does enable them to do that.



I just want to clarify that because a couple of members have said that it is not possible. I believe that
is what the honourable member is saying and, in actual fact, the legislation does allow for it.



MR. MOODY: I do appreciate the minister listening and I do appreciate her intervention. I hope I
was not misleading, I said I thought it would disappear based on what I see happening around the province.
Yes, the minister is correct, it does allow for the funding and it has to be phased out, as she indicated, 10 per
cent or get the agreement of the school board and so forth.



I guess my fear is that it probably will disappear. I think we are going to come to the point where we
have come to the point in Kings County and other areas of the province where municipal governments have
said, education is the responsibility of the provincial government. That is probably where we are headed.



As we see the service exchange take place, and the government has clearly said and I know the
Minister of Education sets down a formula where there is a tax rate, but it is set by the province. I really
believe under this legislation that you will see supplementary or discretionary funding to education disappear
because council won’t want to raise the tax rates. They will all be trying to keep it at as low a level as they can.



They are going to say, if Halifax City and Dartmouth say yes, we are going to keep the discretionary
funding and a lot of youngsters come in to fill the schools up from the county, how long do you think the
taxpayer in Dartmouth and Halifax are going to do that? The only way they can probably get them to do that
is if they can convince the county people to give to discretionary funding.



I just do not think that municipal governments today, what they are trying to do is, look, they are
being badgered because everybody is downloading. The feds are downloading on the province, the province
is downloading on the municipalities and the problem is, these people are going to be hard-pressed to hold
the tax rate. Therefore, by this legislation and by an amalgamated area, I really think discretionary funding
will go out the window especially if you have one school board. Right now you have a Halifax City school
board, a Dartmouth City school board and a Halifax County school board. What is going to happen is, I firmly
believe, that the Minister of Education is going to end up with one school board in this amalgamated area.
When you do that you are not going to have discretionary funding being contributed at all and I think you will
see them reduce it. Maybe they won’t be able to get any more than 10 per cent a year until it is gone but I think
that will happen.



The same sort of approach is being proposed for various levels of winter control in road maintenance,
sidewalk snow clearing and those sorts of things. What we have in the City of Halifax is different on the
sidewalk clearing than we do in the City of Dartmouth. In the municipalities, some of those clear their
sidewalks. In Halifax, it is up to the homeowner or the commercial owner to clear that section of sidewalk.



The new council is going to have to look at the levels of service they are providing. I am sure the
level of service on one side of the harbour is going to end up being the same as the other side of the harbour
and that is going to have some sort of cost involved in it. Whether we get into the pick-up of recycling, I think
there is a difference in what is happening in recycling in Dartmouth and what is happening in Halifax and
what is happening in the County of Halifax, how often it is picked up and where you have to take it and all
of that. There are a number of areas of services the new council will have to look at and probably end up with
the same level.



What we are either going to see is all of them at the higher level which will cost the taxpayer more
or we are going to see some levels of service brought down in some of the present municipalities as we know
it so that we have a level playing field across all four municipalities. If we do that, then the person who has
that level of service, their tax rate isn’t going to drop and they are going to wonder why all of a sudden they
have lost a level of service that they had before.



I think it is important that in this legislation, somehow the people are assured of what kind of level
of service they are actually going to get when they end up getting this legislation passed here before the House.
I think it is going to be important that as we go through this legislation and as we have people come to the
Law Amendments Committee that will go through this bill and have probably gone through it clause by
clause, that the minister be willing to have some flexibility.



I think if the minister and the government puts its head in the sand and digs in and says to the four
municipal units that are already out there, look, even though you have some good suggestions and even though
you represent the areas that are concerned, we can’t make the kind of changes that you suggest should be made
in this legislation. We have the legislation whether the mayors like it or not. Everybody is going to have to
accept the fact and I believe that this government is going to do it, going to pass it, they have the numbers.



If that is a given, then hopefully everybody will take the approach, including the four mayors, that
they will come forth with suggestions to make this legislation better. It is a given that it is going to happen
even though they would argue that the consultation process that was promised never happened. They don’t
feel, up to this point in time, that they have had the input into the writing of this legislation that maybe they
felt they ought to have.



Now there may be an argument by the minister or the government why they either feel they have had
that input or they feel there were avenues or they feel that the legislation had to be put together very quickly.
Part of my concern is that this government has an agenda, and there is nothing wrong with having an agenda,
but when you don’t allow a process because your agenda doesn’t allow the kind of input that should happen,
it is very difficult for these four municipal units.



Now I am sure they have gone through this. There is still concern by a number, and there will be
people who will appear before Law Amendments Committee who will be looking for answers and they will
be looking for clarification.



I think that the big thing the minister has to do when we finish with this, to make sure that taxes
either remain the same or go down and also make sure the level of service stays where it is. If it is going to
go down because the level of service goes down, the four municipal units could have done that on their own.



I believe there is a willingness across the province to understand that things have to change. Probably
we will have more amalgamations as time goes on. I am hoping that the government will see fit that if more
amalgamation goes on, that it will be like it happened in Cape Breton, that municipalities will come forward
wanting it to happen, and not be like we are doing here in metro, pushed down by government and pushed
down in a very short timeframe.



Now we had many people, MLAs in this House, who spoke against amalgamation prior to the 1993
election. Those MLAs said that no way the kind of amalgamation we are seeing here should happen. But I
guess when you put on a different hat and the government has an agenda, then you can quickly change your
mind. I think one thing that the people won’t forget is that this was forced. This government will be held
accountable because it was forced and anything that happens regarding services or tax rates will end up being
the responsibility of this government. So when we end up with the final piece of legislation, it is this
government that has to take that responsibility.



One little area in the legislation that I didn’t talk about. When we get into advisory boards and from
the community councils down to the advisory boards, when we get into zoning, and right now we have
different zoning rules for each one of the four municipal units. They all have their own zoning rules. If we
are going to put that into one, that could create, I guess, some difficulties. As long as we have one board, even
though that one zoning board may have some flexibility, whether you are in the rural area or the urban area,
as long as that board has the flexibility, there should be only one board, to make sure that consistency does
occur. We could have this one super-city and if we ended up with advisory boards or community councils or
different zoning boards for all of the areas, we could end up in areas of unfairness and not inconsistencies and
a real mess. That could happen.



[6:15 p.m.]



So I guess I still cannot understand why the government feels that there is urgency in this legislation.
With the legislation we have, as I understand it, enumeration is already beginning even though the polling
districts have not been identified and they are not in the legislation, we have them rushing forward. I don’t
think if the government had said, look, we are going to do amalgamation. We are going to have consultation
. . .



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South, on an introduction.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I would like to bring to the attention of the members in the House
and to you, Mr. Speaker, the presence in the gallery today of three distinguished residents from the Town of
New Waterford, Councillor Erwin Cleaner and Councillor Jack Tighe, along with Mr. Ken MacLeod and I
would like the members of the House to accord them the usual welcome. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: I would like to welcome those three very distinguished gentlemen to the House as
well.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, it is nice to see councillors from New Waterford, but I guess after next
month they are going to disappear as councillors from New Waterford.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, let’s not get the debate in the gallery.



MR. MOODY: Well, anyway, I have lost my train of thought and where I was, actually, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: You were on Bill No. 3.



MR. MOODY: Yes, I know where we are on Bill No. 3, but it is just where was I on Bill No. 3.



One of the other areas that I think has to be given some thought to and that is the level of policing.
I know the minister’s answer will be that the Minister of Justice will set the level of policing. I guess my
concern is that maybe the people ought to have a say in what the level of policing is for their area because,
I suspect, the level of policing that they have will be a factor in what their tax rates are going to be. I think
that is the section, Section 83(8), is where we get into the fact that policing is left out when it talks about what
is covered under rural areas for a separate rate.



So it would be nice if people knew what the number, or the kind of policing that we would have. Is
it the standard that we have in the City of Halifax? Is it the standard that we have in the Municipality of
Bedford? Is it the standard we have in Dartmouth, or is it the one we have in the municipality? We have
various ones now in the municipality itself because Sackville, obviously, requires a different level than
Musquodoboit Valley. So we do have variations. But what the legislation does not clearly identify is that
because this is a city and it is all one city and we are all going to contribute to policing in this city, will my
tax rate out in the rural part, where I won’t see the police as often and, obviously, there is not as much need,
what will be the amount I will pay towards policing? That is a very good question and one that I hope the
government will end up trying to answer in some way before they ram this bill through and say to the people
that this is what you end up with.



The other area that is a real concern are the volunteer firefighters versus paid firefighters. We know
that in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and part of a group in Sackville are paid. As you watch volunteer
firefighters working for the same city in the end, because they are all going to end up working for the same
city, they are going to end up asking, how is it going to be determined when this city supports firefighters,
the City of Halifax buys all the equipment and pays the firefighters - remember that, buys all the equipment
and pays the firefighters - you go down the road to Herring Cove and the firefighters raise a lot of money for
their equipment. Not all the equipment is bought by the Municipality of Halifax. They raise a lot of money
for equipment and they are volunteers.



Now, I am sure they are going to say, well if this super-city is going to buy equipment for parts of
this super-city, why would they not, Mr. Speaker, buy equipment for all parts of this super-city? I think that
is a reasonable request by the people of that area and the firefighters of that area to say, why won’t the
government now buy all of the equipment for us as well? Then they are going to say, well where does the
volunteer end? Parts of this super-city we have paid and parts we do not.



I think this government fails to recognize that there is a big distinction between urban areas and rural
areas. What this government has done in this legislation is lumping rural areas with urban areas and saying,
well we will deal with it later. I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, the people out in the rural area have different
needs and have thrived on a way of life. People out in the rural area they know their neighbours, they rally
around one another in their own little communities. Now they are going to be part of a big city. We know that
same rallying around and volunteerism is different in a big city, quite different. So we are going to have a very
different kind of set-up.



Volunteer firefighters are saying they have looked at the legislation. They quite cannot tell where
they fit or how it is going to totally affect them. Now maybe, Mr. Speaker, the government will say, well this
will all work itself out, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a plan as to how it was going to work out before so the
people in Herring Cove and other rural areas know if the super-city is going to buy their fire equipment or
is it just going to buy the fire equipment for the Cities of Halifax, Dartmouth and the Town of Bedford. They
are all taxpayers.



I would think . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: They have good equipment out there in Herring Cove.



MR. MOODY: They have excellent equipment, but they raised a lot of money out there. Raised it,
not through taxation, but raised it through givings. We have a real dilemma when we end up with this new
super-city. So I wish the government would give some thought on how in the world this is going to affect the
volunteer fire service that I have to tell you is second to none in the rural areas of this province, men and
women who are dedicated to their community.



How, under this new super-city, are we going to keep our community identity? Halifax, Dartmouth,
yes, you might say, Mr. Speaker, they compete, but a little competition is not all bad. A little competition
keeps you sharp and a little competition has always been good. We are now going to do away with that
competition because we are all one big family. So the competition is going to disappear.



The competition I see arising is going to be this big super-city which is going to make up one-third
of the province may get in competition with the province, is in areas. Is it going to be a different kind of
competition than we have known in the past.



I think there is some thought to this legislation and I know that the government probably looked at
this and said, well if we put Bedford, Halifax and Dartmouth together and then we had Sackville and Cole-Harbour, what would be left? A rural area. Maybe that is not all bad, maybe those rural areas could have
amalgamated with another rural area. Yet, the rural area people would have their same sort of life, the same
sort of identity that they have now. When you are all into a city and you are part of a city and you live way
up on the Eastern Shore, Musquodoboit Valley or out in the other end of Halifax County, it does not seem like
much of a city to me. It seems like a rural area. I have a lot of difficulty.



We have talked about shared services. There is nothing wrong with shared services. There is nothing
wrong with amalgamating services, but to say that we are all one super-city and a lot of the things that are
going to happen are going to not be the way that they should be.



In summarizing, I do support and did support the amalgamation they had of Cape Breton, it was
requested. I could support amalgamation in this area if it was done differently. I have difficulty supporting
the way this bill was put together. I have some difficulties with the legislation itself. I will be watching and
listening as people come to Law Amendments, as I said, people understand we are going to have this
legislation. Now, the government didn’t listen when they put it together. Maybe the government will listen
and the minister will listen to the good recommendations that are going to come from the good people of
Halifax County, the good people of Bedford, the good people of Dartmouth and the good people of Halifax
as they come forward to Law Amendments.



Yes, they all have their own interests but isn’t that what has made us what we have been in this
province in our own communities because we have had our own interests. I think that has been of value to us.
I hope the government will listen as these four areas come forward with their very valid points on some of the
clauses in this legislation that obviously have to be changed, I think, to make it a better piece of legislation
and one we can all live with. Mr. Speaker, I will await it to go to the Law Amendments Committee, I will wait
to see what happens there and hope that this government will listen.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak for a few
moments, at least, on Bill No. 3, the bill that facilitates the merging or the amalgamation of the four
municipal units in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth. I think it is important to go back at least two, maybe
three, years and I do that because we are talking about combining four units, four municipal levels of
government. We are talking about combining municipalities that have a very strong sense of identity that has
developed over many years and regardless of what this Legislature does, you can’t dismiss that history. You
can’t dismiss the identity that people have with their municipality and the competing interests that lie there
as people in Dartmouth compete on issues with people in Halifax or people in Bedford try to maintain their
specific identity in relation to the cities or in relation to Halifax County.



It is important because here we are talking about basically a forced marriage of these municipal units.
They have been told just a few months ago, they were told by this government that they, in fact, would be
merged and they would be merged in a time period that would be approximately a year and one-half time. But,
they were not consulted on it, they were not going to have any say whatsoever and whether, in fact, that would
happen. They were told it was going to happen. They were told how it was going to happen and after that they
were asked to have some input in fashioning that deal or putting the details together.



The other aspect that is being dealt with in this legislation is the whole creation of community
councils, which some have suggested is establishing a second tier of government. In many areas now the
community councils will have the authority to not only set area rates but also to affect local development and
to rule on planning issues so, the concern by some is that these local community councils will be effectively
competing not only against one another in that sense of competition between communities that, I don’t think
is unhealthy, I think it is healthy, they are also going to be competing against and working perhaps at cross
purposes with the one single super-city.



[6:30 p.m.]



When you talk about these issues, I think that is why I think it is important to put some context to
them and go back in history to where this all comes from and why it is there seems to be so much acrimony
right now between the leadership at the municipal level in these four units and, for that matter, why there
seems to be so much disenchantment from the population affected, with this government and with the process.
It has been stated, I think, before in this House - and perhaps many times over the last several years - that the
majority of people think that some level of amalgamation of service delivery or perhaps some level of
coordination of the delivery of services or maybe even coordination of some of our administrative functions
in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth is not necessarily a bad idea.



The government and anybody else who takes the time to tap the pulse the constituency will find that
in fact is the case, but the problem arises though in how it is done. I think that is extremely important because
of the fact that it is going to take a lot of commitment, it is going to take a lot of faith, a lot of trust and a lot
of cooperation between and amongst the four municipal units in order to make this unitary government work.



Why are we on this track now, at this point where legislation is here in front of us? It was no more
than six months ago when the announcement was made, by the Premier, that amalgamation was going to go
ahead regardless of the wishes of the leadership in those municipal units. Here we are with the legislation
which provides for that and we still have some very major concerns and some very serious questions being
raised by people in our communities.



People are less than enamoured with this government over this whole issue. They remember quite
clearly the verbal trouncing or tongue-lashing that the then Leader of the Liberal Party gave to the then
Premier of the province, Donald Cameron, back in 1992 and 1993 over that government’s plans to force
amalgamation on the metropolitan municipalities.



I refer back to a Chronicle-Herald report; it was a letter to the editor back in December 1992 on the
question of municipal reform and the heading says Municipal reform must start with services. It is an open
letter to all mayors and wardens from the Leader of the Opposition at that point, John Savage. It went on at
some point to condemn the then Premier for the strategy that he was coming up with. He says and I quote,
Madam Speaker, “What I said as President” - referring to President of the Union of Nova Scotia
Municipalities - “then and I continue to say now, is that serious municipal reform must begin by considering
the delivery of services. Once that issue has been resolved the boundary issue will become less complicated.”.



