The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., Apr. 12, 1996

Fourth Session

FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 1996

KLM-Nova Scotia Marketing Accord Evaluation Report,
Hon. R. Harrison 524
No. 13, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Hon. G. Brown 524
No. 14, Occupiers' Liability Act, Hon. W. Gillis 524
Res. 177, Transport. - Hfx. (Port): Vessels Fees Increase -
Address, Dr. J. Hamm 524
Res. 178, Transport. - Highway No. 104: Privatization Scheme -
Abandon, Mr. J. Holm 525
Res. 179, Devco - Future: Community Leaders (C.B.) -
Efforts Applaud, Mr. R. MacNeil 525
Vote - Affirmative 526
Res. 180, Transport. - Highway No. 104 Tolls: Venture Sole -
Declare, Mr. T. Donahoe 526
Res. 181, Fin. - Min.: Mr. Warren Thompson - Appoint, Mr. B. Taylor 526
Res. 182, Mun. Affs. & Housing - Halifax Reg. Mun.:
Amalgamation Costs - Assist, Mr. R. Russell 527
Res. 183, Justice - Freedom of Information: Recommendations -
Implement, Mr. J. Holm 527
Res. 184, Health - Dr. W. Guzdziol (Strait Area): Service -
Congrats., Mr. R. White 528
Vote - Affirmative 528
Res. 185, ERA - N.S. Textiles (Windsor): Entrepreneurship -
Recognize, Mr. R. Russell 528
Vote - Affirmative 529
Res. 186, Commun. Serv. - Family Benefits: Caseload Reduction -
Urge, Mr. R. Chisholm 529
Res. 187, Mun. Affs. & Housing - Halifax Reg. Mun.:
Amalgamation Costs - Condemn, Mr. B. Taylor 529
Res. 188, Human Res. - Public Sector Comp. Restraint Bd.:
Responsibility - Accept, Mr. R. Chisholm 530
Mr. R. Russell 531
Mrs. L. O'Connor 543
Mr. William MacDonald 547
Mr. A. Surette 549
Mr. R. MacNeil 555
Adjourned debate 559
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 15th at 7:00 p.m. 559
Res. 189, Nat. Res.: Moose River Gold Mine Disaster (60th Anniv.) -
Recall, Mr. K. Colwell 560
[Page 523]


Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

11:00 A.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House to order at this time. Are there any introductions of guests before we begin the daily routine?

The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to your attention and through you to all members in the House, in the east gallery and also the Speaker's Gallery, I want to introduce the new Deputy Minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, George Fox. I would ask him to stand so you could recognize him and take all your problems to him. (Applause)

Also, Jim LeBlanc, who is Director of the Occupational Health and Safety with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, who is one of the better people I ever had an opportunity to work with in government. (Interruption) Yes, one of the better people.

Anyway, there is also staff from other departments, my department and Justice and Legislative Counsel but I want to introduce a guy who has really made a commitment to this province over the past three years on behalf of the labour movement. I am talking about Rob Wells who just worked so hard, several days a week, no per diem by the taxpayers, and really made a commitment to Occupational Health and Safety in this province. Rob, I would ask you to stand and be recognized and I thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Are there any further introductions? If not, we will commence the daily routine.



[Page 524]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a report entitled KLM-Nova Scotia Marketing Accord Evaluation Report. There are copies here for each of the Leaders of the Opposition Parties.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.




Bill No. 13 - Entitled an Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety. (Hon. Guy Brown)

Bill No. 14 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Liability of Owners and Other Occupiers of Land and Other Premises. (Hon. William Gillis)

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


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.


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

Whereas the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Development Commission is very discouraged with the latest offers from the Canadian Coast Guard in their attempt to recover some costs associated with providing navigational aids for foreign vessels; and

Whereas the new fees being put forth by the Coast Guard are scheduled for implementation on June 1st; and

Whereas the Port Corporation's vice-president of marketing has said that one option being put forth by the Coast Guard affects the commercial viability of the port's business and problems definitely exist;

Therefore be it resolved that since no meeting have taken place despite a request on March 22nd by the Minister of Transportation for such a meeting with the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Premier move swiftly and urge the Prime Minister's office to address this very serious situation, that unless resolved will have a severe negative impact on the Port of Halifax and Nova Scotia's economy in general.

[Page 525]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.


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 financial vultures are already beginning to circle over the government's Highway No. 104 toll road project; and

Whereas these financial vultures expect to extort a 10 per cent to 12 per cent rate of interest on the bonds floated to build the toll highway; and

Whereas such a rate of interest is hundreds of basis points higher than the rate on the province's most recent bond issue and will end up costing Nova Scotians millions of extra dollars in tolls over the next 30 years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to abandon its highway privatization scheme, which is nothing more than a shell game employed to mask its deficit and reward international money lenders.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.


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

Whereas the future of coal mining in Cape Breton is currently under review by the federal government as it considers a new five year plan for Devco; and

Whereas the continued importance of Devco is tied to the well-being of Cape Breton's economy and the lives of thousands of families; and

Whereas extraordinary efforts have been made by the community and union and leaders from Cape Breton to contribute to the successful evolution of a viable plan for Devco;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature applaud the continued efforts of Cape Breton's community leaders to press for a viable new five-year plan for Devco and extend their support and best wishes to the delegation travelling to Ottawa next week to meet with the federal government, while expressing our appreciation to those of this Legislature that have joined the delegation.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

[Page 526]

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

The motion is carried unanimously.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.


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

Whereas the Highway No. 104 western alignment project is predicted to be only the first of our provincial toll roads; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is described as being on the leading edge of this trend towards creating pay-as-you-go enterprises; and

Whereas the Province of New Brunswick is not joining us at the leading edge, but is watching this project with the interest of a competitor who sees a potential advantage;

Therefore be it resolved that the Province of Nova Scotia declare that this is the only such venture that we will undertake in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


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

Whereas Mr. Warren Thompson of Newcourt Credit Group, the financiers of the Highway No. 104 western alignment, hopes to make a career of financing public/private ventures in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Newcourt Credit Group appears to have no difficulty raising the required funds by bond issue; and

Whereas Newcourt Credit Group is involved in this project because the Minister of Finance is concerned that he could not raise the funds to pay for it;

Therefore be it resolved that Mr. Warren Thompson be appointed to replace the Minister of Finance to eliminate the middle man and reduce government expenditures by at least one salary.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

[Page 527]


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

Whereas ratepayers in the new regional municipality of Halifax awoke this morning to a headline and a sub-heading reading "Merger costs double Taxpayers now on hook for $20 million"; and

Whereas Mayor Walter Fitzgerald blames the increased merger costs on the fact that the province handled the amalgamation process in a very hurried and disorganized fashion; and

Whereas ratepayers in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality certainly understand the ineptness of this government when it comes to amalgamation because of the substantive tax increases they are being forced to pay this year;

Therefore be it resolved that because of the undue haste in forcing amalgamation on Halifax County, this government take measures to ensure ratepayers are not forced to bear the burden for the poor planning of this Liberal Government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.