Well, looking at the delivery of service issue in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth, how has that matter
been resolved? There has been somewhat of a service exchange in that the province has taken over a small
group of services and the municipalities of the whole province have taken over other, but there has not been
a complete service swap that many talked about in terms of moving to the one-tiered social service system.



MADAM SPEAKER: Could I just ask the honourable member to table the letter that you just referred
to, please?



MR. CHISHOLM: Certainly, when I am through with it, I will be happy to.



The question of delivery of services regionally has not been resolved at all, I would suggest, in the
metro area. There is still a question of what are the costs going to be. Exactly what roads are going to be the
responsibility of the municipality and how much are the social services areas that they are taking going to cost
and exactly what are they and when is it going to take place? The social service exchange, for example, when
is that going to take place in its entirety? That is a question that has not been resolved. We are still in the
middle of that question. So that is one commitment that the then Leader of the Opposition made and has
obviously decided, in his reincarnation as Premier, that it is not a concern any more.



He also condemns then Premier Cameron by saying, “It is regrettable that the Premier has chosen
such a confrontational approach . . .”, which means what he is talking about there is the fact that the Premier
told the metropolitan municipalities that amalgamation was going to happen, and that was the end of it. That
is what the then Leader of the Opposition was talking about, “. . . has chosen such a confrontational approach
when the municipalities have long been ready to address the important issue at hand. This approach is a
continuation of a policy which neither understands nor appreciates the importance of maintaining the integrity
of local government.”.



Madam Speaker, the letter goes on, and I would be happy to table it in a moment, but in terms of
tight timeframes, which the then Leader of the Opposition expresses as being very important, as did the NDP
caucus when this issue arose, it says here it would be implemented but the municipalities would be involved
in each step of the process. It goes on and says, “Everyone understands that municipal reform is absolutely
crucial. It must be done, but done through consensus, not dictates.”.



Now the reason why I think that is important, in terms of a context, is that we fought an election,
Madam Speaker, in the spring of 1993, as you will recall, and one of the issues at hand, certainly here in the
metropolitan area, was the whole question of this merger. I remember being at a few all-candidates debates
and challenging the Liberal candidate to come forward with his position on metro amalgamation. At that time
we had said that we had put out a letter from our caucus basically saying that amalgamation, while perhaps
a positive option and a good thing to do, is something that had to be investigated, that people had to have the
costs and benefits laid out to them very clearly and with some reasonable time lines, that we had to discuss
options, but then, through a process of responsible consultation, we would come up with an option that best
suited us in the metropolitan area. Then, at some point, the citizens of this area would have the opportunity
to register their vote, probably through a plebiscite, the most effective means.



I remember the Liberal candidate in Halifax Atlantic picking up that challenge and supporting that.
I also remember the Liberal Party running for election, condemning the Tories for their confrontational
process and for trying to ram this down the throats of people in the metropolitan area, without adequate
consultation. They would not do that, that is not the way to do it, that is not the way to build trust and so on.



Well, Madam Speaker, the problem that people face is that here we are, two years later, and in fact
that is exactly what this government has done. You will recall that fateful day, I believe it was in November,
when the Premier called in the four mayors and told them that amalgamation was going to happen within the
next year and a half, and that was that.



Needless to say, and we all know it, they weren’t necessarily happy about that because they believed,
in fact, a couple of them have been identified as known Liberals, in fact, one of them was a candidate in the
last election for the Liberal Party and he and the others understood the commitments by this government when
it was running for election and since it has been in power that that would not be the process. Yet, they very
quickly turned their backs on that commitment and betrayed - is what these mayors often said and still say -
the trust that they and the citizens of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth had or may have for this government.
So, that is a problem.



In other words right off the top this government, just through the very process of carrying forward
with the idea of municipal amalgamation, has set the communities at this government so that everything they
do, every strategy, every proposal is second-guessed, is met with distrust and some considerable concern. I
believe that is going to make a difference when it comes to actually carrying forward the effects of Bill No.
3.



Another point that I think is important is why it is that the government is carrying forward with
municipal amalgamation in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth. I know that they often cite studies that say that
amalgamation is a good thing, it will be cheaper, it will be more efficient and so on. I don’t necessarily agree
with that. I am not actually convinced that going with a single government is a good idea but that is just my
idea. I think maybe there is an opportunity to regionalize some of our services that we provide in metropolitan
Halifax-Dartmouth. I think in a time when people are losing their respect, losing their sense of identity with
government, with their elected officials, that what we need more is for people to have the opportunity to
identify even more strongly with their communities and more strongly with their local elected representatives.



By moving from, in some cases, constituencies of 1,500 to constituencies of 16,000, I think that is
removing that sense of representation, of local politics. To take away the municipal administration in those
communities, I think is going to add to that sense of frustration, that sense that government is removed from
the people of Halifax-Dartmouth and in fact, all of Nova Scotia. I think that is a concern but that is my
feeling, that is my sense of it.



What I and our caucus have suggested before and this government, in fact, suggested when they were
running for office back in 1993, is that the question should be considered, that the cost-benefit analysis should
be done, that people should be consulted, there should be discussions, there should be options presented and
the people of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth should be able to come up with an option that best serves our
needs.



When the government initially started talking about this forced amalgamation in the fall, they used
to talk about the Moncton region as an example of where that is happening. We haven’t heard that very much
in the last five months because that is not the case. In the greater Moncton area, what they are doing is they
are coordinating their activities economically in terms of trying to spread the benefits of economic
development amongst the municipalities. But they have not been forced into a political amalgamation,
administrative amalgamation. They have been presented with a time line which I believe is 1996 or 1997, I
am not sure, where they have to come up with an option or, at that point, the government is going to be forced
to do something.



[6:45 p.m.]



I think that is fairly responsible and the citizens of that community are also going to have an
opportunity to express their opinions on those options and on the potential of a solution. That, to me, is
responsible governing, Madam Speaker, presenting people with the facts, giving people an opportunity to ask
questions, to raise concerns, to get answers and then come up with a decision. We have not done that here and
that has been a problem.



But why is it we are doing it? This government has said, well, Moncton did it and look at how
Moncton is outperforming Halifax and that if we come up with a uni-government in Halifax-Dartmouth . .
.



AN HON. MEMBER: A loony government?



MR. CHISHOLM: A loony government, no. That is not what I said. A uni-government in Halifax-Dartmouth, we combine the four municipal units, that somehow that is going to increase the economic
prosperity here. Well, one has to ask the question. Have we turned away business from the metropolitan area
because Burnside or the City of Dartmouth is prepared to negotiate with an operator to give them better
benefits than they would get in Ragged Lake or in Bedford, Madam Speaker? I would like to know if that level
of competition has kept businesses from setting up here.



You know, just by declaring that Halifax, Dartmouth, Halifax County and Bedford are now gone does
not mean that we are all of sudden going to have an onrushing of economic prosperity, Madam Speaker. That
is not my understanding of economics and how that works. I think the government’s time would be better
spent if they could try to encourage their federal cousins to bring down the real interest rates a point. That
would do more for economic prosperity and economic growth in Halifax, Dartmouth and all of Nova Scotia
than would shifting around the baubles on the table. It is not going to do anything. It is going to change the
picture a little bit, but it is not going to change the ingredients.



In fact, some would suggest that having a uni-government - in other words, having one price or one
package for businesses that are coming into the metropolitan area - is a form of price fixing, in effect, and that
it will be a disincentive in some cases for some businesses to set up here. Maybe yes, maybe no, but I don’t
see, and that is one of the main issues floated by this minister and the government in explaining that we have
got to have a strong unified regional municipality in order to face the challenges and opportunities ahead and
in order to enjoy economic prosperity, Madam Speaker.



The whole question of one level decision-making on issues like police, fire, water, waste management
and economic development, for example; well, we have, as you know, the Metropolitan Authority here in this
metropolitan area which is responsible for regional transit services and for waste management. That does not
seem to work very well, that structure, but it is important to remember that structure was set-up through
legislation and if the structure does not work then let’s change it, let’s try and make it work better. Let’s come
up with a better way to deal with waste management problems and with regional transit problems. Let’s not
just blame it on the municipalities if they cannot come to an agreement when, in fact, what you have is a
regional structure of governance that does not work. It is fraught with all kinds of problems. Maybe we should
deal with that kind of problem.



If the provincial government would take some leadership on the waste management issues then
maybe we could solve that problem. I think those questions are solvable, Madam Speaker. The question of
police services has, to some extent, been worked out in that the different police forces have been told that they
have to come together. That raises another problem. There were supposed to be these great savings realized
if we regionalize police services and $1.5 million to $2 million was mentioned by this government.



Yet, in reality when the details were put to paper, when actually some of the details were worked out
what we found was that there is maybe, at the outside, a savings of $200,000 which in the total policing
budget for metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth is not insignificant because $200,000 is not insignificant, but in
relation to the total budget, Madam Speaker, it is certainly less than significant.



So what does that mean for all the other cost-savings that are supposedly going to be realized? Well,
I think we had a debate in the preceding few hours and day or so where we talked about financial questions
and about the fact that there have been, and I think continue to be, real questions raised about whether in fact
the residents of Halifax-Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville, and Halifax County are going to realize any savings
from this at all or if when the rubber hits the road these folks are going to realize some very significant
increases in their tax rate. That is a concern.



I do not think that this government can just dismiss out of hand the results of the report
commissioned by the four municipal units which suggested increases in residential rates in some jurisdictions
of over 17 per cent; in Halifax, 17 per cent, in the rural part of the county, 13 per cent.



We have heard, when we debated that particular issue, the minister say that that is if there is a level
of harmonization of policies and services. Well, I think that most residents expect that there will be a
harmonization of policies and services, Madam Speaker, as they did for instance in Spryfield when they were
amalgamated or when they were brought in from the county to the city and became part of the City of Halifax.
They were sold, they would suggest to you, many of them, a bill of goods there and that their rates became,
their taxes that they paid were on the same level of those in downtown Halifax or on the peninsula. Yet, in
fact, there are many parts of Spryfield, where the roads are still gravel and they still do not have water and
sewer in many places and that is a problem. In other words, what they are saying is that we are continuing
to not get the services, and yet we are paying the taxes.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Madam Speaker, may I thank the honourable member for Halifax
Atlantic for permitting an introduction of a special guest in your gallery, Madam Speaker, a special friend
and an acquaintance, I am sure, of the honourable Buddy Daye, Sergeant-At-Arms, who has invited Doctor
Oscar Wong to be with us this evening, to be introduced as a man who has given many years to the service
of patients in radiation therapy at the Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. We want to honour him
and welcome him in the usual way with a warm welcome. (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Supply and Services.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Madam Speaker, it isn’t really another introduction. It may be an
unusual procedure but Doctor Oscar Wong is a very close friend of mine and he is a person who has given
tremendously to the City of Halifax and Canada. In Hong Kong, his home city, he started a Canadian school,
a high school that is operating and flourishing in Hong Kong. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest
contributors to the City of Halifax and I welcome him here with open arms. (Applause)



MR. CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, where was I? (Interruption)



MADAM SPEAKER: I think the honourable member was discussing commercial and residential tax
rates.



MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for your assistance, and to the member for Hants
East who is always helpful. In fact, I encourage that member as I did on Friday to get to his feet at the earliest
opportunity and to help us as we try to work our way through the principle of Bill No. 3. I think it is always
important that we introduce guests to our galleries but when people like me are flying by the seat of their pants
and pulling from bits and pieces of notes, it is always difficult to get back on track.



The issue that I am trying to deal with here is a question of what are the costs and benefits to the
citizens of this newly amalgamated municipality. I don’t think that this government has adequately provided
an assessment of those to the people of this community. I think that that is a problem and I think that problem
is going to beset us as we all work through, we all being those people in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth,
work through this issue.



Madam Speaker, if I may now, myself, before I get too far back into it and again lose my place - we
are trying to decide who is going to do this introduction because we both want the opportunity and if I may,
on behalf of the member for Halifax Fairview who has had an opportunity to speak with the 1st Fairview Cub
Pack that is here in the west gallery, 13 boys and five adults, the adults being Donna Patton, Gary Andrews,
Elizabeth Pettie, and Wesley Warden. These folks are here to do a tour of the Legislature and to come and
to watch some of the proceedings here. I would like to ask all members to join with me and the member for
Halifax Fairview to wish them a warm welcome. (Applause)



So, here we are all of a sudden, we are going to have one super municipal government and all the
residents, from one end of the county to the other, in all the cities, are going to enjoy an equivalent level of
service and, according to the government, it is going to create economic prosperity as we have never seen
before here in this area.



[7:00 p.m.]



Well, I think those are unfounded pronouncements. I think the whole question about whether, in fact,
there is any validity to those contentions, that the jury is still out on that. If the jury is out on that and if the
assumptions have not been nailed down, then why are we forging ahead with what appears to be reckless
abandon, in order to hammer this deal closed? What is the drive here that is pushing this government to move
forward without adequate consultation?



There have been public meetings in the announcement by the minister, the same minister who told
us for two years or a year and one-half that she travelled to 66 municipalities, now told us that the
commissioner held 50 public meetings. Well, I will tell you what, Madam Speaker, if the other 49 meetings
were the same as the one I attended, I would not call that consultation.



The commissioner came to the community of Herring Cove and said that the four municipal
governments are going to merge into one. This is how it is going to happen, this is when it is going to happen.
Now, that having been said, what I want to talk to you about is we have some discretion here on setting the
polling districts and we may have some discretion in terms of how to establish the tax rates or whether there
should be community councils or whether community councils should be able to set area rates.



I know the people in Herring Cove sat back and said to themselves, excuse me, who made this
decision. We did not decide, nobody asked us whether or not we wanted to get rid of our municipal
government in Halifax County. Nobody asked people in Spryfield whether they were dissatisfied with their
city council and wanted to get rid of it. So people were being asked to discuss the details, in terms of polling
districts and area councils and so on, and they had not even reached the point where they could even grasp
the fact that the decision had been made, that suddenly they were going to be governed, in terms of local
issues, by a council ranging from one end of Halifax County to the other and taking everybody else in.



So it was extremely difficult for those people and, from what I have heard on reports of some other
meetings, of many of the other meetings, a lot of people who attended those meetings and all of them had a
difficulty getting beyond the point of, who decided this is the way it is going to be and why was I/we not
consulted about it. Madam Speaker, I think that is a very legitimate question.



So now, administering the Halifax-Dartmouth metropolitan area we are going to have a single-tiered,
all-purpose municipal authority, which is how the government describes this entity as. But yet, we are also
going to have community councils in every of three polling districts, which are going to have the authority
to do a number of things, including setting area rates, including making determinations on development plans,
on development, including planning issues, Madam Speaker.



I would suggest to you that however you cut it, that seems to me to be another level of governance
and not only that, but I think there is some propensity there for there to be a real inequitable distribution of
power between areas where people have time, have the resources, have the supports, child care and other kinds
of supports, to participate in a volunteer fashion on those community councils as opposed to other areas that
don’t have as many people that are able to do that. I would suggest to you that the way it is set up within this
legislation, the concept and the details, is that those area councils, those community councils will have a lot
more influence and say than will other community councils.



You may say, Madam Speaker, and I hear myself saying that, well that is not a bad thing necessarily,
good competition, set-up. Well, two things, number one, it is not a good idea because the socio-economic, the
demographics of this whole county - urban, rural and urban fringe, they call it - are not equal and that the
establishment of the polling districts will not deal with that inequity in population. So, you are going to have
in some areas very active community councils based simply on economics, socio-economic factors and that
those people, I would suggest, are going to have more influence on council than are other areas.



You get that to a certain degree now, with the ward associations in Halifax and that sort of thing,
you get some of that now. But this embodies the concept in legislation and encourages it and facilitates the
establishment of greater inequities and more unequal power distribution amongst the Halifax-Dartmouth
metropolitan area.



The other thing that it will facilitate, it will facilitate competition between those community councils
on issues of development, on issues of planning, on issues of the establishment of area rates. That is going
to affect development, that is going to affect commercial as well as residential development in those particular
areas. It sounds to me a lot like the kind of competition that the government, supposedly, is trying to get rid
of with this legislation by getting rid of all of the individual municipal units.