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 advisory committee studying the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act has completed its report which, if adopted, would help to ensure the public's right to information; and

Whereas this Liberal Government which professes to believe in openness and accountability exempted the Highway No. 104 western alignment corporation from the Freedom of Information Act to prevent Nova Scotians from learning the truth about their costly shell game; and

Whereas the advisory committee report recommends that the Act should be extended to cover records held by government boards, agencies and corporations and that all "entities carrying out public services as a result of public-private partnership agreements" should be treated as public bodies and be subject to the Act;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to move with haste to implement the recommendations of the advisory committee on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or explain to Nova Scotians why it has abandoned its commitment to provide open and accountable government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

[Page 528]

[11:15 a.m.]


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

Whereas on April 20th the Town of Port Hawkesbury will host a special dinner in tribute to Dr. Wladyslaw Guzdziol; and

Whereas Dr. Guzdziol, a native of Poland, recently retired from medical practice, having spent 58 years as a general practitioner, of which 45 of these years were in dedicated service to the people of the Strait area; and

Whereas in a time when it is difficult to obtain sufficient doctors to work in rural areas of Nova Scotia, Dr. Guzdziol's commitment and dedication to the service of others stands out as a shining example;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly express its congratulations and gratitude to Dr. Wladyslaw Guzdziol and to his wife, Anna, for 45 years of distinguished service and leadership to Nova Scotians in the Strait area and wish them good health and happiness on their retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried unanimously.

The honourable member for 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 Nova Scotia Textiles Plant in Windsor is a proven success, employing 150 people while producing 1.5 million pieces of clothing annually; and

Whereas the company has been operating in Windsor for nearly a century and as Nova Scotia Textiles for the past 75 years; and

Whereas President Ed MacDonald says the success of Nova Scotia Textiles is because of the stable and flexible labour pool in the Windsor-West Hants area;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature recognize the entrepreneurial spirit at Nova Scotia Textiles and wish them every success now and in the future with their export and speciality business.

[Page 529]

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. I hear two Ayes, all right, that is enough. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.


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 Auditor General has raised concern about the large caseloads being carried by family benefits workers; and

Whereas the family benefits workers themselves have had long-standing concerns about the growing size of caseloads and their inability to perform their jobs properly, as a result; and

Whereas the union representing these workers is calling on the Minister of Community Services to finally take some action to address the high caseloads;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Minister of Community Services to work with the NSGEU and family benefits workers to reduce caseloads, so that a more effective and less costly family benefits program can be achieved.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


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

Whereas the cost of merging metro's municipalities will be twice as much as merger coordinator Bill Hayward originally stated; and

Whereas the chief administrative officer for the Halifax Regional Municipality confirmed that costs could go even higher and top $24 million; and

[Page 530]

Whereas it is clear that this government and the Minister of Municipal Affairs, despite having witnessed huge cost overruns with the merger in industrial Cape Breton, did nothing to prevent a similar experience for taxpayers in metro;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be condemned for once again bungling and badly managing the affairs of state, misleading the public on the benefits of its shotgun merger and failing to protect the interests of the taxpayer.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.


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 people of Nova Scotia expect the governments they elect to take responsibility for their actions; and

Whereas this government is trying to deny responsibility for its unfair treatment of part-time and casual workers by sloughing it off to the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Board; and

Whereas this board is, in truth, appointed by the Minister of Human Resources and is a creature of the Department of Human Resources;

Therefore be it resolved that this government stop trying to slough off its responsibilities to others and provide the leadership that people expect from their government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Are there further notices of motion? If there are no further notices of motion, that would appear to conclude the daily routine. We will now advance to Orders of the Day.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[11:20 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]

[11:46 a.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]

[Page 531]

MADAM SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 1 - Interprovincial Subpoena Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

MADAM SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read for a third time on a future day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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


MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, would you please call the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West. (Applause)

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, I would ask that the members hold their applause until later. (Laughter) It is a pleasure to rise and speak in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. This is the Fourth Session of the 56th Assembly and it would appear there will be no fifth session and we will be into the 57th Assembly in the very near future. Because when I look at this Throne Speech that was so excellently read by the Lieutenant Governor a few days ago, I can't find anything in this Throne Speech that resembles a Throne Speech. It is platitudes, it is self-congratulations and tells us nothing essentially about where this government is going and I choose to think that perhaps they don't know where they are going.

Madam Speaker, I am going to save the pleasantries for later. I would like to get into the nuts and bolts of this very thin Throne Speech that we have before us. I read the Throne Speech, and I read it with great interest, but I got to about Page 3 when I just couldn't believe what I was reading. I think it was Benjamin Disraeli who said, there are lies, damn lies and statistics, and this Throne Speech is full of statistics. But there are other sides to those statistics as presented in the Throne Speech and I would just like to spend a minute or two pointing out what is actually on the first three pages that I disagree with.

For instance, Madam Speaker, it doesn't mention in this Throne Speech that employment dropped by 6,000 since last December, employment in this province. It doesn't point out that we lost 3,000 full-time jobs in this province in 1995. It doesn't tell us that the numbers on UI has increased for that same period over last year. It doesn't tell us that retail sales in Nova Scotia dropped by 1.6 per cent while nationally they rose at the rate of 2.1 per cent. That is a good indication, I guess, of the confidence that people have in the economy of Nova Scotia.

Housing starts in this province remain sluggish compared to the national and even to the rest of Atlantic Canada. Public sector wages and salaries are down. Nova Scotia will experience a decline of 5.4 per cent in total capital expenditures, both public and private in 1996.

Between the first quarter of 1993 and the fourth quarter of 1995, the number of small and medium-sized businesses in Nova Scotia declined by 0.1 per cent, to 29,280. There were only four provinces across Canada which had a decline in that time period and unfortunately, we were one of them.

[Page 532]

The Bank of Montreal predicts the economy will grow by just 1 per cent in 1996-97. This is down from 1.5 per cent in 1995 and it compares with a growth of 2 per cent in both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

On Page 4 of the Speech From the Throne, we are told that the Liberal Government's energies have been consumed largely by efforts to clear away the financial and bureaucratic cobwebs that were suffocating growth. Well, from the above statistics, it doesn't appear as though they are doing a very good job with getting rid of the suffocating growth. What this government has accomplished during its time in office is to create an atmosphere of instability and fear for the future of most Nova Scotians, except those who are friends of government.

As I said, I read the Throne Speech very, very carefully. If people in this House travelled the province today and they spoke to people anywhere in the province from Meat Cove down to Yarmouth and said, what is the problem in Nova Scotia today, people would say it is jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. This government came to power on a promise in their own election Red Book on a policy of jobs. These same people that are sitting here today, when they came into power, they said, we are going to create 60,000 jobs. What absolute nonsense. What government can create 60,000 jobs? What government can create 10,000 jobs? The only way government can create jobs is either by hiring directly for the government service or else doing those things out there across the province that is going to create jobs in the private sector. This government has not done that.

When this government came to power, from their own Red Book, the unemployment in this province was 56,000. Today, Statistics Canada and I have got it right here, we have 62,000 unemployed in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is some job creation. They came in with a promise of smoke and mirrors. They came in and said, we have a plan and what is our plan, 30-60-90. Remember that, Madam Speaker, great stuff. In 30 days what is going to happen, we are going to have our plan. The next 30 days is going to be implementation and then by the end of 90 days, we will have 60,000 additional Nova Scotians working. What absolute nonsense. Governments do not create jobs, the only thing they can do is go out and hire for themselves or they can do something that is going to have the private sector create those jobs.

There is nothing in this document that talks about jobs, not a thing. In fact, if I may, I don't often read the editorials of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald into the record but I would like to this morning. This was an editorial on April 6th in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and it reads, "It's high time the Liberals got serious about job-creation, considering the party put the issue front and centre in the 1993 provincial election. . . . Liberal Leader John Savage had made job creation his number one priority in his party's successful 1993 election campaign, promising an all-too ill-defined 30/60/90 initiative he said would help cure the province's economic ills.". Then the editorial goes on to say, "Well, the much-touted scheme simply didn't add up to any meaningful method to spur economic activity. It soon came to be seen for what

[Page 533]

it really was - an election gimmick designed more to generate votes than to create jobs. The ludicrous-sounding 30/60/90 secretariat never really got off the ground; its achievements as thin as the air into which it quickly evaporated.".

Now I had written my - at least I didn't write very much - but I had thought about what I was going to talk about in the Throne Speech before I read that editorial, Madam Speaker, but I think it hits the nail right on the head. We do have a crisis in this province and the crisis is unemployment. I think we know now, I think this crowd knows now, anyway, that governments simply cannot create jobs. All that they can do is, as I said, do things that are going to have the private sector create jobs.

Now when I said when you talk to people across this province and you ask them what the number one priority, what the number one problem is, Madam Speaker, and when I say it is jobs, it may not be directly jobs but it all comes back down to jobs. (Interruption) The Minister of Education is going to yak away. Why doesn't he go outside and yak?

MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I know you are quite incensed at times when you are giving your speech, but try to keep your cool and be respectful. We all deserve respect in this Chamber.

MR. RUSSELL: I will try, Madam Speaker. I would suggest to this House that family stability is being torn apart by lack of jobs. Divorce, separation, family violence, child support; all those things are connected to the fact that people can't get jobs, maybe not directly, but indirectly. Perhaps what my colleague was speaking about the other day - he was talking about break-ins to houses, petty theft, the more violent society we have - comes down to the fact that people haven't got jobs. They cannot get jobs. Perhaps our problem with drug addiction is because people have too much time on their hands because they haven't got jobs.

We certainly know that the skyrocketing cost of running the Department of Community Services and of the municipalities looking after welfare cases affects everybody in this province because we all pay taxes and the more people who aren't employed, the costs of welfare goes up; the costs of all those support services run by the Department of Community Services increases.

We know, Madam Speaker, that because there is no regular employment available for so many citizens of this province that we are creating an underground economy and that underground economy affects everybody because, if people are not paying taxes, those of us who are, are going to have to pay more to support that lack of tax base. We know the fact that people are unemployed makes them lose confidence. They are not prepared to take on debts, they are not prepared to go out and take on a mortgage or buy a washing machine or something on time and that affects the retail sales in the province. We know that when you have lack of consumer confidence, well, then you lose business confidence and we have a lot of businesses which are unable to cut the mustard.

Now having said all that, Madam Speaker, and it looks pretty bleak, I would like to suggest that there are things that we, as legislators, can do. There are things that the government can do directly which are indeed going to impact on the numbers of unemployed in this province.

[Page 534]

[12:00 p.m.]

None of these things that I am going to suggest are going to drop the number of unemployed from 62,000, as it is today, to zero. But, anyway, I would suggest that it is impossible to have zero unemployment; there will always be people floating from job to job, et cetera. So, probably 5 per cent in this province certainly would be considered pretty close to full employment. If we could achieve that 5 per cent unemployment, Madam Speaker, which would be something in the order of 15,000 to 20,000 persons, I would suggest that these things that I have said that are wrong along with the economy at the present time would be at least partially solved.

I will just read the list of notes I have here of things that I think we can do, and then I am going to expand on them individually. First of all, we can talk about education. People have to have education before they can get jobs, and I intend to speak about that. We can talk about the underground economy. We have to get rid of the underground economy; it is costing this province between $60 million and $100 million a year in lost revenue. That $60 million to $100 million, Madam Speaker, impacts on every taxpayer in the country.

We have to look at regulations that prevent business from moving along rapidly and expanding and taking on additional employees. We have to look at such things as tourism. What can this province do to increase that industry that is expanding beyond all our hopes and dreams, to become a major force in employment?