MADAM SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member would yield the floor once more for an
introduction and I will add a minute to your time. The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Madam Speaker, through you and to all members in the Legislature
tonight, I would like to introduce to you four personal friends of mine from Lyons Brook in my constituency
of Pictou West and I would ask them to rise as I introduce them and please hold your applause until we have
them all recognized. I will do it in the order they are sitting, Gordon Purcell, Don Gunning, Ed MacEachern
and Ted MacNaughton and, as I say, they are down here tonight to see the workings of the Legislature. We
are in a committee on Agriculture in the Red Room and we are dealing with the metro amalgamation bill here
which the member for Halifax Atlantic is talking about. Would you please welcome my friends from Lyons
Brook. (Applause)



MR. CHISHOLM: Didn’t the Premier say the other day that in Pictou there wasn’t going to be forced
amalgamation?



AN HON. MEMBER: That is right. That is what he said.



MR. CHISHOLM: That and a loonie will buy you a cup of coffee. (Interruption) Good luck, he might
change it today. It will change again tomorrow. Madam Speaker, how much time do I have?



MADAM SPEAKER: You have until 7:28 p.m., that is an additional minute.



MR. CHISHOLM: This is what may happen when a piece of legislation comes forward dealing with
forced amalgamation in Pictou, is that a few of us will stand up and we will basically be speaking into a void
trying to influence the powers of government but . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: I think perhaps the honourable member is speaking into a void now. If you
would restrict yourself to debate on the second reading, please.



MR. CHISHOLM: It is important, though, in terms of the context in terms of what you can expect
and where it is going to come from.

 

 

Madam Speaker, the question of the whole idea of the community councils competing with one
another I think is a problem. I know that there have been some successful community councils. One led to the
establishment of the Town of Bedford. But they have a history. They have developed as a result of a
community of interest that came together to try and resolve which, in the growing rural/urban area, my
understanding is those people felt that they were not being adequately serviced by their level of government
and wanted to take on some of the issues relative to their specific communities. They have done that very well,
the experience has been. But that is history. That is community of interest.



This is different. This is forced and this is establishing a structure across the whole of the
municipality which encourages the establishment of these councils and if they do not establish, then it appears
to me as if the people who don’t establish a community council or the polling districts that do not have a
community council are going to be at a disadvantage. So it is clearly a case of top down decision-making here
and I think that is a real problem.



The other question is that in terms of the competition for development and so on. Now we are
supposedly going to have, although there is some question about that in the vision here or in the discrepancy
between the powers of the main council and of the community councils, there is some question as to who in
fact has control over a development plan for the whole of the municipality. Is there going to be a plan for that
whole municipality like there is now with variations for different areas without question? But, nonetheless,
the council for Halifax sets the development plan for its municipality. It is different in mainland north than
it is on mainland south and on the peninsula and so on. But, nonetheless, they have control of it.



Who is going to have control over the development plan for this new super-city? Is it going to be the
main council or are the area councils going to, in fact, be able to set those development plans, Madam
Speaker? My concern as a resident of the City of Halifax is that I may want certain things for Halifax, a
certain kind of development to happen in Halifax, yet decisions with respect to development in that area are
going to happen elsewhere and that, to me, is a problem.



In other words, you know, they may want a particular type of development in Dartmouth or in
Bedford or in the county than we want in Halifax. Because of the fact that now the decision-making on those
issues is so far removed from me as a resident of Halifax, I am not going to feel like I am going to have the
same kind of opportunity to have input into those issues as I can now.



[7:15 p.m.]



You know, it seems to me that unless this government can present to me and to other people of this
community benefits that are real, benefits that are clear, benefits that I can agree with, then I do not know that
I am in favour of this as a resident of this community. Certainly as a politician representing a community that
believes that decisions should not be made in this fashion, then I have to oppose this bill on that basis. As I
have said before, I am not necessarily opposed, as are so many people in Halifax-Dartmouth, Bedford-Sackville, Halifax County, with the concept of municipal amalgamation. I have yet to see the benefits that
would be sufficient for me to lose the representation that I think I have now within the City of Halifax, that
I am going to lose that to the super-city.



An example is, as you may know, Mr. Speaker, in Halifax Atlantic it is approximately,
geographically anyway, half city and half county. The initial proposal that came out from the commissioner,
Mr. Hayward was for, I believe, 20 polling districts and one of those pollings districts would have included
the District 5 part of Halifax County, which is the Herring Cove, Ketch Harbour, Sambro, Williamswood,
Harrietsfield part in terms of geography. It would combine that section with part of Prospect or Terence Bay
which are separated by geography. There is no direct link between those two areas.



AN HON. MEMBER: You can get there by boat.



MR. CHISHOLM: You can get there by boat, that’s right and you can get there by driving from
District 5 into the city and around and back down into Prospect.



In terms of community of interest, it is not there. The community of interest in mainland south
District 5 is just that. It runs up into the city, part of mainland south. Now what has happened is that the
District 5 people made those representations early on to the commissioner and for those reasons and others,
undoubtedly, he rejigged the polling districts so that now the District 5 part of the county is going to go up
into the city and take in part of the community of Spryfield and Fergusons Cove and Purcells Cove. You say
that is good and that is moving that polling district sort of within its community of interest.



Now the concern is that another polling district sort of takes the heart of Spryfield as almost one
polling district. Yet, there is a section of Spryfield, as I indicated, that is now with District 5, so what some
people in Spryfield are saying is, you are splitting up our community. Now the problem is that they have just
learned of that within the last week or so and the only opportunity they have to make representations is at the
Utility and Review Board. I believe a proposal has already been submitted by the commissioner to the Utility
and Review Board and it is upon that proposal which will form the basis of their review.



So where people early in this process had the opportunity to directly affect the person who was
making the decision on what proposal would go before the Utility and Review Board, after he has made a
subsequent change, people who are affected by that change don’t have the opportunity to make representations
to him and that is not fair, Mr. Speaker. But that is what happens when you are on a tight timetable, as this
government appears to be, to just railroading through with this decision.



You know when you look at that question of whether the community is split or not, I don’t know,
there is no question that the community of Spryfield is a long-standing, important and vibrant community,
but if they vote for one person in one part and in another part they vote for another and whether that will make
some difference, I don’t know. My reaction to that was that the community of Spryfield is really showing how
it has grown in its vibrancy because now they have two councillors representing the community of Spryfield,
out of a council of 24.



The point is, as is the point in so much of the debate around Bill No. 3, people are being affected by
this decision and they are not being adequately consulted about the impacts. That is a serious problem.



There is some provision in this bill about how to handle the merging of employees, that there is
provision in here for successor rights to take effect, Mr. Speaker. But there are also concerns in here about
how, in fact, a preference is going to be established for employees. That the whole question of the intent, I
look at Clause 3 and there is some real ambiguity there, in terms of the definition of that other person and the
question of whether an employee who is already part of one of the merged municipalities will have preference
over somebody from the outside, given equivalent qualifications, experience and ability.



I think you would have to agree that there has to be some loyalty shown for the people who have been
doing the work in the municipal units for all these years. Then if we don’t provide that and no, we are not
talking about iron-clad guarantees here, we are just talking about some sense of orderly transition, we are
talking about some recognition of the fact that these people have worked for, have committed and have given
to their municipal units, over however many years it is, one year, two years, three years or 25 years, and that
there should be some recognition for what it is that they bring to the new municipal unit. Those are some of
the questions that have to be clarified.



There is no question that there is more detail in this bill with respect to the dealing of employees than
there was in the bill to amalgamate the units in industrial Cape Breton. There are still some serious concerns
and we can deal with those more as we get into the actual clause by clause consideration.



In summary, when we say as a resident of Halifax, as a resident of the metropolitan municipalities,
I am very concerned about what this change is going to mean to my home and community. I have lived on
and off in Halifax for some 20 years now and I care very deeply about this community and about how it is run
and administered. I am very proud of it. I want to have a say in the decision of whether or not this community
is going to be inexorably changed. I think this does it. I think the fact that somebody behind closed doors
made a decision that Halifax is not going to be anymore, that Ward 11, the ward that I am in is going to be
no more, is a serious decision that I wasn’t given any opportunity to have a part in.



I would say I am doubly distressed by the fact that as an elected official representing over 30,000
residents of Halifax Atlantic, 16,000 to 18,000 voters, I have not had the opportunity on their behalf to play
a part in that decision. Here I am trying to debate the principle of a bill that I believe is wrong.



As a result, I am proposing to introduce an amendment. I propose, “That the words after `that’, be
deleted and that the following be substituted: `that the introduction and prosecution of Bill 3 violates the
fundamental principles of democracy in that citizens will be denied an opportunity to consider all options and
voice their own opinions.’”. Mr. Speaker, I would so move.



MR. SPEAKER: This is a proposed reasoned amendment under the provisions of Paragraph 670 of
Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and Forms stating that, “It is also competent for a Member, who desires
to place on record any special reasons for not agreeing to the second reading of a bill, to move what is known
as a `reasoned amendment’. This amendment leaves out all the words in the main question after the word
`That’ to add other words. A reasoned amendment is in the form of a motion and may fall into one of several
categories:



(1) It must be declaratory of some principle adverse to, or differing from, the principles, policy or
provisions of the bill.



(2) It may not propose an alternative scheme.



(3) It may not approve the principle of a bill and at the same enunciate a declaration of policy.



(4) It may oppose the principle rather than the subject-matter.



(5) It may express opinions as to any circumstances connected with the introduction or prosecution
of the bill, or otherwise opposed to its progress. It may oppose the principle of the bill but not propose that
the bill be withdrawn and a new one introduced.”.



Now, I am open to submissions as to the amendment, if there are any submissions, from the members
of the House.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, it would seem to me that what the member is saying here
would actually fly in the face of representative government which is the process that we follow. In fact, all
citizens are given an opportunity to voice their opinion through their elected representative. That is not saying
that there is unanimity or that they are going to agree with their representatives but every citizen of Nova
Scotia is represented in this Chamber through an elected official with the exception of the one vacant seat in
Cape Breton West at this time but under normal times every Nova Scotian is represented and does have a right
and an opportunity to participate in the democratic process if you will. This would fly in the face of that.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, on that point, I did not have a part nor did the constituents
of Halifax Atlantic on the decision to get rid of the Halifax City Council. I had no part in that decision nor
did they. In fact, they would say, Mr. Speaker, that they voted absolutely against that decision in the election
of 1993 and that this bunch, led by the Government House Leader, has turned that whole question of
democracy completely on its ear and that it is the people in this province and the people in this community
that have lost all sense of democracy as a result of the actions of these guys. (Interruptions)



[7:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: I thank the honourable member for his learned counsel. I believe that I am now
prepared to make a ruling on the proposed amendment. The first of the qualifications that I read from
Beauchesnes states, with respect to a reasoned amendment, that it must be declaratory of some principle. I
fail to find that this proposed amendment is declaratory of any principle, but is purely in the negatory,
denouncing the bill as being a violation of the fundamental principles of democracy. It does not, therefore,
enunciate, or is not declaratory of any principle that I can identify and I therefore rule the proposed
amendment out of order.



MR. CHISHOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: It cannot be with reference to what I have just stated.



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, the point is that this is a reasoned amendment that has been used in this
House . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I have ruled the proposed . . .



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . a number of times and it has been completely in order.



MR. SPEAKER: Your microphone will not be on.



MR. CHISHOLM: I do not care if my microphone is on or off.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!



MR. SPEAKER: Is there another speaker on second reading of the bill?



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to the bill.
I had an opportunity on an earlier day to speak to the amendment which proposed the hoist of the bill and that
matter has been disposed of.



My remarks, to the extent that I am able to contain them and confine them to that, this evening will
be addressed to the principle of Bill No. 3, a bill which, as you well know, has as its fundamental principle
the merger or amalgamation of the four municipal units in the metropolitan Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and
Halifax County region.



The difficulty that I have with the bill, as a matter of principle, Mr. Speaker, is that the bill really
is flawed in the sense that it is very difficult for one to determine whether or not what is really being proposed
here is what the minister says to the community at large is being proposed, a uni-city, a one-tiered municipal
unit, or on the other hand a community of communities. There is very little, frankly, here that drives anything
close to a common vision.



The minister would have us believe, and would have the 330,000 taxpayers and residents of the
metropolitan region believe that passage of this legislation is going to result in the establishment of a uni-city,
a one-unit municipal unit, but in fact, when one sees the bill as we do, just loaded and rife with proposals that
there be community councils and that there be all kinds of two-tiered and three-tiered organizations or levels
of decision-making authority, then frankly we do not have what in principle the minister would have the
residents of the metropolitan region believe that we have at all. We do not have a uni-city or a single-unit
municipal unit at all.



One of the major difficulties that we have here is that we have a piece of legislation which is the
product - I don’t believe, frankly, it is the product of this minister or, indeed, of this government - I think it
is the product of William Hayward, who was appointed as the Commissioner and he, given an authority by
this government to go out and hold certain public meetings . . .



Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, I will be all right. There is a nasty cold going around. I think it is . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: There is a chill in the air.



MR. DONAHOE: Yes, there is a chill in the air.



The problem here, Mr. Speaker, is that the passage of this legislation, I don’t believe, does what this
minister, and what the government through this minister, purports to suggest to the 330,000 residents of the
metropolitan region. It does not really give us what some of us would consider to be a unitary government in
the classic sense, because the legislation is loaded with provisions whereby community councils and area rate
capacity, the capacity to establish area rates all across the region are concerned, we do not know and the flaw
in this legislation as we are at this stage of debate, that we are asking the residents of the metropolitan region
of Halifax-Dartmouth to take a pig-in-a-poke.



There are thousands and tens of thousands of residents of this municipal unit that would be created
here or the units merged together who, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker - and I know you know this and I know the
minister knows this - they have very real concerns about what happens to them and their tax rates; what
happens to them and their police service, what happens to them and their fire service; what happens to them
and their road service and road maintenance. The legislation is absolutely silent as to what the result will be
in terms of the tax rates to be faced by the residents of this new region.



I want to make reference, as was made earlier by an earlier speaker, because I think it is absolutely
vital and crucial, this legislation, among other things, in the environment where the City of Halifax and the
City of Dartmouth have for years dedicated what is called supplementary funding to their public school
boards, this legislation provides for a process whereby that can be reduced and that concerns me greatly
because I recognize, and all taxpayers recognize, that the provincial government is making and, may I say,
to their credit in some areas, some very important and helpful steps in reducing the public expenditure.



I am a little bit frightened because it happens, as I assess it, that the City of Halifax and the City of
Dartmouth, by reason of the commitment of supplementary funding by the residents of the City of Halifax and
the City of Dartmouth, have been able over the years to develop what I think in fairness -and some may be
critical of me when I say this, but I will say it because I believe it to be true - that supplementary funding has
enabled the cities to provide a range of program offerings to the young people in the public school systems
of those two cities, which have been broader and deeper and, over the long term, probably more effective for
a greater majority of the young people served by those boards than has been possible in other school board
jurisdictions. Here we come to a piece of legislation which proposes to meld and merge these metro units.
What does the legislation provide? It provides a process whereby there is a legal authority enabling the new
super-council to follow a formula which is set out in the legislation whereby reductions or decreases in the
amount of supplementary funding available to educate the young people in the Cities of Halifax and
Dartmouth is set out in the legislation.



I don’t see provisions, and if they are there perhaps the minister could help me, which provide for
an authority for those two other jurisdictions, which to this point, have not committed supplementary funding
to the public school system namely, Bedford and the Municipality of the County of Halifax. I am not sure that
I see the authority whereby they are able to make that additional contribution. I see the minister rising, she
is going to help me by reference to a clause, I presume, that provides that very thing, is she?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order which I rose on earlier today that
in speaking with one of the other honourable members from the Conservative Party that in actual fact there
are two aspects to this bill. We wanted to ensure that the new council couldn’t wipe out the additional funding
and so we protected it because there was serious concern that the new council may in actual fact do that. So,
we projected the current funding that is there but also enabling, if both the school board and the two
municipalities, Halifax and Dartmouth, could come to some agreement it could be more than the 10 per cent.



If the honourable member would look at Page 40, Clause 84(1), “The Council shall include in its
estimates (a) the minimum municipal contribution payable pursuant to the Education Act; and (b) any
additional amount requested by the school board and approved by the Council.”. So, additional funding is able
to be put in by the new regional municipality, it is one of the things that was pointed out to us and so it is
included in the legislation in Clause 84(1)(b) and I would note Clause 85(7), “Funding provided pursuant to
this Section is in addition to funding provided pursuant to Clause 84.”, so we have covered it off both with
the old money that had been there in Clause 85, but we have covered it off with Clause 84(1)(b) allows for,
“any additional amount requested by the school board and approved by the Council.”, so there is provision
there for additional funding as the member says that he would like to see, in actual fact it is in the legislation.



MR. DONAHOE: In the best of spirits perhaps the member can help me. I don’t want to get into
clause by clause but I want to address the principle with your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, of the capacity of the
super-city, the super-council, if I may refer to it that way to deal with all of the units which are brought
together. I wonder if the minister would be able to help me by indicating to me as to whether or not her advice
and her position relative to Clause 84, to which she refers from a policy, from a principle point of view makes
it possible for that super-council to ensure that there is a capacity that if requested there could be additional
amounts made available, additional to the mandatory municipal contribution to the schools which will serve
our youngsters in both the Town of Bedford and the Municipality of the County of Halifax.



MS. JOLLY: I believe the legislation clearly does that because in Clause 84(1) when it says, “The
Council . . .” in this instance, the council is the new Halifax Regional Municipality and so it says that the
Halifax Regional Municipality shall include in its estimates the minimum under the Education Act, and
Clause 84(1)(b), “any additional amount requested by the school board and approved by the Council.”. So,
the school board and the new council would have an opportunity to look at additional supplementary funding
should they agree that it is appropriate but certainly we wanted to protect the funding that has been utilized
by the City of Halifax and the City of Dartmouth so that couldn’t be taken out. There is provision here, that
clause allows for that to be provided to the other two municipalities on a basis that could be agreed to between
the council and the school board.



[7:45 p.m.]



MR. DONAHOE: Well, we are moving in the right direction. I am still a little uncertain and the
reason I am a little uncertain is because the minister’s seatmate, the Minister of Education, has yet to have
the bill which he has introduced debated and passed, which would afford him and the Executive Council the
authority to establish the number of school boards in the province. I am very concerned that, again, from a
policy and principle point of view, if there is a decision taken by the Executive Council on the basis of
recommendation by the Minister of Education and ultimately approved, I think, by the Utility and Review
Board, that there is some school board configuration within the geographical area served by the four
municipal units as to whether or not Clause 84 will be, in fact, sufficient to ensure that any supplementary
funding could be made available to any and all.



I am making the assumption that there is a possibility that there could be more than one board, there
could be a couple of boards. The minister has said that he is prepared to look at various options and
alternatives. I am just concerned that this, and others are too, particular element of the legislation doesn’t
really make it clear that in the event that we have more than one school board - and I note that the language
of the legislation is , “. . . amount requested by the school board and approved by the Council.”. I am a little
bit concerned there. Again, from a policy or principle point of view I have a concern.



MS. JOLLY: It does say school board there, but if the honourable member looks back to Page 3 where
we have definitions, it outlines that school board - it is on Page 3, Clause 2(ad), “`school board’ means a
school board as defined in the School Boards Act that, from time to time, is responsible for the provision of
schools in the Regional Municipality;”. So the School Boards Act covers the school boards at this particular
point in time. We have said school board, but that I don’t believe denotes that there is one or there are 10, it
just denotes a school board as defined under the School Boards Act, which is responsible for the provisions
of schools in regional municipalities. So, I would think that the definition clarifies that even though it may
not be plural there, that there is an opportunity for plurality.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I will go back to the definition section and have another look. I am still a
little bit concerned.



There is another policy element to this particular piece of legislation which, I think, is problematic.
It has to do with if this bill passes it would afford the super-council by way of administrative order - and I am
always a little bit concerned about administrative orders -to prescribe a minimum tax on dwelling units. Our
analysis is that includes apartment buildings and there are thousands and thousands of apartment units in the
metropolitan region. Again, from the policy point of view essentially what I think would happen is there
would be a tax rate applied to the assessment of properties. If that is less than the minimum tax prescribed
by the council, then the owner of the property shall pay the additional tax equal to the difference between the
tax rate applied to the assessment of the property and the minimum tax and the minimum tax may be set at
different levels for different areas of the regional municipality.



I am concerned that the application and impact of that language, again from a policy point of view,
may well result in a form of double or additional taxation being faced by apartment buildings, and indeed, the
owners and occupiers of apartment buildings. I am very concerned that again, not having had the chance to
have this piece of legislation subjected to the kind of community debate that I think was required, and I am
not suggesting for a minute that Mr. Hayward didn’t have public meetings and so on, of course he did. But
the trouble with the process is that - and I attended a few of those meetings and many others I know attended
some of those meetings - the difficulty is and has been from day one that there hasn’t been a clear, precise,
definitive set of statements able to be offered to the residents of a given community that if this bill goes
forward, here is the situation that will undoubtedly pertain in your particular neighbourhood and relate to your
particular tax circumstances.



I think further, Mr. Speaker, the legislation is flawed because I think if you look at this legislation
you will find, as a matter of practice and public policy, we are going to have a situation where the chief
administrative officer and the mayor have overriding and conflicting powers and authorities. We have
language in this legislation which allows the chief administrative officer, indeed, may I say the commissioner,
to hire all kinds of people even before we have people elected to this new, super-council. Then we, all of us
who are the taxpayers, inherit a situation where somebody who has not been elected, has never been elected,
has decided the chief administrative officer, has decided the head of the engineering department, he has
decided all kinds of these people. Then I am asked, as a taxpayer in the City of Halifax, to go to the polls to
vote for the men and women who will represent my interests and they inherit a situation where all of the
relevant and senior administrators in this super-city are already in place. Frankly, I am not at all satisfied that
that is a desirable or appropriate public policy procedure, to say the least.



When you look at the legislation itself, and I won’t go into the clauses and the details, you will find
that once in place, the chief administrative officer and the mayor both have authorities relative to their
administrative powers and rights and authorities and responsibilities which, by my reading, run afoul of each
other. I think we have the potential for considerable chaos. Frankly, that could have been avoided by a far
greater amount of examination and detail.



Mr. Speaker, I have met, as have my caucus colleagues, with the Chief Magistrates of the four
municipal units affected, and we have met with them three or four times. There are those, I know, who say,
oh yes, well some of them are critical because they think they are out of a job when this all happens, and so
on. Well, maybe that is the case. Maybe it is the case that some of us are out of a job when the next election
has come and gone. Those are the vagaries of political life, as you well know. But each and every one of those
Chief Magistrates of the four municipal units, has indicated without hesitation or reservation clearly to me
and to my caucus colleagues, that they have had little or no meaningful, detailed, precise communication with
this Minister of Municipal Affairs in an effort to work out some of the very real issues that are still perplexing
them as Chief Magistrates. I am prepared, just as I think most everybody in here if caught up short would say,
well, hold it now, I am standing up and I am saying what I am saying because I am representing the interests
of the constituents whom I represent.



Well, if it is fair for us to defend ourselves in this place by suggesting that that is what we do when
we are in here, I think, with respect, it is equally fair for us to say that in the main, that is exactly what the
four municipal leaders are doing. They are standing up and are being told by residents in the four units which
they represent that those residents have not have an opportunity to have sufficient information made available
to them to understand the implications of just what the impact of this legislation is really going to be.



You know, there is another fundamental flaw, if I may, again, in a public policy sense, in this
legislation. One of the most perplexing issues facing the metropolitan region of our province in the last couple
of years has been the solid waste management and disposal issue. There have been those who have watched
from the sidelines and have looked at the Metropolitan Authority initiative and frankly, have held their nose,
practically, as they have watched some of that going on because it has been so absolutely unproductive. It has
been acrimonious and it has been the source of very real difficulty for so many.



What is the answer in this legislation to finally, moving in the direction of establishing in the
metropolitan region, an administrative or practical public policy process that addresses the solid waste
management issue? Well, what happens is, if you read this legislation, you are going to find that the landfill
site continues to be a problem because as a matter of policy this bill does say that a landfill site is to be
developed but it is to be developed, and that decision on the siting and timing and location and so on, is to
be within the control of the Municipality of the County of Halifax, but it does not say that the site shall be in
the Municipality of the County of Halifax. In fact, it is possible under this legislation, that the Municipality
of the County of Halifax would have the authority to make a decision, what is now the Municipality of the
County of Halifax, to site a landfill site in the City of Halifax, in the Town of Bedford, in the City of
Dartmouth, or in the Municipality of the County of Halifax.



Frankly, I think we are just absolutely guaranteeing a trip down a road to a head-on collision in the
metropolitan region if that is the public policy process that is to be allowed to be effected by this particular
legislation. The Municipality of the County of Halifax calls the shots on a new landfill, the minister wants
to react to this.



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarification. The honourable member may not remember
but approximately eight or nine months ago, I would suggest, there was a meeting with myself, I asked the
four mayors to come to the table because there was some difficulty in who would be with the Metropolitan
Authority siting the new landfill so I invited the four mayors to come to the table and we sat down. The four
mayors agreed to and we instituted an agreement between the four mayors with legal counsel from my
department on how this landfill siting and the garbage issue should be resolved.



In actual fact, the mayors at the Metropolitan Authority, I am not sure how long ago but I think in
the last three to four months, I would have to look back at my notes, approved Halifax County with the
responsibility of siting the landfill. This was done on the request of the four municipalities jointly through the
Metropolitan Authority. So this is something that there is an agreement between four mayors to deal with.
I believe the authority has ratified that. So it is the Metropolitan Authority, through the four municipalities,
that have asked Halifax County to, in actual fact, site the landfill. It is an agreement between the four
municipalities on that one particular issue.



[8:00 p.m.]



MR. DONAHOE: Well, my recollection of that accommodation, if that is the right word for it, is,
and I am not trying to say that the landfill site should be in one particular site or another, but my recollection
of that accommodation, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, is that it was
understood that the siting of a new landfill site was to be within the confines of what is now today the
Municipality of the County of Halifax.



My difficulty, and the only point I am attempting to make in the debate here this evening, is that I
do not believe that, as crafted and drafted, this particular piece of legislation makes that at all clear. I am
trying to tell the minister, through you, Mr. Speaker, that I have had a number of people who have attempted
to pay some considerable attention to these issues say to me that the language makes it possible for the
Municipality of the County of Halifax, if it is so minded, to make a determination that the landfill site will
be some place other than within the confines of the Municipality of the County of Halifax.



Again, I repeat, the only point I am trying to make is that seems to run counter to what I understood,
and I think my honourable friend, the caucus chair is shaking his head. Perhaps he could help me and indicate
that my understanding of the accommodation reached by the Metropolitan Authority, through you, Madam
Speaker, is in error. Perhaps the minister wants to say that.



MS. JOLLY: Madam Speaker, I guess just two points with regard to the member’s direction. Number
one, I clearly do not know where you would site a landfill in the current Halifax or Dartmouth boundaries.
I cannot imagine where you would site a landfill, which is the discussion we are having, in those current
boundaries.



Number two, Madam Speaker, as I tried to point out, the other three municipalities have agreed to,
and have given the direction to Halifax County, to be responsible for this. I assume in their discussion, I am
quite sure, that they gave the authority, the responsibility, the job, the mandate to Halifax County because they
were comfortable that Halifax County would make a decision that they would in fact agree with because this
was something that the four mayors agreed to. This was not something that the government made a decision
on, but the other three municipalities agreed that Halifax County should have this responsibility and should
do this job.



As you know, they have set up a number of public consultations and they have a committee that has
been going around so the other three municipalities, the other three mayors, in actual fact, have approved this
and the Metropolitan Authority has been involved as well.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank the honourable minister for that clarification. I would like to rein the
debate into the principle on the second reading. We are not really into clause by clause debate and we seem
to have in the last several minutes been talking about clauses within the bill. The debate is to stay to the
principle of the bill at this point in time.



MR. DONAHOE: Madam Speaker, well, one of the principles in the bill is the issue I am addressing.
One of the principles in the bill is that one of the four municipal units being merged has the authority to call
the shots as to where the landfill site in the metropolitan region being merged will be sited. That is one of the
principles of this bill.



I am saying to you, with the greatest respect, Madam Speaker, and through you to the minister, if
you read the language of the bill, as it addresses that public policy issue or principle, it is absolutely unclear
as to whether or not that authority restrains or constrains what is now the Municipality of the County of
Halifax when exercising that authority to ensure that a landfill site is sited within the boundaries of what is
now the Municipality of the County of Halifax.



The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs stands up and says, well, I am sure that, you know in
effect she is saying, well, there really is not much room in the City of Halifax, there really is not much room
in Bedford and so on. Well, I agree, but that and a loonie will get you a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s. That
does not go anywhere near addressing the issue that I am trying to address, which is one of the principles of
this piece of legislation. There is more to this than just mashing four municipal units together, Madam
Speaker. When they are mashed, we get a new super-council. We get a super-council with all kinds of
authorities and responsibilities. We get a bill that says certain things are going to happen relative to landfill
sites. That is one principle of the bill, the landfill site, and that is why I am talking about it. It is also one of
the results of the mashing together of the four municipal units that we have problems.



There is no recognition in this legislation, none whatsoever, no formulae set out that I am aware of,
that makes reference to the relative asset value and financial integrity of one municipal unit as opposed to the
other. There are many people in the City of Halifax - and I am sure the minister is aware of this - who are very
much concerned along these lines. The city fathers and mothers, if I may attempt to be politically correct, the
men and women who have been the Council of the City of Halifax over the last many years have, as I have
observed it, Madam Speaker, been rather prudent - more than rather prudent - very prudent in ensuring that
the financial circumstances, both on the operating and the capital side of the budget of the City of Halifax,
is and has been very carefully, cautiously and prudently addressed.



The fact of the matter is that the City of Halifax is in very good financial shape. It has - and I don’t
say this as a criticism of the other units, I simply say it as a statement of fact relative to the City of Halifax -
a more substantial infrastructure, particularly may I say, relative to water supply than does any other of the
four municipal units. The Minister of Supply and Services, I see, is nodding a couple of times and concurring.
He, to his credit, was one of those city fathers who had some experience on that city council and made some
very wise decisions over the years.



There is a very real concern in the minds of thousands and thousands of people who have paid taxes
in the City of Halifax over the last dozen or 15 years that the amalgamation or merger, which now would be
effected by the passage of this legislation, would make no recognition of the relative asset values of the present
municipalities. There is no formula set out. There is no process that is described in this legislation. There is
no reference, as I see it, to an arbitral process in the event that there is a dispute and I don’t want to set - and
I hope I am not, perhaps some might consider that I am - I am not attempting to set one unit of the four
against the other by making the remarks that I am making, I am simply saying that if we are going to join four
municipal units together, we must and this minister and this government, Madam Speaker, must, as a matter
of prudent public policy, say to the taxpayers who are paying the bills for all four of those municipal units,
this is what is going to happen to you and your tax rate and your family, once the merger takes place.



The taxpayers in the City of Halifax do not know all what is the impact on their tax rates in the event
of this merger, if the very financially secure water system, as but one example, of the City of Halifax is merged
and amalgamated as a part of a water system which supplies a much larger area and some or all of the other
municipal units with which it is now to be merged, by virtue of this legislation.



The legislation doesn’t set out a process whereby the relative asset value and the relative debt level
is simply not recognized by this legislation. One of the problems is that the provisions here, relative to dealing
with asset values and debt levels is very discretionary. It is all couched in language in this legislation which
is may, may, may. It is not at all clear, in the opinion of many, as to what resolution is to be made. That is why
I am saying, Madam Speaker, through you to the minister and others, that the legislation is so terribly flawed
in principle. It has been thrown together in haste and some very crucial and fundamental issues are left to be
resolved.



This legislation doesn’t, in my opinion, address the issue of what is going to happen to the men and
women who are displaced upon the merger taking place. Mr. Hayward and others have suggested that the
number might be in the order of 175 employees across the four municipal units. There is nothing in the
legislation that gives us guidance as to whether or not a unionized worker is in a better position than a non-unionized worker and are there seniority or other provisions in this legislation which bear on the fate of any
of those 175 who might be let go, as a result of the amalgamation which is contemplated by this particular
piece of legislation.