I think we should take a look at the Economic Renewal Agency and see how that particular department can do more in the way of encouraging rebuilding of businesses in Nova Scotia. I think we have to tell people and educate people that they have a very marked influence on the number of people employed, simply by the way they spend their dollars - I have spoken about that in this House before and I intend to speak on it again today - in other words, people should be choosing Nova Scotia products when the quality and the price is equitable. People have an advantage to make sure that that person who is next door to them is working, because if that person next door to them isn't working, they are going to have to support that person either directly or else through the tax system. Okay, that is part of the list of things that I am going to talk about, Madam Speaker.

First of all, education. We know - and it doesn't take rocket science to figure this out - we know that in the western world, and Nova Scotia is no exception, a person who does not achieve high school graduation has only 50 per cent of the chance of getting a job as a person who completes Grade 12. We know that a person who completes post-secondary school education, either graduates from a community college or from a university, has another 50 per cent advantage over the person who has Grade 12. That is common knowledge; I am sure the Minister of Education could confirm that. So isn't it important that we use every effort we have to keep our young people in school, certainly to the Grade 12 level, and certainly nowadays to get that post-secondary education that is required.

I don't believe, Madam Speaker, we are going about that encouragement for people to stay in school the right way. I think we have to educate parents and we have to speak to the young people in class and tell them the basic facts of life: if you leave this high school before Grade 12, your chances of getting a job are very slim; in fact, unemployment for those people is going to run as high as 45 to 50 per cent for the rest of your life. We are going to have to tell parents, young Johnny in school, if he doesn't graduate he is going to be back living with you for the rest of your life. It is happening all over this province now. We are talking about family units that today consist of not only mother and father but son and daughter and grandson and granddaughter, all living at home. Unfortunately, the only jobs that are available for these people are those jobs which we used to call manual labour. Nowadays, we know that those jobs are no longer available.

I don't think there would be too many people in this province that would argue against an increase in the budget of the Minister of Education, providing that money was spent in the classroom, not to have studies, not to put out white papers, green papers and purple papers, but spent in the classroom to provide [Page 535]

education for our young people. I don't think anybody would argue against that. I don't think anybody would argue if the minister said our teacher/pupil ration was going to decrease to something like 15 or 16 to each teacher. I don't think anybody would argue about that.

I think they would argue though if he took on more staff in the Department of Education in Halifax to administer that additional responsibility. In fact, I would like to see the Department of Education cut considerably and all of those resources that can be saved from the headquarters going out into the field.

We had a very interesting exercise in my riding two or three weeks ago, when the local school board decided that they had to find $245,000 in their current budget. They didn't have it and they had nowhere to find it. The solution that came forward from that school board was to close three elementary schools. Can you imagine closing three elementary schools in a system that has, I believe, nine schools all told in it? They were going to close one-third of the schools in my riding. I shouldn't use this phrase but $245,000 is simply a drop in the bucket, in reality. (Interruption) He is going to talk about a big bucket, well let him go right ahead. I am talking about the young people in this province that need an education.

If the Minister of Education does not consider that it is a wise investment, not an expenditure, a wise investment, to invest in the education of our young people, well then we have got the wrong Minister of Education I would suggest.

I spoke a moment ago about people who have high school graduation being 50 per cent in a better position to get a job than those who didn't have a high school education. That is what one of my primary interests is. I also said that those who graduate from a post-secondary education have a 50 per cent better chance than those who just simply have Grade 12, of getting a job. What is the Department of Education doing?

Number one, we are looking at a community college system that, quite frankly, is being wrecked at the present time. How on earth can this Minister of Education get to his feet and say, I am reforming the community college system in this province and I am going to do that by wiping out approximately 600 seats? Now, if there were 600 vacant seats out there in the system, I would say good for you, go for it but, the fact of the matter is, Madam Speaker, there are not 600 vacant seats out there; in fact, before he started his slashing and burning, there were more people trying to get seats than what were available. Last year, as I understand it, there were approximately 200 people in Nova Scotia, who were qualified for entry into the community college system to take courses that were in existence, who were unable to get seats because they were not available; every seat was filled.

Now, you extrapolate that to the next education year, Madam Speaker. We have taken away 600 seats, the chairs are gone, the desks are gone and the buildings are gone. We had 200 people too many last year, how many do you think we are going to have in this forthcoming year who are not going to be able to get in because there are no seats? They have all the

[Page 536]

qualifications, they have courses that they want to take, courses that will get them jobs, but they can't go because there are no seats.

This is some kind of reform that absolutely baffles my mind, anyway. Reform is to make better, as far as I am concerned. When you reform something, you take it and you build on it and you make it better. Maybe you make it streamlined, perhaps make it more efficient all kinds of things, but you don't make it better by taking away what that system is already doing, if it is doing the right thing.

The minister says, well, we were training people for occupations where no jobs existed. Okay, that's fine. If that is so - Madam Speaker, I can hardly hear myself.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. It is getting increasingly more voluble in here. I would like order. Thank you.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I'm listening, Ron.

MR. RUSSELL: Thank you, Robert.

Madam Speaker, when you close seats in post-secondary education, particularly in the community college system, you have a bunch of people out there whom you are dooming to only achieving 50 per cent of the job rate as those who have completed that post-secondary school system. So we have to spend more money on education and the question is, perhaps, where is that money going to come from? Well, Madam Speaker, I think that the money is there. I quite honestly believe the money is there, because I do not believe, particularly now that we have amalgamated into larger school board districts and we have larger school boards, I don't believe that we need this huge headquarters that we have in Halifax; I believe it should be downsized.

Madam Speaker, I am going to relinquish my place for an introduction.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition on an introduction.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Madam Speaker, through you, I am very pleased to introduce to the House today, in the gallery opposite, Mrs. Rossana Liberatore, who will be the Progressive Conservative candidate in the upcoming by-election in Halifax Fairview. She is accompanied by her campaign manager, Mr. Kent Clarke. Please give a warm welcome to our guests. (Applause)

MR. RUSSELL: I understand June 4th or June 5th is the magic date that we will have an extra seat over here. (Interruption)

Now, Madam Speaker, I believe, as I said before, if the minister would put more money into education and get that money from cutting down on his expansive, higher-management staff at the Department of Education, that he could indeed do a great many things with regard to education. I think by doing that we are going to, maybe, just incrementally, very, very small, we are going to increase the employment opportunities for those Nova Scotians who are presently coming into the work force, but are not trained to go into the workforce, do not have the basic education.

[Page 537]

The second thing that I would like to talk about, Madam Speaker, is emphasizing to Nova Scotians that they can indeed do something themselves to help cure unemployment. Certainly, if there was a demand for product produced in this province, and it is a continuing demand and it is a growing demand, then business is going to expand in this province. I mean that is logical to me, anyway. If people would just spend a few minutes extra every time they go to the grocery store and turn the carton around or the box, or whatever it is, and just see where that product is made and try and find a Nova Scotian product. Why shouldn't we support Nova Scotian products? We make good products here. However, perhaps they are not as well advertised, perhaps they are not as obvious on the shelves, et cetera. Perhaps people don't care, they just take the box that is the handiest. If every Nova Scotian just spent 10 minutes extra a week in the grocery store, trying to find Nova Scotian products, I believe that that expansion of demand for their product is going to trigger some expansion out in the industrial fields of this province. It may not be tremendous, but it will be there.

[12:15 p.m.]

There have been a number of products, as you know, Madam Speaker, that have come on the market, particularly in our food stores in this province, that have started from very small beginnings. I think we are all familiar with the yogurt company down on the South Shore. Those kinds of companies took a long time to get up and running. They have a small market at the present time, but if everybody, for instance, who went out to buy yogurt looked particularly for a Nova Scotian product, not only that business but other businesses that also produced yogurt across this province would expand.

Furniture. We produce some pretty good furniture in Nova Scotia, but if you go into some of the large furniture stores you never see it. But, actually, there is furniture produced in Nova Scotia and if people search for those products, they can find them.

Madam Speaker, what I am suggesting is that the government, through the Economic Renewal Agency or some other department, spread the message to Nova Scotians: wherever possible, buy Nova Scotian products; support your local industries and you will incrementally, again, assist in employment for those Nova Scotians who do not have jobs.

There is another thing I would suggest, Madam Speaker, that Nova Scotians can do, and that is to complain loudly to every place where they go that they don't get service. Quite frankly, there are a number of businesses and a number of stores across this province where the service is not so great, and you notice that as soon as you get out of this province. The reason that service is not so great is not because the people, themselves, who are working there are not doing their job. It is simply that there are not enough people. How many times do you go into a grocery store and there are 15 checkouts and 5 of them are open, and there are lines Lord knows how long. What I would suggest to people is if they get into a situation like that, sure it is an inconvenience, but just leave your cart right in the line there and walk away and leave it. There is no reason why, for instance, any grocery chain cannot accommodate the amount of traffic through those stores.

In fact, there is one store - I won't mention any names - I think that has a policy that if there are more than three in a line, they will immediately open another checkout. Well, that is service and I think if people insist upon getting service and if they insist upon people being available to explain to them about a product or where a product is in the store, I think the management will get the message that they should have, maybe, one or two extra employees.

Another way I believe the general public should be encouraged to assist in the business of lessening the employment problem we have, is by not dealing with the underground economy. We have spoken about this many times in this Legislature, Madam Speaker. I don't want to knock the construction industry, but particularly in the construction industry and in the motor vehicle repair industry, there are two prices. As soon as you go out to get your permit to do whatever it is you are going to do on your house or your shed or your barn or your garage or what have you, you will find that you will have somebody coming up to you [Page 538]

and saying, well look, I can do that for you and I can give you a really good price but I would want cash and I can't give you a receipt.

Madam Speaker, there are people out there, and they are probably in all trades but, as I say, I think it is most prevalent in car repairs and in the building trades, who are out there selling their services and probably providing reasonably good services but they are paying no taxes. That is bad for the economy, it is bad for the government and it is bad for every Nova Scotian because somebody else has to pay. If somebody doesn't pay their share, somebody else has to pay.

I think it makes common sense that if people are aware of the size of that problem, then they are going to have two thoughts about whether or not they are going to buy from somebody who is not paying their fair share. As I said before, that is somewhere now, as I understand it, in the neighbourhood of $100 million per year that we lose in this province. That is an awful lot of money, that is an awful lot of taxes that have to be carried by somebody else. Perhaps one way of solving that problem, Madam Speaker, is to have the Department of Labour in some way accredit every trade. I don't know whether that is possible or not. Somebody mentioned that to me at the meeting I was at a few nights ago, but it can be done.

The next thing that I think the government can do, Madam Speaker, is to do something about taxes. When I am speaking about taxes now, I mean the people who pay taxes, whether they be as a consumer or whether it be a personal income tax or a business tax or whatever. I believe taxes are too high and that they could be reduced and perhaps generate an increase in business that will more than compensate for the loss that the Department of Finance would take by decreasing taxes.

When I say taxes, Mr. Speaker, I mean things like permits, like deposits, all those things to people who feel something coming out of their pocket every time they turn around is a tax. People right now are very unhappy, obviously because it is income tax time, but they are also unhappy now every time they go into the corner store and buy a bottle of pop. They don't look upon that as being a deposit, they look upon that as being a tax.

I know that the minister has told us that people are just overjoyed about this bottle deposit or can deposit or whatever it is, the tin can tax I guess, that he thinks everything is fine out there. Well, I don't know if he answers his own phone or not but I know I answer mine. In fact just this morning, Mr. Speaker, I have already received three calls on bottle deposit, soft drink deposit or whatever it is.

The cost of all permits since this government came to power has gone up dramatically. Now maybe some of them had to go up, I don't know, but people look upon that as a tax. Now you don't get married very often but whenever you get married you go and buy a license. Now the first time around, you go to buy a marriage license and somebody says that is $100 please. Well, you think, that is the cost of getting married and that is fine. But if you have

[Page 539]

been married before when it cost $10 and it was only two or three years ago, you look at that and you say, this has gone up by 1,000 per cent in three years. What has happened?

Well I don't know. But all those things have gone up, Mr. Speaker. Those things make people pretty unhappy. They are taking money out of the pockets of people, people can't spend that money and thus the economy suffers. So I would suggest that the government, especially now with the Minister of Finance having the money come into the Department of Finance by the truckload, should look very quickly at doing something about the tax regime in this province, something that is going to spur growth, something that is going to spur employment.