Madam Speaker, could you give me an indication as to how much time I might have?



MADAM SPEAKER: You have until 8:32 p.m.



MR. DONAHOE: 8:32 p.m., thank you very much.



AN HON. MEMBER: You don’t have to use it all.



MR. DONAHOE: I hear my friends opposite suggesting that I don’t have to use it all and I may not.



One of the flaws, I think, again from a policy and a principle point of view here, Madam Speaker,
is we now have, I understand, the unseemly situation where Commissioner Hayward is now around speaking
to at least one and perhaps more than one of the municipal units, inviting them to go out and undertake an
enumeration of the residents of the metropolitan region. The suggestion is that the enumeration be undertaken
with a view to be in a state of readiness for the municipal elections which are to be held. Nomination day is
October 30th and election - October 30th happens to be my birthday, as a matter of fact . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Are you going to run?



ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Fifty?



MR. DONAHOE: No, I - 50? No, I hit the big five-o.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: On the shady side. (Interruption)



MR. DONAHOE: I have to acknowledge I hit the big five-o and am fast approaching the big six-o.
(Interruptions) Yes, I know, I have been told by many that it shows.



But nomination day is October 30th, election day is December 2nd and now we have the
commissioner out talking to the municipal units saying, go out and do your enumeration.









[8:15 p.m.]



AN HON. MEMBER: You don’t want them to consult?



MR. DONAHOE: Well, my friend from behind says, you don’t want to consult. Well, I want them
to consult with some degree of common sense and having some sense of what they are about, because the
legislation, as another matter of principle, says that there has to be a process followed which will establish
the number of councillors, establish the district and the polling districts and so on in those districts and that
has to be done by reference to the Utility and Review Board, if I understand the process correctly.



The minister is nodding. I finally get a positive nod from the minister. So, I have to ask and I do ask,
how is it possible, how is it realistic, how is it sensible that here we are some months prior to knowing how
many councillors we are going to have, what the jurisdictions are going to be, what the districts are going to
be, how many polling divisions we are going to have, that the commissioner would be out asking people to
go enumerating.



I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that if that, in fact, is undertaken by any of the municipal units,
we will end up a couple of months from now duplicating that effort and wasting more of the taxpayers’ money.
I note in that context that this legislation says that so as to ensure that none of the four municipal units do
anything out of the ordinary that the commissioner might not like or might compromise the effort that the
commissioner is making, there is a principle espoused in this legislation that mitigates against any of the
municipal units being able to go out and hire new people. There is a provision, through you, Madam Speaker,
to the minister, correct me if I am wrong, that says that people may not be extended whose terms have come
to an end. People cannot be hired on a full-time or indeed even on a term basis for fear that new employees
would be locked into the municipal unit, and the object of the exercise for some is to be in a position to fire
175 people and thus save some money in the process.



So, if on the one hand there is a principle which says to the four municipal units, thou shalt not hire,
thou shalt not extend people in your employ and thus and so, how is it consistent that at the same time we
have the commissioner waltzing around through those four municipal units saying to those units that we think
you should - I think, says the commissioner - you should have people out conducting enumerations for the
purposes of elections when we do not know the boundaries, we do not know the polling districts, we do not
the number of councillors, we do not know at this point, frankly, anything very much about what the
configuration of this is all going to be?



One of the principles set out in this legislation is that the coordinator, Mr. Hayward, was to
recommend to a regional council the establishment of community councils including boundaries of those
communities. Well, (a) that has not been done yet, and (b) I want to suggest that as a matter of public policy
and principle that that is wrong, the wrong end around. I believe and they have not yet contributed in very
large number to the debate, but I would suspect that those who are our colleagues here in this place who have
some experience on, but one example, Halifax municipal council, would agree that the history in Halifax
County, where such community councils have developed, that they have developed in an evolutionary process,
they have evolved over time. This legislation establishes a principle where these community councils can be
mandated and imposed from on high and I frankly believe that that is wrong-headed and should not be
happening at all.



This legislation, as well, sets out a principle that the new mayor is the chief executive officer of the
regional municipality and it then goes on to provide that there can be standing committees, citizen advisory
committees, community committees and community councils. But then, again as I think has been said already
on an earlier occasion, the boundaries of such councils seem to be able to be arbitrarily changed by the super
council. We have a situation where 500 residents can come together as a group with the view of establishing
the community council and then we have the same legislation saying that the community council can levy area
rates and 100 people in that community council are able to control that issue.



I wonder, as a matter of public policy, why is it that we want a piece of legislation that says 500
people are required to establish a community council and then, once established, 100 people out of that 500
can control the destiny of the community council relative to the establishment and the imposition of area rates.
I believe that is a fundamental flaw.



This legislation says or purports to say that the commissioner shall appoint the CAO. Then you read
deeper into the legislation and you find that it says further that the council shall appoint a duly qualified CAO.
What have we got? What happens, what kind of a situation are we in? We may well be in this situation and
we shouldn’t be because we can avoid it. We may well be in a situation where the commissioner says, I have
decided as commissioner - and he has the authority to do so - that Joe Doaks or Mary Jones is going to be the
CAO and he just makes that decision and he has that authority.



Then, we have our elections in October through December and a new council is appointed and then
if you look at the legislation, Madam Speaker, there is a provision which says that the council shall appoint
a duly qualified CAO. What do they do if by any chance, and it could happen, that the newly elected council
doesn’t like the commissioner’s CAO? What does the new council do? I don’t know whether that would happen
but it could under this legislation. What do they then do?



They get together and they say, we don’t like Mr. Hayward’s CAO, we don’t think he or she is up to
the task, we are going to appoint our own. I will guarantee you again, dollars to doughnuts, that what we are
then looking at is a CAO who is probably in the job at $100,000 a year, (Interruption) how are you going to
break the contract? Well, that is the issue I raise. How are you going to break the contract? That is the point
I make.



The legislation says that the commissioner can appoint the CAO before we even go to the polls and
elect the council. The legislation further says that, once elected, the council can appoint a CAO and I say that,
if I am reading this correctly and I believe I am, I say that that is absolute stupidity, it shouldn’t be happening,
it shouldn’t be allowed to happen and it can be corrected. It can be corrected by this minister agreeing that
the policy or the principle that we cannot have two appointing authorities - commissioner on the one hand,
council on the other - has to be expunged and extinguished from this particular piece of legislation. That is
a fundamental public policy flaw in this legislation.



It goes deeper than that, Madam Speaker, it really does, because this legislation says, that the council
is to designate the clerk. Well, that is fine, once I have had a chance as a taxpayer and all the thousands of
taxpayers in the metropolitan region, have a chance to elect the new council, if we are going to have this
merger and there is a new council.



One of the things that I would expect, that the men and women whom I have a chance to elect as the
new council in the super-city, one of the functions that I would expect that they would be able to undertake,
would be the kind of function which, Mr. Speaker, a very distinguished visitor to our gallery, to our
Legislature, who has just arrived moments ago, has had occasion to be involved with over, I maybe wrong
arguably, the longest career. Certainly, the longest, I think, serving consecutive alderman in the City of
Halifax, and I refer to that great Canadian, Mr. Nick Meagher, who has joined the gallery. I would invite
colleagues to welcome him. (Applause)



Mr. Nick Meagher knows something, may I say knows one heck of a lot, over his, I was almost going
to call up to him and ask him to tell me how many years of service, but it is crowding 30, 28, 33.
(Interruptions) This is on Page 12 of the bill.



The point I try to make, Mr. Speaker, as I introduce our distinguished guest, is that there are again
conflicting policy provisions in the legislation which we now debate. Because the provisions of the legislation
establishes as a policy or a principle that the council, once elected, has the right to designate the clerk.



The flaw is, that that same piece of legislation says, that the commissioner has the authority to
appoint and hire the clerk. So again, we have the absolute stupidity of the commissioner making a decision
over the next few months, that Joe Doaks or Mary Jones, shall be the clerk of the new super-city. He has the
authority under the legislation to make a contractual obligation and commitment to which ever person he
chooses.



Then we go to the polls in December and we elect a new council and, if - I do not know that they will
- but the problem is that the legislation sets up the distinct possibility that the council then can look at Joe
Doaks or Mary Jones and say, we do not think that he or she is the appropriate person to be clerk and
therefore we are going to fire her or him. All that is going to do, Mr. Speaker, is I know you well know, is
going to result in all of us taxpayers in the metro area, being faced with wrongful dismissal suits. We will be
paying through the nose. The super-council will be paying through the nose, which will be later reflected on
the tax bills of the residents of the metropolitan region of Halifax-Dartmouth. Again, it is a principle espoused
in this bill, which is very much flawed.



Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me, as well, as I read this legislation, that in the last 18 months in this
place, we have had considerable discussion and debate about the propriety of the hiring process and ensuring
to the extent that it is possible, that when we hire at the provincial level - particularly men and women who
will be paid very substantial amounts of taxpayers’ dollars - that there will be an open, transparent, equitable,
fair and even-handed hiring process.



I believe that we are now, if this legislation passes, designing a government or we are legislating a
government, which is going to have a jurisdiction over 330,000 people in this province. That is one-third of
the provincial population, Mr. Speaker. Nowhere in this legislation do I see any reference at all or any
provision at all or any public policy principle stated here at all, which imposes on that new super-government
an obligation that there shall be the kind of open and accessible and transparent and fair and public tendering
processes, when it comes to hiring the men and women who will serve this new government which will, in
turn, serve one-third of the population of the Province of Nova Scotia. I believe that to be a significant flaw
and I would urge the minister, as she reviews this legislation in the coming days as it makes its way through
the processes here and on the way to the Law Amendments Committee, that she take a serious look at that
because I think it is essential that such a provision be included.






[8:30 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, there are so many other things that I might have been able to say and would like to have
said. I note that you have indicated that my time has expired. I am very concerned that we simply have not
had enough time, the residents of the metropolitan region have not had enough time, to review what is the
most significant piece of legislation relative to municipal government ever introduced in this province in
decades and decades. Obviously, with its majority, the government will have it move on to Law Amendments
Committee. I expect there will be considerable representations there and I hope that many of the issues which
I have raised will be considered at Law Amendments Committee.



I thank you for your indulgence, allowing me to make these remarks relative to this bill.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to follow the honourable Leader
of the Opposition in this debate and to speak to this bill before us for second reading, An Act to Incorporate
the Halifax Regional Municipality.



I had the very good fortune on Friday evening to have lunch and some conversation with a very
influential couple from Bedford and somewhat in our own mannerism and fashion debated this Bill No. 3.
The residents from Bedford have concerns that are somewhat unique, I suppose, to the rest of the
municipalities. But, on the same hand, they are very much the same.



Now many times . . .



AH HON. MEMBER: Are you going to speak about your own district? Are you representing
Bedford?



MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. I would urge the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit
Valley not to be distracted by rabbit tracks but to address himself to the Chair and to the bill. (Interruptions)



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think when we are talking about this bill we have to talk
not only about rural Halifax County and urban Halifax County, but we have to talk about Bedford and we must
talk about Halifax and Dartmouth because I am not so sure that the views of the citizens of those particular
units are being adequately represented here in the House.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!



MR. TAYLOR: But nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that is subject certainly to some people with
opposing views. But the citizens of Bedford who we were speaking to were not hoity-toity, they were not
toplofty people, they were just people who were concerned as to where the government is going. The major
concern they have is that there is a perception that they will certainly see a lack of representation. That
perception is not, I would suggest, in contrast to reality because the perception is very similar to the reality
that we have, that if you are going to move from 55 councillors down to some 20 or 24, depending on what
type of information you have, you are certainly going to see a reduction in your representation. That is a
serious concern that members have and that is directly reflected in this bill.



Now, Mr. Speaker, as I suggested earlier when I was speaking to a couple of amendments, some
people have suggested that the consultation around this bill has been zilch but I can tell you that I did attend
meetings in Upper Musquodoboit back on February 13th, in Middle Musquodoboit on February 14th and in
the beautiful community of Dutch Settlement on February 26th. Mr. Hayward and Mr. Abraham made a great
presentation. They were extremely concerned as to what the views of the public were regarding external
boundaries of the new super-municipality.



In Dutch Settlement, for example, we debated whether or not we should try to secede to the
Municipality of East Hants. The Warden for East Hants, Mr. Matheson, was very kind and was in attendance.
His concerns were along the line, well, if we are going to have neighbours, and we certainly welcome
neighbours, we want to know just what we are getting. The Warden for East Hants took the microphone and
he enlightened us about just what the tax rate was in East Hants, the residential rate versus the commercial
rate. We were very pleased that the warden was in attendance. (Interruption)



Well, the rates were not that bad, but they were not quite as good as Halifax County. (Interruption)
Anyway, Mr. Speaker, the communities that I represent in Halifax County in the beautiful Upper
Musquodoboit and Middle Musquodoboit area decided that yes, let’s give amalgamation a chance. (Applause)
That applause may be a little premature because the citizens felt that, look, we cannot change the government
and I don’t think there is any doubting that, amalgamation is going to go through, but they said, look, you,
as our elected Member of the Legislative Assembly, go to Halifax, go to the floor of the Legislature and try
to bring back the best deal you can for us.



Mr. Speaker, that is what we are trying to do. The expressions and views that we hear, my
honourable colleagues for Queens, for Hants West, for Halifax Citadel and for Kings West and for Pictou
Centre, the honourable member for Pictou West and, of course, the honourable member for Kings North, the
views and expressions that we are hearing are very much similar to the views and expressions that the
government members are hearing and that the members of the Third Party are hearing.



Mr. Speaker, it is important and one of the provisions that we requested, and I requested because I
am a member of Halifax County and will become a member of the new regional municipality, we insisted that
we have a provision in the bill for a rural tax rate. The Coordinator, Mr. Hayward, made that recommendation
and the recommendation is reflected in the bill and so for that, I am grateful. I thank the coordinator and I
thank the Minister of Municipal Affairs.



One of the first meetings that the coordinator conducted was in the beautiful community of Upper
Musquodoboit and while the Speaker is sort of sneering at the member for Hants East because he suggested
that I should take the credit for rural rates, I would very much like to tell the member for Hants East and tell
the House, Mr. Speaker, that we suggested at every meeting and, in fact, it was suggested in the meeting in
Musquodoboit Harbour, in the honourable member for the Eastern Shore’s area, that rural rates be
incorporated. I would suggest that if a meeting was held, and I believe a meeting was held in close proximity
to Timberlea-Prospect, that the members from the rural part of that community are very pleased to see that
rural rates will be incorporated in the legislation. (Interruption) Yes, four meetings in Timberlea-Prospect.
So it is important that rural rates and a rural tax rate is stated and we feel it is essential. So for that, we are
grateful.



The provision to accommodate volunteer fire departments should be included to preserve the role of
volunteers and community identity. We raised that concern and I have raised this concern through a couple
of amendments that were, I suppose you would call them, introduced or more less floated here in the House.
The minister indicates that the assets of any entity that is presently in one of the four municipal unit’s name
will become the property of the new regional municipality and it will assume ownership of those assets. We
have some concerns about that particular provision. But, nonetheless, we were told that community identity
would not change and for that we are grateful.



I guess, in that case, the proof will be in the pudding and the proof will be in the tasting of the
pudding. So, I understand communities will retain their name. I did not for a minute think that they would
not, but it is important that some of the concerns that many of the communities have in all of the affected
areas, the concerns they have, it is very important that their concerns are addressed and addressed properly.



In the Upper Musquodoboit area, we have a ratepayers’ association, and it is a separate entity from
the Municipality of Halifax County, they own property and the fire department is in their name. We are not
sure, I am waiting for the minister to come back and just tell me what is going to happen to those assets.
Upper Hammonds Plains has a commission and, again, they are very concerned as to what is going to happen
to their assets. Those are a couple of concerns that we do have and we feel that they are legitimate concerns
and certainly justify the minister coming back with some information on those particular concerns.