Another thing that government can do, and it is another one that we have spoken about in this House, is deregulation. I don't know if in your particular profession you are overregulated or not, Mr. Speaker, but I do know that there are a lot of people who are overregulated. There are a lot of people who don't understand how they should be operating their business because the regulations are about that thick. They buy a business and come under a piece of legislation and the piece of legislation is maybe five or 10 pages long, but they have 300 pages perhaps of regulations that they have to abide by. Surely to goodness, something can be done to get rid of some of those regulations.

I don't want to pick on the Minister of Labour again, but the Department of Labour is one of the biggest offenders with the number of regulations - there is the Minister of Labour there - that minister has to implement and regulate different trades and industries with. It would be a stack that thick, that is about two feet thick of regulations. Now, I am sure the minister doesn't understand those regulations, I am sure the deputy minister doesn't understand them and I am sure that half the people who are working under those regulations don't understand them. One of the things that we have to do in this province is deregulate and I don't mean we go nuts and completely wipe out all our regulations. We will still maintain those regulations that are going to maintain public safety, et cetera; we must do those things. We have so much in the way of regulations, Mr. Speaker, that we should do something about.

That is one of the reasons why, I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that businesses don't expand. They say, I am making a living with what I have got. I have a little business manufacturing glasses and I manufacture 1,000 of these a day and I sell 1,000 of those and that brings me in $50,000 a year net. I am fat, dumb and happy. There is a market out there maybe for 5,000 of these a day, but why should I bother? I am going to get hassled to death by every government department. First of all, when I start to put up a new addition on my glass-making factory, I am going to have to go downtown to the municipal council and go through the planning department, the building inspection and all the rest of it. Why bother? I am happy. Perhaps we should make it attractive for people to expand because the best industries we have are not those that we steal from some other province to come here, because we offer them $50,000 per job or something.

The best job we can get is a business like the one I described in my resolution today, Windsor Textiles, which has been in business for 100 years, it had a different name originally, but for 75 years it has been named Windsor Textiles. They employ about 150 people, not a heck of a lot, but it is pretty big in my town, I will tell you. They are important. If that industry wanted to get money to expand, and if the government was in the business of guaranteeing loans - I am not talking about grants - those are the kinds of businesses they should be supporting because those businesses are in this province. They are Nova Scotians. So we have to, as I say, do something about regulations, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 540]

Mr. Speaker, another angle of attack, if I can use a little bit of an air force phrase here, is to look at the Department of Tourism. Now I know you are going to say, well, we don't have a Department of Tourism. We don't but we should have.

[12:30 p.m.]

We have a $1 billion industry and that industry rates a minister, a deputy minister and a marketing arm. It is the only one of all the resources that we have in this province that has consistently increased. It is one that has no limit on how far it can go but it needs direction, it needs help, it needs somebody in government speaking for it.

I hate this Economic Renewal Agency, the term means nothing. If you go to any other province and you say, I am the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, they would look at you and wonder what the heck you do, what do you do? We should have either a department of development, a department of business, a department of industry, do whatever you want with it but give it the name for what it is supposed to be doing. I would suggest that department of industry is applicable. However, tourism, that sector, should not be under the minister in charge of that particular agency, it is wrong.

We have a minister now, believe it or not, who is charge of a secretariat. How ridiculous can you get? You have an industry out there that can create jobs. They do, this is an industry that really uses people. It is not like turning out widgets or something where you have machines stamping something out. Tourism is a people industry, you need people and with people, of course, comes employment.

I would suggest that one of the wisest things this government can do is to take the spare minister they have got and give him a real job, give him the ministry of tourism. It would be welcomed by the tourist industry from one end of this province to the other because it would give them a voice in government. That industry needs a voice, it needs direction and it needs a marketing arm.

We have a marketing agency in this province that is selling fish, logs, cucumbers, selling everything and then, as an offshoot, selling tourism. That is not a good mix. We need a strong department, a strong presence in the tourism industry because we are in competition with the rest of the world. We have a great product, a tremendous product, as you well know, in this province that we are selling but it is not being sold now. It is not being sold because it is buried in a misnamed, mismanaged department.

The next item I had on my list actually was the Economic Renewal Agency so, I may as well chat on about that for a minute or two. I don't know why we have an ERA, seriously I don't. I think we should have a department of industry. To run that department we should have a minister and a board. We take from across this province, for one year, people to serve on that board who are, if you like, the tycoons of Nova Scotia.

During the war - you were much too young to be back in those days, Mr. Speaker - we used to have dollar a year men. Maybe we had dollar a year women too, I don't know, but we had dollar a year persona. They were given vital tasks to bring the country to a war footing. I should tell you that it wasn't only in Canada, it also happened in the United States and in the United Kingdom as well.

[Page 541]

We would have a requirement for a heavy bomber. They found before this process started, that from the time they started deciding that they needed an aircraft that could fly 1,000 miles with 10 tons of bombs, by the time the government made up their mind so that the factory could get out there and start drawing up their plans, it was five years. They brought Lord Beaverbrook, I believe it was, into the ministry of aviation and he said, I make the decision and if we need an aircraft that is going to fly 1,000 miles with 10 tons of bombs and that is what my expertise out there in the air force tells me, right, we will do it. And away they went. The factory that got the tender wanted people, he went out and got the people to work in the factory. Those kinds of people get things done.

I am not suggesting for one moment that civil servants don't get things done, that ministers don't get things done, but they work in a peculiar way. Government is like no other business, as we well know, because everything you do in government has to go through channels and it has to be signed all the way up and, of course, everybody has to sign this little piece of paper before it gets up to the minister because otherwise, it wouldn't be right. It all takes time.

What I am suggesting in the Economic Renewal Agency, is that when somebody says, look, I am thinking of building a plant in eastern Canada to do so and so and I would like to come down to Nova Scotia to see what is available, I would like the minister to be out there on the tarmac, opening the door of the airplane. The guy or the lady comes down and says, my name is George Smith and I want to open a factory, and he says, hi, I am the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, what kind of a plant are you going to build; he says, I am going to make a glass-making plant. So he says, right, I have the very person you should be talking to on my board, Mr. So-and-So, who does industrial manufacturing himself, he owns a plant up in Ecum Secum or somewhere; I will put you in touch with him and he will show you what is necessary to get a plant up and operating in Nova Scotia, and we are delighted to have you here. The minister walks away and turns it over to the person who really knows what he is doing, the person who has been through the process himself and has been successful. (Interruptions)

Don't tell them about tolls. That was something actually that I also had on my list but I skipped by it. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous as a toll road? A particular toll road. Can you imagine, you wanted to go and shop at The Bay and before you can get into the store to spend your money you have to put a quarter in the slot and pull a handle before the doors will open.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sort of like a cover charge at a tavern, you mean.

MR. RUSSELL: Right now, Mr. Speaker, what this minister has done, he has put a lock on the gate into Nova Scotia. Can you imagine, of all the roads in Nova Scotia to toll, Heaven forbid that they would ever put a toll on Highway No. 101, but at least it would make more sense than putting one on that particular highway. (Interruption) I would not toll any highways in this province. (Interruptions)

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Who would build them then?

MR. RUSSELL: Who built the 100-Series Highways in this province? The government built them, the government of the day, the government of which I was pleased to be a member, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions) Oh my goodness, we are back into the debt. Well, I would like to point out to these gentlemen and ladies opposite that we accumulated some debt,

[Page 542]

approximately $6 billion in 15 years. This crowd have increased the debt by $2.5 billion in three years. That is some record. (Interruptions)

Well, I have to move on because I am running out of time and I haven't solved . . .

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

MR. RUSSELL: . . . I haven't solved the problems of unemployment yet but I have brought forward a few things that I think can do something to at least get that atrocious 62,000 unemployed today down to a reasonable figure.

One of the keys I mentioned earlier was business confidence and consumer confidence. We have in this province, Mr. Speaker, a lot of people who work for government or a government agency, a lot. In fact, we have more people working for government per capita than any other province in Canada. The government sector is very important.

One of the problems with consumer confidence is that people are not sure that the job they have today they will have tomorrow. (Interruption) They do not and, as I heard in the background, especially in the Public Service. We are told by this government that this year there are going to be 2,000 public employees put out of a job. Now can you imagine out there, in the Public Service of Nova Scotia, there are people working at desks like this all across this city and all across this province who don't know if they are one of the 2,000. They could lose their jobs, and they will lose their jobs, 2,000 of them. What does that do for public confidence? Absolutely nothing. (Interruption) There is the minister in charge of secretariats over there.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, he is the minister in charge of the Halifax Fairview by-election. (Laughter)

MR. RUSSELL: The minister in charge of by-elections, right. Well, anyway, the point I am trying to make is simply this. I find nothing wrong with a certain amount of downsizing; I think that governments can grow fat, that governments can have more bureaucrats, possibly, than what they need. So, indeed, there should be some downsizing.

I noticed just recently, actually in the Globe and Mail, they were talking about the Bell Telephone system in the U.S. The Bell Telephone system in the U.S., as you know, cut approximately 18 per cent of their workforce, just took a knife and knocked it off, but now in the Globe and Mail, I notice that the Bells - this is the Baby Bells - boast of added jobs with downsizing now a dirty word, executives stress hiring plans. I think, Mr. Speaker, that the thing has changed. I think firms now that say, yes, we are great, we are downsizing, we are chopping, slashing and hacking in there with a chainsaw, I don't think that is getting to be a very popular thing to do. Because we are down to the size where we should be; we are there, stop, hold it. We are right there, right now, and we should tell people.

If you have a job in the Civil Service and you do your job properly and you come into work and you behave yourself and you do whatever function you are supposed to do, you have a job. Not say to them, well, we don't know if we are going to fire 2,000 of you some time this year; you may be one, I don't know. What kind of a way is that to treat employees, what kind of a way is that to bolster confidence in the people of this province?

[Page 543]

There must be a time when this government wakes up to the fact that, for instance, they knock off the courthouse in my riding and they say, but, not to worry, phone or fax. So you phone - it is a 1-800 number - and you get a voice that comes on and says, if you are looking for information regarding deed tax, push one; if you need something else, push two; push three; all the way up to around nine; and then at the end it says, if you need help, a person to speak to, push zero, or something. So you punch zero, and what do you find out? I am sorry, there is nobody in who can answer your question at the moment, but we will get back to you. Do they get back to you? Not on your life.

It is just like the Premier's telephone. Can you imagine a Premier having a device that runs you through a whole bunch of numbers? Where is accessibility? People will take cuts in service, but there is a limit to how far that cutting can go. I would suggest that in education we have certainly gone beyond where we should have gone; in health we have certainly gone beyond where we should have gone; and, my goodness, I think in amalgamation we have probably gone too far as well, if I understand today's estimates of how much metro amalgamation is going to cost.

I would suggest to the government, if they are interested - and they probably aren't -I would suggest to the government that they say, yes, we are down to where we are. We now have, or at least we will have in this forthcoming budget, a balanced budget. We can sustain what we have by good management and civil servants are just not going to be fired, hacked and slashed away. Absolutely not.

[12:45 p.m.]

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount, I guess, but however, if I may just say in closing, that I am sure that everybody in this place, if they really think about it, will accept the fact that, number one, jobs are the most important preoccupation of the people of Nova Scotia today; either security in their own job - do I only have one minute, good Heavens - or the loss of a job by their parents, sons, daughters, et cetera or the ability to get a job after graduation from school. I would suggest, if I may, that there are things we can do - not spend a lot of money - we may have to spend a few dollars, but not a heck of a lot of money, but there are things that we can do that will incrementally increase job opportunities, consumer confidence and business confidence. If we can do that, I would think that this, the Fourth Session of the Fifty-sixth General Assembly, I think it is, will have done the public of Nova Scotia a real service. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MRS. LILA O'CONNOR: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to return here, for the 56th General Assembly in the House, to speak through you to the other members of this Assembly. I am pleased to respond to the Speech from the Throne. Lieutenant Governor James Kinley has ably presented the intentions of this government. Nova Scotians take a keen interest in the contents of the Throne Speech.

The people of the riding of Lunenburg are always concerned with the well-being of our constituency within the Province of Nova Scotia. I continue to encourage their input and support because, together, all citizens can make a difference in the prosperity of this province.

I wish to extend my love and appreciation to my husband Michael and to our family for their love and support. They make my life and my work so much more rewarding and I appreciate that.

I am proud to be part of a government that is fulfilling the vision that so many people, all across our province have helped to shape. I am confident that this government will continue to do so in a responsible manner or, as our Premier says, while living within our means.