As I started to suggest before, the citizens of the Town of Bedford - and we certainly all have friends
I would think, some of us more than others, in the Town of Bedford - the community of Bedford is a little bit
different in that it is a solvent unit, they do not receive grants, and they feel that their representation is going
to reduced because as they understand it, and as I understand it, and unless the minister can tell me otherwise,
they will only have one councillor to represent that town. Presently, I believe they have six councillors and
a mayor, so you can see their concern should surely be justified.



AN HON. MEMBER: How many has Stewiacke got?



MR. TAYLOR: Stewiacke has somewhere around seven, counting the mayor. I shan’t get off on the
rabbit tracks as you suggested, Madam Speaker, but the Town of Stewiacke should certainly be concerned
about this, An Act to Incorporate a Halifax Regional Municipality, because who knows what is next down the
road.



There was some discussion here today and there has been quite a bit of discussion about the power
of the chief administrative officer and the mayor. Some have suggested that they will have equal power and
equal jurisdiction; I think that needs to be further defined. I can see where there would certainly be some
conflicts arising out of it and, if that is the case, there is no question about it, there will be some controversy
probably down the road.



The appointment of the CAO should certainly be advertised, as it was in Cape Breton. So, what is
good enough for Cape Breton, I suggest, is good enough for us here on the mainland. In Cape Breton, it is
suggested that preference would be given to a current employee or at least a resident. We would hopefully,
or at least we feel that we should be granted the same type of thing as was received in Cape Breton.



Also, we feel in rural Nova Scotia that we need further definition of just what is a rural area. Where
do you make the distinction between rural and urban? There are some fringe areas that certainly have to be
further defined. I know Halifax County and I would suggest, Halifax-Dartmouth and Bedford see the landfill
issue as a real problem.



The bill says that a landfill site shall be developed, but it does not say where or that any other area
will have input. As we understand the bill - and I am not sure if my interpretation is the same as the minister’s
- Halifax County will site where the landfill is, but the other components of waste disposal such as recycling,
composting and things of that nature are still a little wishy-washy or, perhaps, we could call them shilly-shally. The landfill issue is a problem, but I understand Halifax County does have a mandate to site where the
next landfill will be and they do have a committee, a very qualified committee looking into this problem. It
is something right now that could escalate into an all-out war before it is over. Usually, landfill issues are
quite controversial and they get quite emotional.



I remember asking the Minister of Municipal Affairs, during the last legislative session, about
concerns I had with the Metropolitan Authority Board, and I know, I am trying to stay on topic here, but I do
remember that the minister said she had every confidence and certainly trusted that body but as I understand
it today the Metropolitan Authority does not have the jurisdiction to go out and find that landfill, it has been
awarded to Halifax County.



[8:45 p.m.]



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, just as a point of clarification for the honourable member he
may have missed my answering a couple of other questions for other honourable members that it is the
Metropolitan Authority with the four mayors who have ratified the fact that they want to pass this
responsibility, this authority from the Metropolitan Authority to Halifax County. They want Halifax County,
in fact to do this and it is the Metropolitan Authority, the four councils who are members, that in actual fact
have asked Halifax County to take on this job to do this role and to do the citing for them.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, you know from your many years in this House
there is, in fact is no such thing as a point of clarification. The member can rise on a point of order or a point
of privilege. I understand that the minister might be anxious to make her view known if, in fact, she believes
the facts known to her are at variance with those expressed by a member in debate, however, I do believe that
it is appropriate for her to make those views of hers known when she is closing second reading or third
reading in a bill and not to rise throughout the submission by any member during second or third reading as
a point of clarification.



I would ask that you undertake to observe the rule that has long been established here for good
reason.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on the point. I think that certainly in the years that I have
been here this is a common practice and it is usually done at the request of the Opposition as they are debating
a bill and request and said, perhaps the honourable minister could indicate whether or not this is, in fact,
correct. I think, perhaps it is done no more often than by the honourable and veteran member of the House,
the Leader of the Opposition who quite often asked for such clarification in second reading of bills.



If it is the request of the Opposition that clarification not be given and that perhaps erroneous
information be allowed on the record until their bill is summed up then I suspect the government would only
be too willing to comply with that. In an effort to have a good exchange, to allow it to flow more smoothly
and to correct some information that maybe be incorrectly stated, the government members have attempted
to respond when prodded to do so and at other times. Perhaps the Opposition members could indicate which
way they choose to go and we would only be too pleased to do either one. This is being done in an effort to
cooperate, no other reason.



MR. SPEAKER: I certainly have no difficulty with the procedure that we are following at all.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I was just trying to point out that the Metropolitan Authority did have
the jurisdiction to site a landfill. They floundered very badly. The chief magistrates and the Metropolitan
Authority agreed and I will not ask the minister for further clarification, but I do appreciate her clarification
to a point. I understand they passed on that authority to Halifax County already, that has been done. Halifax
County presently has the jurisdiction to site the landfill and I believe I am correct in saying that. The
Metropolitan Authority and the four mayors have already granted Halifax County that authority. She is
shaking her head, no, but anyway that is subject to opinion.



Another concern that we have is that the municipalities that will be affected are being told to
enumerate now before polling districts are set and we also wonder what that does to areas that are in Rural
Route Number 4, for example. Things of that nature because as I understand, one of the new districts will be
larger than the other districts all combined and that will be in rural eastern Halifax County geographically.
As we all know and the minister can correct me if I am wrong, Mr. Speaker, with your approbation, but I do
want to tell you that the Utility and Review Board does not give consideration for geographical concerns.



That is a problem we see in eastern Halifax County, that we are going to have this one humongous
district and for that councillor to get around and to meet with his constituents is going to be terribly difficult.
As I understand, one of the present councillors has requested through Mr. Hayward, that the councillors who
should be fortunate, or maybe unfortunate, enough to be elected have some resource to help them and that is
important. I don’t see this reflected in the bill and I don’t expect to. But those are some of the profound
concerns that we do have out in rural Halifax County.



There has been a great deal of discussion about community councils and whether they should be
developed through evolution and a decision by council and whether, in fact, this bill mandates them or says
they shall be actually brought into existence or it will be left up to the new council. Again, that is another area,
a grey area, that we are not very clear on. But I will tell you that presently in Halifax County we have three
community councils. We have one set up in the Cole Harbour-Westphal area that does, for the most part, work
very well. We have a community council set up in the Sackville area that also works extremely well. The
councillors that are part of the county council and are part of the community councils work extremely hard
and they have extra meetings, but in Halifax County we always were able to give the community councils the
recognition that they deserve and if a recommendation came to council from one of the community councils,
usually, 99 per cent of the time, it went through without much debate. So I just hope that the new council is
able to function as well. I do have some serious concerns in that regard.



I should mention that, as I understand it, the western part of Halifax County recently formed a
community council and I am in somewhat, I guess, of a state of consternation as to why, because they just did
that recently and they are going to become part of this new regional municipality. So the future in terms, I
guess, of the longevity of that council could be brought into question, but again, who knows. But I am sure
when it is up and running it will work very well, too.



Now, I am not sure what the ratio in relation to police officer to citizen is in the urban area. We are
concerned out in the rural part of Halifax County and we still do not know what the level of policing is going
to be, but we do understand that the province will determine what the level of policing is but, yet, we in the
municipality will pay for that service. I think if we are going to pay for service, we should have a say in what
level that service is.



Another concern. The government has been silent on successor rights. Halifax County, Mr. Speaker,
is especially concerned because it has a lot of non-unionized staff and Halifax County wants a level playing
field for all employees, no matter what municipality, no matter what county they hail from. I think that is
important, just where non-unionized staff fit in. So, there certainly are some grey areas, but I do want to tell
you, we do appreciate, to this point, the forthrightness of the minister. We certainly see an improvement over
what we were receiving initially.



Now, Halifax County has always been able to recognize the diversity of the urban and rural areas.
Speaking of the new regional municipality, we are going to have one councillor representing a very large rural
area and 23 councillors representing an urban area. So the rural councillor is going to be at a very distinct
disadvantage and sheer numbers alone would only suggest and dictate that. So that is a concern that we have.



At several of the meetings that Mr. Hayward, the coordinator, conducted, it was suggested to him
and actually it was requested of him that he would recommend to the Minister of Municipal Affairs that she
incorporate in Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality, that the province assume
full costs of social services so we can get away from the present two-, three-tiered system, whatever you would
like to call it.



We feel that it would be fair and while I suggested that a small percentage of people play the system
and, I believe it was only last week when one of the publications carried an article respecting and in relation
to welfare cheats and things of that nature, what I understand is that the Social Services Department cross-referenced information they had respecting individuals who are receiving unemployment insurance, Canada
Pension and they got the information on some 32,000 people who collect family benefits. Nova Scotia welfare
cheats were caught by the fraud squad and I want to commend the Minister of Community Services for
initiating that particular program.



He hired, I believe, eight fraud cops and, as a result, the team of eight field workers and support staff
expects to pry $11 million from the fingers of welfare cheats. What I am getting at is we would be much more
comfortable here in the new-to-be regional municipality if we had a one-tiered social service system. I think
it would be much easier for the Minister of Community Services, and, yes, I understand it is coming, I don’t
know whether the government is holding that out as a carrot or not, but we are going to see it a little later on
and I do appreciate that it is coming and I, believe it or not, trust the government on this one, which is
unusual in itself, but I do believe that the government is moving along and I would certainly be way more
comfortable if it was included initially but, from talking to the Community Services Director in Halifax
County and the Community Services Director in Colchester County, in fact we are going to see a one-tiered
system on the mainland, not just in this new regional municipality. We are going to see it right across Nova
Scotia and we will be very pleased when that comes into fruition.



There have been all kinds of polls conducted by different agencies as to whether residents of the
affected municipalities have enough information, and the latest poll - and I am not sure who conducted it -
suggests that some 70 per cent of the residents feel that they just don’t have enough information about this
amalgamation. Presently, the information we have is that two-thirds of the residents believe they are well
represented; more than half of the residents indicated the existing tax level is just about right. They wouldn’t
mind seeing it lower - I don’t think any of us would mind seeing our taxes drop a little bit - but residents in
Halifax-Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County for the most part, or at least 50 per cent of them, feel that
the present tax level is just about right. As I suggest again, and I am sure, Mr. Speaker, you would agree, that
it bears repetition that more than 70 per cent of the residents believe that more consultation is needed prior
to a decision being made on amalgamation.



We understand that some residents are not in favour. Some residents won’t be in favour and, I’ve got
to be quite honest, it is hard to satisfy some people about anything; there is always a small percentage. For
the most part, one of the things that is lacking in this particular government initiative is consultation; there
is just not enough consultation. The coordinator did conduct some 50 meetings, for that he is to be
commended, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs went around to, I guess, all the different units in the
province but, nonetheless, people still have some very real and valid concerns.



I have had it expressed to me just recently that because some of the units provide in respect to
education, supplementary funding, is there anything that would stop children, so to speak in the fringe area,
was there anything to stop parents from sending their children into a school that is being supplemented and
are there any guidelines in place, any regulation respecting that in the bill? I am sure that perhaps even the
member for Timberlea-Prospect who was quite active here the other day could tell us if, in fact, there is
anything in Bill No. 3, to prohibit parents from sending their children into schools that are being
supplemented, in terms of funding. So, that is a concern that is not laid out very clearly in the bill.



[9:00 p.m.]



I am trying to stay on the topic, Mr. Speaker, as per usual, but I notice that the minister is very busy
and perhaps again, with your approval, she might enlighten us on that.



AN HON. MEMBER: . . . she enlightened you last time.



MR. TAYLOR: Oh, but it was just a mild complaint.



Now we have another study out, a UMA/Doane Raymond Report, that contradicts, of all things, and
I guess I was not all that surprised, but Mr. Hayward, I did feel and I shan’t retract the statement, he did go
around and consult with the people, now we have a Doane Raymond Report that doesn’t concur all that much
with Mr. Hayward’s findings. So here we are again, I guess in somewhat of a figures dilemma, whose figures
do we believe?



Now another concern, Mr. Speaker, is that employees groups communicated concerns about pension
plans and early retirement provisions. The special provisions for pension plans with early retirement and
severance payments to be covered by the new unit should cover this concern. So while it is addressed in the
bill, as I mentioned before, we have many non-unionized employees in Halifax County who are very
concerned as to just what their status is, in terms of successor rates. That is not clearly laid out and we do
appreciate clarification from time to time.



There was broad support for the present external boundaries, with the provisions that an area such
as Hubbards can still petition the Utility and Review Board for change. The recommended boundaries reflect
this support. As you know, Mr. Speaker, any unit in Nova Scotia can apply through the Municipal Boundaries
and Representation Act to secede to another unit. But that does not automatically mean that they will be
accepted by the unit. As I suggested, the Warden of Hants East was kind enough to attend our meeting in
Dutch Settlement. He was very kind and helped us along and informed us about some of the concerns they
had over there.



Community councils, as I understand it, are going to be an important element when this bill comes
into fruition and existence. I am of the same opinion as my most learned colleague from Kings West, that
these community councils are going to be mandated rather than given an opportunity on their own to come
into being. Again, the minister, I believe during the contribution from the member for Kings West, suggested
that no, they won’t be mandated, if 500 people or more, I believe is what she suggested, want them, then the
council may form a community council. If they do not, the citizens have a right to appeal to the Utility and
Review Board. So, there are many concerns with this bill and, quite frankly, there are a number of
inconsistencies with the bill, too.



All in all, Mr. Speaker, we are somewhat looking forward to the bill going to the Law Amendments
Committee. I know there are going to be several presenters to the Law Amendments Committee. Some of the
presenters have suggested to us that they are going to try to get further clarification as to just what a
Community Advisory Committee will do. Will they only advise? How are you going to get people interested.
It is hard to get volunteers to come out because this government is moving forward with so much change. We
are reforming darn near every department that the government has and people are being asked to volunteer
on hospital boards, on education committees, they are being asked to volunteer for this, they are being asked
to volunteer for that. So I would like to know where the volunteers are going to come from to sit on these
advisory committees. The bill does directly and it is in principle of the bill, it does at great length talk about
the different committees that may or may not be set up, depending on who you are talking to.



The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Mr. Hayward, as I stated before, they certainly make some
financial claims. When you first look at those financial claims, they are somewhat attractive. One of the
concerns I have and probably citizens in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County have is they are
looking for the research data to back up and support some of these claims. Mr. Hayward has suggested that
there can be a $9.8 million saving in the first year alone. But I think we need a clear explanation and the
people just want a clear explanation of how the coordinator and the Minister of Municipal Affairs projected
and predicted these savings, where the calculations came from. Those are certainly some very real concerns
that need to be addressed.



Recently, the Liberal Government, the Government of Nova Scotia, moved to put the cost of the
motor vehicle and liquor control violations on the backs of our municipalities and that would have to be
termed as another example of the government downloading and breaking the commitment it made to Nova
Scotia voters. We should remember that on its election to the ranks of government, the Liberal Government
promised to establish a charter of rights and responsibilities to distinguish provincial and municipal
responsibilities and distinguish from one to the other.



Again, I have to raise the very profound concern I have about a one-tiered social service system. I
think it is fundamental, I think it is important. Cape Breton is afforded, if you will, that particular luxury
because it is a headache. You have municipal officers, you have provincial officers, you have clients, citizens
who initially for the first six months are on municipal benefits. Then, depending on their situation, they apply
for family benefits. Depending on what type of support they are receiving perhaps in Halifax County, they may
move to the City of Dartmouth. That is still going to go on and, as I say, I trust the government in that they
are going to bring us into a one-tiered system and for that I am truly grateful.



This bill is some 100 pages long and I am not sure of the number of clauses but I know there are a
goodly number of them, 99. I am sure when we get to a clause by clause debate, some of the concerns I raised,
I will be able to further elaborate on them and then, I am sure, the minister will provide us with much-needed
clarification and that is important, that we do have the clarification.



One of the areas of concern is roads and there has been a lot of talk about the Class J roads and the
subdivision roads and, presently, the municipalities are paying the Department of Transportation $3,500 per
kilometre. People suggest the municipalities are getting a good deal but that good deal might be just set up
as a smoke-screen because municipalities, such as the Town of Truro, tell us that it costs them some $9,000.



MR. SPEAKER: May I have the floor for a minute if I don’t dock you the time? I see the honourable
Leader of the New Democratic Party about to leave for the evening. I would like to deliver a Speaker’s ruling,
if I could, on the proposed notice of motion that he submitted earlier this afternoon and also that of the
honourable member for Hants West.



It is well known that both Beauchesne and Sir Erskine May forbid reflections on votes of the House,
the specific statement in Beauchesne being that “A Member may not speak against or reflect upon any
determination of the House, unless intending to conclude with a motion for rescinding it.”. I do not find that
this notice of motion concludes with a proposed rescinding of the vote referred to and I therefore rule it out
of order.



Further, the honourable member for Hants West presented a motion referring to a specific member.
Beauchesne’s Rules and Forms, Section 481, states, “Besides the prohibitions contained in Standing Order
18, it has been sanctioned by usage that a Member, while speaking, must not: (c) refer to the presence or
absence of specific Members. (i) discuss messages or reports which are not regularly before the House.”, which
in my view would include newspaper reports and I therefore rule that proposed notice of motion out of order.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I was not referring to her abstention from the House. I was
referring to her abstention from voting and that was the word that she, herself, used.



MR. SPEAKER: The Deputy Speaker is quoted in a recent newspaper article, the notice of motion
states, and that newspaper article is not regularly before the House.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the different municipalities in the new regional municipality have some
concerns that are unique to their respective municipality. Halifax City, for example, have questions along the
lines of, is this municipality a new city or a community of communities. There is very little that drives a
common vision and I think what Halifax City is suggesting there is that perhaps the people from Necum
Teuch or Ecum Secum or anywhere in rural Nova Scotia, really don’t have a whole lot in common with the
people in the city. I certainly feel that we are going be a regional municipality of communities within
communities. The city has concerns regarding the new city.



As I mentioned, the community councils, Halifax City feels that these are going to be set up by
legislation. The minister indicates no, they don’t have to be, it will be upon request of the 500 and some
residents. If the council doesn’t set up the community councils, they can appeal to the URB. The City of
Halifax feels that the councils should appoint whatever boards it deems necessary and they don’t feel they
should be forced through legislation, as I understand it. The minister did point out in the bill that the council
will have the jurisdiction to do that and that is important. The community councils should only be advisory
and should reflect communities. That is the City of Halifax’s point of view and, as I indicated earlier, the
community councils that are presently set up certainly work very well in the existing structure of Halifax
County.



The community councils have enormous power and the decision-making process could become
obscure rather than transparent to the citizenry at large. There should only be one zoning board for the city.
With regard to the downsizing, flexibility should be the key. Seniority issues need to be clarified and resolved.
The legislation, as tabled, takes no recognition of relative asset values in the present municipalities.



But again, I am sure Halifax City looked at the bill very closely but upon closer observation, I think
they will find that the question of assets is addressed in the bill. I am not sure that it will be addressed to their
satisfaction but, nonetheless, the minister does address that question. They suggest there is a provision for
recognition of relative debt levels but provision is discretionary and Halifax feels it should be mandatory.
Thus, there should also be recognition of assets.



The legislation recognizes the role of area rates to provide for varying levels of discretionary
education funding across metro. This same approach is being proposed for varying levels of winter control,
road maintenance, sidewalk snow clearing, refuse and recycling pick-up frequencies, responsible for the extent
of sewer laterals, et cetera.



Halifax City goes on further to state that it may not be desirable to perpetuate area rates over an
extended period since this will impact on the relative cohesiveness of the new super-city. It is important that
the new municipality achieve a sense of togetherness and belonging as soon as possible. In order to achieve
this, area rates should be phased out over time. Again, I want to reiterate those are some of the concerns that
the City of Halifax has.



When the coordinator first started conducting meetings, many of the people in Halifax County were
concerned that they would have to pay for the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry system and transit. I thought it would
be a wonderful make work project to dredge the Musquodoboit River and we could ease the ferry up and I may
have another mode of transportation and certainly would be able to save a little bit on gas. (Interruption) Of
course, it would. Yes. It would be a good place for casino. Yes, river boats, run up and down the
Musquodoboit River.



[9:15 p.m.]



Some of those concerns we know are unfounded, but nonetheless, people out in the rural areas are
very set in their ways. For a long time, (Interruption) yes, and they are good ways. We have a lot of concerns.
We do have a lot of concerns. (Interruptions)



Something else the minister may, somewhere along the line as we debate this, I realize now we are
just here for second reading of this bill. I am not sure if we will be able to carry our hunting rifles in the new
city or will we have to go out into Guysborough County and Colchester County. Will we be able to hunt in
Halifax County as we now know it? I am not sure. I know firearms are prohibited in the city, but we are going
to be part of the city. (Interruptions)



Well, I can appreciate, Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader. He does not understand a whole
lot about roads and he certainly does not understand anything about firearms from the way he is shooting his
mouth off, but nonetheless (Interruption) it is a concern . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I have not been paying close attention. But I heard something about shooting and
I do not think that is in this bill at all.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, what I was talking about, Halifax (Interruption) Dartmouth and
Bedford, I believe, do prohibit the discharging of a firearm within their municipalities and I certainly
recognize and appreciate that. But when we get out into rural Halifax County, we will become part of the new
uni-city and that is a concern we have, like hunting in the rural areas.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well.



MR. TAYLOR: We certainly, (Interruption) well, true grits no grit. Mr. Speaker, (Interruption) I lost
my train of thought there just for a brief moment. I do intend to stick to my guns and (Interruptions) Well,
you know that is an interesting concept, but they abandoned the train line running up through the Valley.



The Metropolitan Authority, Dartmouth, we understand, is going to come in with a big capital project
in terms of a water treatment plant. These are the concerns many of us out in rural Nova Scotia, out in rural
Halifax County, these are some of the concerns we have. Again, I am very pleased, although I am not just sure
exactly how the rural tax rate will be reflected once the new council sits down. In order to change from the
present structure, as included in this bill, any recommendation to change the bill will have to come to the
Legislature. We should be, at least, notified at a fairly early stage if the rural tax rate is to be changed.



I occasionally get over to the beautiful constituency of Hants East and from time to time, some of the
(Interruption) people that we talk to are just as concerned as we are as to where the government is going in
terms of amalgamating the unit of East Hants. We know that is coming, but again, all the municipal units
(Interruption) in Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. TAYLOR: . . . all the municipal units in Nova Scotia, presently, provide for a mandatory
education fund.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Would the honourable member entertain a question? Mr. Speaker,
my friend in his comments has alluded to Hants East and he has mentioned that they wonder if Hants East
residents might be concerned about them amalgamating. I wonder if he realizes that the Municipality of Hants
East, the whole riding of Hants East, is but one municipal unit now. Just whom does he think we might
amalgamate with?



MR. TAYLOR: That is a very good question. It surprises me that the member would ask me that
question, Mr. Speaker. I had hoped he would ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs, but the Municipality of
East Hants might amalgamate with West Hants. The Municipality of East Hants might amalgamate with
Colchester County. The Municipality of East Hants might amalgamate with Cumberland County. The
Municipality of East Hants might amalgamate with Yarmouth, but it should not. But there is a chance down
the road because the Municipality of East Hants has, in relation to the Halifax Regional Municipality, a large
number of councillors for the number of citizens that they have, when compared to this bill. I am sure the
Minister of Municipal Affairs is aware of that.



Presently, in Halifax County, by contrast, a councillor is now representing some 5,500 citizens. You
know, the member for Cape Breton South, when he said here, I always try to talk through the Speaker, but
you know, he does not sound a whole lot different over there. He still gets his point across. But, nonetheless
. . .



MR. SPEAKER: I would like to ask the other honourable members, please, to let this honourable
member continue his remarks.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, a councillor in the newly effected regional municipality, as I
understand it, will be representing some 16,500 people, nearly as much as many of us MLAs do and more
than some MLAs do. So, representation is a major concern. Out in the rural areas of Halifax County, a
councillor is more than just a municipal representative and I am sure all honourable members know that
county councillors are called on for many things. Even the Mayor of Sydney, from time to time, I am sure,
and the former Mayor of Sydney, were called on for little tidbits of things like, I hear this noise on the outside
of my roof and I went out and it was a woodpecker - could you do something about that - on a Sunday
morning. Or could you help me find my birth mother? I am 36 years old and from the time I was born until
the age of three years old, I didn’t know who my parents were. Could you please help me? You don’t slough
that off onto a provincial politician. You don’t slough that off onto a federal politician. You try, as a county
councillor, to help the individual. You try to do your best.



You know, I am told that even some politicians carry a shovel and a pair of rubber boots in the trunk
of their car, yes. Some politicians do that.



AN HON. MEMBER: Lots of them carry shovels. (Interruption)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. TAYLOR: Yes, a coal scoop would come in quite handy in a lot of places, but in rural Nova
Scotia, our concerns are many. For many years we operated very effectively and very efficiently with our
present system, but we are willing to give change a chance. We are willing to trust, to a degree, this
government, that social services will become one-tiered. That is important. This government promised it and,
for some reason, and I don’t know why, I believe the government on this one. I believe this government is
moving towards a one-tiered social service system. It is extremely important. When this government moves
to a one-tiered social service system, they will gain back some much-needed credibility.



Now, I could go on, Mr. Speaker, for some time, giving this government tips on how they could gain
credibility, but there is one way, stick to your word. In many cases, and I cannot get off the topic, but there
are many areas where I can suggest, where the government has not kept its word, but this time, I am going
to give you the benefit of the doubt. I hope my constituents will give you the benefit of the doubt.



AN HON. MEMBER: No, you don’t.



MR. TAYLOR: Yes, I do, on this issue because it is important. It is fundamental, that a government
assume responsibility. I only have a few more notes here, Mr. Speaker. Could you, perhaps, tell me how much
time I have?



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I am willing to be lenient because you were lenient with me, so, I will say 10
minutes.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, a collegial atmosphere is really something I think we all subscribe to.
You know, the most important issue facing residents is taxes, your back pocket. That is what the most
important issue is. That is what is affecting citizens. You know, different members of the government can ooh
and they can aah, but that is where it really counts. Representation means a lot, don’t get me wrong, the level
of service we are going to be receiving as a result of this regional municipality. I know the former Mayor of
Sydney knows that, but it is in the back pocket, that is what talks. That is where people feel it the most, their
back pocket.



You know I have to give a former member of this House, the former member for Cape Breton West,
a lot of credit. He stood up for his constituents. But one of the first concerns he raised was taxes, how are the
taxes going to be affected in the new regional municipality? That is a concern the people have. That is why
these reports, the Doane Raymond Report, the report that the coordinator, Mr. Hayward, has - they contradict
each other so people don’t know what to believe. That is an area of concern.



As I indicated before, more than half of the residents indicated that they feel the existing tax level
that we have is certainly adequate, it is just about right. We would appreciate a small reduction but I don’t
think we are going to see a small reduction in taxes. But the back pocket is where people really take notice,
when you start talking about amalgamating one city with the other.



Now out in Halifax County I believe we have one police officer for some 1,300 citizens. In the city
I believe there are around 800, maybe 900, citizens per police officer, in terms of ratio. That is another major
concern that we have, what level of policing are we going to receive as a result of this amalgamation? There
is nothing in this bill that points that out in a very clear manner.



As I suggested before, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board does not give any consideration to
geography. So one councillor, the poor soul is going to have to represent an area that is larger than all the
other districts combined, once this regional municipality comes into existence. So what type of resource is this
new councillor going to receive? Is it fair to expect one councillor to represent an area, if you can picture this,
that is larger than all the other districts combined? That is a major concern. How are our taxes going to be
affected? What level of police service are we going to get? Are our volunteer fire departments going to be
operated in the same fashion?



Halifax County presently has 36 fire departments, the majority are volunteer fire departments. So
volunteer fire departments, in the communities that I represent, are very important. They will go out and
purchase an old truck, refurbish it and find a pumper, but everything works well. We should point out as long
as the running gear, your engine and your transmission and your rear ends are in good shape, plus your
suspension, you can refurbish an old truck up to just about as good a standard as a new one. The point I am
trying to make, Mr. Speaker, is that there is a policy in place called an apparatus purchasing policy that the
county has. Now I don’t know if they have such a thing in Halifax, in the city here, I would suggest they do.
Dartmouth may, Bedford may also have similar policies. Now is it fair to expect a rural volunteer fire
department to adhere to a policy that may work in a more urban area? We don’t have the population to
substantiate astronomical area rate increases to provide for new types of equipment that the new regional
municipality may demand, so that is a concern we have.



I am hoping there will be some consideration given to the rural fire department. I am not sure what
the situation is over in East Hants but I would suggest that it is the same as in many areas of Halifax County.
We put a lot of confidence and we cooperate and we get a great sense of security, contentment and comfort
from our volunteer fire departments. (Interruptions) I understand there is a lively conversation going and that
is quite all right. I am just hoping that this new regional municipality will give the volunteer fire departments
the same consideration that they received in the past. So, Madam Speaker, that is a very serious concern, what
type of firefighting service are we going to receive, once the new municipality comes into existence and
fruition, a very serious concern.



Police service. Recreation, different areas of Halifax County do have recreation area rates. I know
Carrolls Corner, Dutch Settlement has a recreation area rate, they have beautiful recreation facilities. But
where do we stand once we become part of a new regional municipality?



[9:30 p.m.]



The East Hants arena, you know I had an opportunity to attend a gun show in the East Hants arena.
It was well attended, it was put on by, a lot of people from Halifax County - and I don’t need to tell that
member - and it creates a little bit of friction sometimes that many of us over in Halifax County sneak across
the river, play a little game of shinny. We pay for our ice time and I am sure once this new regional
municipality comes into existence we will be able to do the same thing, surely to goodness. But, you know,
we take great pride in beating East Hants. It is not an easy task but I am telling you, they build a rink and we
go over and beat them in it and we really appreciate that, Madam Speaker.



East Hants is a very respected municipality but I am just as sure as I am standing here, that Bedford,
Halifax-Dartmouth and Halifax County have a lot of concerns. Well, Halifax County is so close to East Hants
that their concerns are somewhat similar and I think it is important that I have the information because I
know the honourable member, he is busy up in events that happen in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, the
honourable member for East Hants is busy certainly attending functions there that he may not have time to
get to his citizens. I’m digressing, I apologize.



MADAM SPEAKER: I think the honourable member is a tad off the mark on the debate on the
principle and I would like to bring you back to what the subject is at hand.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will always appreciate and respect your ruling and
you are right, you are very right. In closing, I want to say that Bill No. 3, a bill which is some 99 pages long,
contains 215 clauses, is a very comprehensive bill, there is no question about it. Police service, tax rates, be
they residential be they commercial, these are the concerns that we have.



You know when agriculture is flourishing in Halifax County it affects all of the municipality. When
we become part of the regional municipality we look forward to agriculture and forestry helping our friends
in the more populated areas of the new regional municipality.



Madam Speaker, with those very few brief words, I am pleased to take my seat. I eagerly await the
words of my most learned colleague the member for Queens.



MADAM SPEAKER: Are there further speakers on the bill? The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: It is just such a joy to have the opportunity to address the House at 9:30 on a
Monday evening. (Laughter) How often I have looked around this Chamber in the last 16 or 17 years and
admired its beauty, the architecture, the paintings and so on but I always on Monday nights focus on the
painting of the honourable William Johnson, who is to your left and my right. I can’t help but think that the
artist caught him late on a Monday evening when that pose was struck and that painting was decided upon.



This bill has engendered some significant debate in second reading and indeed so it should, for it is
a piece of legislation which while it treats most particularly with the metropolitan area of Halifax County,
Bedford, Dartmouth and the City of Halifax, it also is a bill which in its generalities, very much affects the
Province of Nova Scotia, this being our capital region and by virtue of the fact that something in the order of
perhaps 35 per cent or 36 per cent of the people in the province live in this metropolitan region area and will
become the citizens of the new regional municipality when amalgamation occurs.



The density of population, the concentration of economic activity, the concentration of our
universities in this area and all of those kinds of things that are attendant to, what, in at least the Atlantic
Provinces’ context of a relatively highly urbanized region are concerned, have a dramatic impact not only in
the way in which life is measured in that community, but across the province as well.



I suppose that if I were to strike a rough parallel I would say that the new metropolitan area, the new
city here will have something the same kind of impact in the Province of Nova Scotia as perhaps the City of
Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba, although to be precise that city, of course, does have a larger
percentage of the province’s population concentrated in it than will the new super-city here in metro of the
province’s population.



There are a number of issues, many of which have already been mentioned by colleagues and I will
do my best not to be repetitive of the observations they have made and the arguments they have put forward
in favour or in opposition to those propositions, arguments which I think have been cogent and, I hope, well
received by the minister. Certainly, one must give her credit, she does suffer through all of our speeches and
does her best, I think, to listen although not necessarily always agree, but that is part of the serious game that
we play out here as legislators.



I notice in the legislation that there is a reference to the mode in which council meetings shall be
conducted. I welcome the intrusion of this statement in the legislation for, in fact, it lays out the general
parameter that all meetings of the council shall be open and shall be public and so it should be. With any level
of government within our Canadian community whether we are serving as parliamentarians in the national
Parliament, as legislators in the provincial Parliaments or as councillors in town or county or city councils,
we should deliberate as much as we possibly can in the public. That is important so that the public
understands how their business is being attended by the people they elect. It also important that the public
understands the fullness of issues and as best as possible understand the reasons that those whom they have
chosen to govern them take the decisions that they do in the name of the government.



I am a little concerned that there is an opt-out clause with respect to the extent to which meetings
must be public and open. I would hope that the minister may be able to tighten that up for us so that the
occasions when councils can meet in camera are very few in number, are very specifically laid out so that no
council will ever have the opportunity let alone exercise the opportunity to conduct an inordinate amount of
its business in camera. Certainly, that is not what the minister intends and that is not what this legislation
intends and that is not what this House should intend. The best way to make sure that we avoid that is to make
sure that we have it written clearly, succinctly in the bill now rather than have to come back and redraft the
bill at a later date.



There is a great deal of discussion in the bill about committees and the roles they play. It is essential
that councils do have the capacity to create committees in order to, with greater effect, do the business of the
councils. At the same time, I think it is important that councils not cause themselves to dissolve into so many
committees that a state of confusion begins to reign.



It is the belief of many people in Nova Scotia that the provision of fees to councillors for sitting on
council committees has, in fact, from time to time, lent itself to abuse in that some councillors may seek to
sit on committees in order to augment their income rather than for the sole purpose of benefitting the
taxpayers and getting the people’s business done.



I believe that county councils, town councils, city councils should follow the same practice that we
established in this House perhaps 10 or 12 years ago whereby the provision for fees for members sitting on
committees was done away with and members now sit on committees as a matter of part of their public duty
and not for remuneration. I think that is something we should have in this bill as a matter of law.



Also, I know that from time to time councils appoint persons to committees and organizations which
require that there be a town, county or city representative sitting on them. I can think of some instances where
such community organizations have all of their board members serving as volunteers. They do not have
expenses available to them with respect to bringing lunches. They pay for their own coffee. Yet around those
very same tables, we find that persons who are chosen to represent councils are paid, not only their out-of-pocket expenses, but also are paid the same fee or a fee very close to the same fee that is given to a councillor
for sitting on a committee of council.



I think that is fundamentally wrong. I think that persons who are appointed to those boards should
be there on no greater or no lesser basis than the persons who volunteer for it. If the councillors themselves
are not able to sit on those boards then I think it is incumbent upon the councils to either request of the
minister, if it is the minister’s decision, that they no longer be required to appoint people to those boards or
that they find persons who are prepared to volunteer on the same basis as those others who make up the
majority of those boards. It is a small point, but nonetheless, I think an important point; a point that we have
an opportunity to clarify in this legislation.



I must say that one of the aspects of this legislation which I find lacking in clarity is the whole
concept of community councils. I am not sure just what role it is intended that they play. Are they intended
to play out a role similar to the village commissions, for example? Those of us who live in rural municipalities
understand very well the role the village commissions play in them. We understand the limitations of their
powers, what they can do and what they cannot do, the positive roles that they can play and the fact that they
are very much creatures of the municipal units in which they are located and therefore are not competitors,
for want of a better word, with the municipal councils.



I am not left with any clear distinction as to what the roles of these councils are. I am not left with
any clear distinction, in part, because some of the language of the bill, particularly with respect to the capacity
of community councils with respect to fiscal matters.



It would appear in some sections of the bill that the community council’s roles are entirely advisory.
Yet, I see in other parts of the bill where they appear to have a more active role than simply an advisory role.
In fact, it would appear that they can avail themselves of an operating budget in order that they be able to
provide services. Well, that seems to me that the community councils, if they are going to be given operating
budgets, will be carrying on ongoing operations. I have always thought that that was the role of the town,
county or city council.



I think from the very beginning, it is absolutely essential that we have established in the bill, with
absolute clarity, what the role of the community councils is so that they do not become something other than
what they are intended to be, so that they would not have a relationship, essentially dissimilar than the
relationship which exists traditionally between village commissions and councils and so that they do not
become mini-governments operating within the municipal units and sometimes, perhaps, operating in a
manner which is not in keeping with the parent municipal unit, in this case, the new metropolitan Halifax.



[9:45 p.m.]



This is an area that is going to cause tremendous confusion if it is not clarified now and I would hope
that once we get the bill through second reading and get it to the Law Amendments Committee, that when
the Law Amendments Committee reports the bill back that it will either have these clarifications built into
it or the minister will be able to commit to the House at that point that she will be bringing in amendments
herself, which will result in those kinds of clarifications being made available. I am sure that, in reflecting
on the bill, she will see where my concerns are.



Madam Speaker, I notice, too, and properly so, that the bill provides the power for councils, by
resolution, if it is so deemed to be in the interests of its citizens, to establish departments for municipal
administrations. That is quite normal and it seems to me the sensible route to go. But, in advance of that
provision in the bill, there also is a provision for the chief administrative officer to appoint an engineer for
the regional municipality. Now it seems to me only sensible that if the municipality is going to have the
powers, as it should, to establish departments, one of the departments it should have the right to determine
is an engineering department and, if it is going to have an engineering department, whether or not that
engineering department will have an engineer. It seems in the legislation that that decision, with respect to
a municipal engineer, resides not with the council but, rather, with the chief administrative officer of the
council and it is an area that I think requires some further work.



There is provision in the bill for councils to establish pension plans for both part-time and full-time
employees, if it so wishes. I would hope that we might use this bill as an opportunity to get away from a
practice which has been extant in this Legislature for a very long time - long before I came to this House -
whereby we have Private Member’s Bills coming into the House, on behalf of councils around the province,
seeking to provide a retiring allowance for a particular person. We have had them both for elected people and
for employees. It is a practice which has been frowned upon by many members in the House, irrespective of
Party. It is a practice which has been urged to be changed by the Committee on Private and Local Bills and
here we have the opportunity to lay it out so we can avoid that practice and get down to a good, sensible
system for the provision of retiring allowances for people who have been employees of municipalities and/or
the councillors themselves. I wonder if it is unusual - and the minister, when she is summing up can help me
here - for part-time employees to have pension benefits accrued to them? I will look forward to her answer
to that one when she does wrap up.



There is some substantial reference to joint service agreements in the bill and to the provision of
services within the municipality and, of course, the two services that come most to mind are fire services and
police services. Now, all of the policing services provided in the four municipal units which will comprise the
new metro amalgamated unit are, of course, professional. Mind you, they belong to different bargaining units.
In the case of the RCMP, it is not part of a bargaining unit but provides services on the basis of a contract
between the municipality and the province on the one hand, and the province and the Government of Canada
on the other.



Policing services, of course, are very much in the minds of the residents of the metropolitan area. I
think it is safe to say that in each of the units, people are satisfied with the policing services available to them.
They want to be assured, through this legislation, that the policing services that will be provided to them in
the new municipal unit, will be of no lesser quality than is available to them now.



I think I have read in some of the newspaper reports respecting this matter, that that is a particular
concern of the citizens of Bedford. In wrapping up, the minister may well want to deal with that matter at
some length. They are, of course, also dealing with the question - if there is a question - of successor rights
and so on.



The question of fire protection is another question altogether. Those of us who live in rural
communities and who understand the absolutely vital role that the volunteer fire services play in our rural
communities, will perhaps be more tuned-in to wanting to understand very clearly what will be the
relationship between the professional, paid firefighters and really, what one must deem in Nova Scotia, to be
the professional, unpaid firefighters in this province. Will there be a subtle, or perhaps something more than
a subtle change with respect to the relationships between these firefighting companies in the newly
amalgamated area?



I wonder what discussions the minister has had with the firefighting service, with respect to these
future arrangements and what direction she will be giving to the new municipal unit with respect to the
arrangement of fire services that will be provided through it. A very different thing from being on the City
Council of the City of Halifax or the City of Dartmouth or even the Town of Bedford, and making decisions
with respect to firefighting than sitting on a county council which understands that it has very widely
dispersed housing in rural areas and very different kinds of needs with respect to firefighting and fire
protection than necessarily are available in the city.



For example, you don’t need a lot of extension ladders to fight fires in buildings in Sheet Harbour
but you sure as the devil need to have some pretty good pumper trucks in order to assure yourself of a
continuing water supply in the event of fires. So, the needs are very different. We must be sure that this
legislation reflects those needs and those differences.



Of course, the bill treats with all kinds of esoteric things, like dogs and cats and reptiles and all the
things that fit into all these municipal bills and cause us from time to time, to have a little fun with what
otherwise might seem to be a serious and, occasionally, perhaps a dull matter. But, nonetheless, those small
things are important, too.



I am deeply concerned about the provision that is to be made for employees who, assuredly, will have
a change in employment as a result of amalgamation. We are told there will probably be something like 175
positions which will be eliminated as a result of amalgamation. That is not just 175 positions, that is 175
people who are bread-winners, 175 mothers or fathers, some of them perhaps single parents. We must make
absolutely sure that in moving forward with this legislation, that we do so in such a way that we give every
guarantee through the legislation that we reasonably can, that those 175 people are going to be dealt with
fairly and equitably. That when they leave their present employ, they will not simply be dropped out onto the
street, but will be given every reasonable level of assistance to gain whatever new skills they may need to
acquire and have whatever counselling that can reasonably be made available to assist them in the securing
of new employment.



These people, after all, will not lose their jobs because they have not been good employees. They will
lose their jobs because of the down-sizing that will be associated with the amalgamation and the requisite need
for fewer positions to provide amalgamated services. That is so essential and everyone of us as members deals
with people on a day to day basis in our constituencies. We must never lose sight of the fact that those 175
people are not faceless individuals, they are warm-blooded people with concerns in exactly the same way as
each of our own constituent is who comes to us seeking advice and seeking succor when they find themselves
in difficulty. We must treat each of them just as though they were our very own constituents.



I have references concerning police services and firefighting services but also this is true of municipal
employees that some are unionized and some are not unionized. The provision of appropriate successive rights
is absolutely essential so that fairness will prevail as the new government phases in its new administration
and gets on with the job of governing the metropolitan area.



There are several issues, Madam Speaker, I notice the time is 9:57 p.m. Perhaps, considering the
hour and the fact that I have a few more remarks I would like to leave with our colleagues, I would move that
we adjourn the debate.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is that we adjourn the debate.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, tomorrow we will be sitting from the hours of 12:00
noon until 8:00 p.m. The order of business in the Chamber following the daily routine in Question Period will
be Public Bills for Second Reading and we will pick up where we left off tonight with Bill No. 3. At
approximately 2:00 p.m. the Subcommittee on Supply will be meeting in the Red Room and we will begin the
deliberations on the estimates of the Minister of the Environment, followed by the Minister of Finance.



I move that we adjourn until 12:00 noon tommorrow.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is that we adjourn until 12:00 noon tommorow.



The motion is carried.



[The House rose at 9:58 p.m.]



NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



HOUSE ORDER NO. 14



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Leader of the Opposition)



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



(1) A list of proposals and associated costs that were received to conduct the independent
facilities study at the Nova Scotia Community College in the Strait of Canso.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 15



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Leader of the Opposition)



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



(1) Name of Nova Scotia Acting Chief Medical Examiner since the retirement of Dr. Roland
Perry on March 1, 1995;



(2) Number of deaths investigated by Nova Scotia’s Acting Chief Medical Examiner between
March 1, 1995 and April 23, 1995; and



(3) Number of autopsies performed by Nova Scotia’s Acting Chief Medical Examiner between
March 1, 1995 and April 23, 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 16



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Leader of the Opposition)



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



(1) Number of cases diverted from the regular criminal justice process to the alternative process
undertaken in Dartmouth Provincial Court between February 1, 1995 and April 21, 1995; and



(2) Detailed breakdown of individuals who chose the alternative process, charges they were
facing and sentencing imposed upon them.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 17



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources:



(1) Detailed job descriptions of the 13 employees in the Department of Natural Resources who
are being laid off as a result of the department’s reorganization plan;



(2) Details of counselling program being offered to the 13 affected employees;



(3) Individual breakdown of severance package paid to the 13 employees including the cost of
the severance for the 40 working days for each of the individuals and the cost of the counselling program
being offered;



(4) List of the managerial positions being eliminated as a result of the department’s
reorganization; and



(5) Detailed cost breakdown of how $2.6 million in savings will be achieved during this fiscal
year and how $4.9 million will be saved upon full implementation of the department’s reorganization.



HOUSE ORDER. NO. 18



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)



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



(1) A copy of regulations and guidelines relating to the operation of Department of
Transportation motor vehicles by respective employees.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 19



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission:



(1) A copy of Nova Scotia’s presentation on the youth study put together by federal, provincial
and territorial governments that was presented by then Minister responsible for Sport and Recreation, the
Honourable Eleanor Norrie, at the 1995 Canada Winter Games in Grand Prairie, Alberta (re: government
information release of February 21, 1995); and



(2) List of expenses incurred by the member for Yarmouth for attending the Canada Winter
Games in Grand Prairie, Alberta, including accommodations, expenses and car rentals and details on where
funding from which government department this trip was made available.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 20



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)



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



(1) Number of motor vehicle accidents involving seniors aged 65 and over who were driving
on Nova Scotia highways between January 1, 1994 and April 15, 1995;



(2) Number of fatalities and/or injuries of seniors driving a motor vehicle in Nova Scotia
between January 1, 1994 and April 15, 1995; and



(3) Number of Nova Scotia seniors aged 65 and over who were recalled for a driving exam
between January 1, 1994 and April 15, 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 21



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)



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



(1) A detailed copy of the two surveys conducted for the Department of Transportation and
Communications by Steer Davies Gleave of England, who supervised and trained students from the Nova
Scotia Agricultural College to ask drivers about their travel time, levels of congestion that have been
experienced and preferred toll levels and payment methods; and



(2) Detailed cost analysis to the Department of Transportation to have these surveys carried out.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 22



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)



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



(1) A copy of the model put forth by Arthur Andersen and Company to assist in the economic
and financial evaluation of the Highway No. 104 alignment.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 23



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency:



(1) Total cost, including number of individuals who attended, as well as individual breakdown
of costs for meals, entertainment and lodging expenses for five day Ecotourism Conference sponsored by the
Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency from January 16, 1995 to January 20, 1995;



(2) List of private sector companies and community groups which attended the five day
conference; and



(3) Cost to the Nova Scotia Government to bring international speakers James MacGregor and
Leslie Jarvie to the five day conference.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 24



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency:



(1) Actual dates of commitment of funds for a film sound stage by the Nova Scotia Government
to the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation;



(2) List of private sector companies interested in working with government on the proposed
sound stage; and



(3) Proposed site locations for a film sound stage in metropolitan Halifax.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 25



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



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



(1) Number of individuals who have taken advantage of the sales tax rebate for new home
construction to a maximum of $3,000; and



(2) Regional breakdown of individuals who have taken advantage of the $3,000 tax rebate and
a cost analysis as to whether each and every individual used the entire $3,000 rebate.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 26



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



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



(1) A breakdown of where the 200 new jobs that were created through a winter works program
were located across Nova Scotia; and



(2) Detailed construction schedule and location of work completed by these 200 individuals.