I would like now to take a look back at 1995 and briefly mention just a few pieces of legislation. In Health reform, the decisions being made in our communities throughout this province are being done in consultation with the people who use these services and they are being made in order to provide the best [Page 544]

health care service to meet the health needs of each member of our community. In Education, this government is streamlining administration so that as much as possible of limited funds goes where needed the most, in the classroom. In Justice, this government is establishing zero tolerance for family violence and has legislated maintenance enforcement for single parent families. In Community Services, this government remains committed to easing the burden from those in need. We have increased day care spaces, increased family benefits and are in the process of moving toward a more effective one-tiered system of social assistance, all while designing employment incentives.

Mr. Speaker, mostly I would like to commend the role and importance of the economic polices of this government. 1995 was a time for tough decisions and courageous actions. As a result the government's expenditure control plan will give Nova Scotia a fully balanced budget in this fiscal year, for the first time in 25 years. I am convinced that the tough choices our government has made are the right choices for the province's economy and for the future of vital programs and services.

We have witnessed the ways our government is working to renew Nova Scotia's economy. I believe we saw a turning point in 1995 in the economy of Nova Scotia and in the constituency of Lunenburg.

The constituency of Lunenburg remains steeped in the traditions of the sea, fishing, boat-building and seafaring are still very much a part of life along this ruggedly beautiful coast. Among our many distinctive landmarks in the Town of Lunenburg sought by visitors are a new blockhouse-style tourist bureau, the celebrated Lunenburg Academy, the churches of Mahone Bay and the impressive Morgan Falls of New Germany.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Mahone Bay. The American Bus Association is the trade organization of the inter-city bus industry, with motor coach owners and tour company members throughout continental North America. Just last year, Mahone Bay's Wooden Boat Festival was selected among hundreds of provincial and state events in Canada, the U.S.A. and Mexico, as one of the top 100 designations. This is a tremendous boost to the tourism industry along the South Shore and I would like to congratulate the many volunteers and organizers who contribute each year to the success of the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival.

The Mahone Bay Waterfront Project has played a revitalizing role in the life of that community. Through this government's support of the Waterfront Program, there has been a total of $1.25 million available to assist with the improvement and creation of waterfront facilities in 15 communities throughout the province.

The Waterfront Development Program helps to breathe new life in harbour sides by focusing on infrastructure development. In Mahone Bay construction of stage one is complete along the front of the three churches, including the buried power lines, new shrubbery and lighting. This year, we will see rock cribbing and landfill for the new bandstand. Tonight if

[Page 545]

anyone is free, we are having a dance and promotion to help fund-raise for the bandstand and you are all welcome to Mahone Bay.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is the dance, what is it called?

MRS. O'CONNOR: The dance is at the Legion Hall. If you would like to come, I have a ticket. (Interruptions) Of course, the benefits are positive.

Firstly, jobs are created, both in the development of the waterfront and in the spin-off activities when the projects are complete. Secondly, tourism, a major economic generator for many communities is enhanced. Thirdly, community events are promoted more frequently with the waterfront becoming a gathering place for social and cultural events.

Last year, as part of our commitment to prepare Nova Scotia students for the future, we introduced the Computers for Schools project. Together, the federal and provincial governments announced funding of $3 million in computer systems, networks and software for 46 junior high schools across the province. One of the schools selected to receive leading-edge technology is the Mahone Bay school.

Exposing students to technology means giving them the tools to cope and excel in a world that is rapidly incorporating computers in every aspect of our daily lives. I congratulate all the members of the Mahone Bay Community for Computers Ad hoc Committee, for working so hard on behalf of our community and students.

Thanks to the Canada/Nova Scotia Infrastructure Agreement there will be an addition to the Fire Hall for Mahone Bay. When a town or city receives an infrastructure works project there isn't just one benefit to the area, it's more of a package deal. I would like to add, that the Canada/Nova Scotia Infrastructure Agreement is responsible for some 300 infrastructure projects across Nova Scotia. That's a $220 million investment in the health, environment and economic well-being of Nova Scotians.

Now, for the Town of Lunenburg. The infrastructure project has played a vital role in the construction of the new Fire Hall, in Lunenburg, set to open May 4, 1996. I am always proud to promote the old Town of Lunenburg. Last year, UNESCO designated the old Town of Lunenburg, as a world heritage site.

I am pleased to extend my congratulations to the people of Lunenburg for working in cooperation with the Department of Municipal Affairs in promoting Lunenburg and achieving this world-renowned recognition.

Another distinctive landmark in the community of Lunenburg is the Lunenburg Academy which marked its 100th Anniversary last year. I would like to say my sincere thanks to the members of the Lunenburg Academy Foundation who do an outstanding job in preserving the historic and cultural significance of this fine building.

I am thankful for this opportunity, as well, to mention the 75th Anniversary of the launching of the Schooner Bluenose. It was in 1921 when Captain Angus Walters took the helm of the newly launched Bluenose, destined to be the fastest fishing schooner, beating every challenger until her last competition in 1938.

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Over the years, Madam Speaker, memories of the Bluenose have been commemorated on the dime and stamps, treasured in museums and built into the lines of her replica, Bluenose II. I would like to extend my thanks to the staff of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and the members of the Bluenose II Preservation Trust. These dedicated people have contributed greatly in the many efforts to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Bluenose.

Madam Speaker, last year I was proud to be part of the official opening of the Engineering Flight School in the Municipality of Lunenburg. This is a pilot project by the Department of National Defence Air Command Headquarters, to provide 100 training days of employment to about 60 tradespeople. Lunenburg County is proud to host this reserve Armed Forces training facility that will prepare local tradespeople to respond to emergency situations around the world.

Madam Speaker, I am also pleased to remind all Nova Scotians that Lunenburg is also proud to host the upcoming telecast of Good Morning America, in May, giving Lunenburg and Nova Scotia further exposure to the world.

Now to the community of New Germany. Madam Speaker, the community of New Germany will soon be welcoming a new physician, Dr. Mark Pennell. The New Germany Medical Society are to be congratulated for their many efforts in attracting another doctor to the New Germany Medical Centre and to this community. I am pleased to support our government's efforts, in conjunction with the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, for attracting doctors to rural communities throughout Nova Scotia. I extend my best wishes to Dr. Pennell for many years of successful practice and welcome his family to the beautiful community of New Germany.

With the support of this provincial government, this Department of Transportation made a selected parcel of land available to the New Germany and Area Promotional Society. Thanks to the New Germany and Area Promotional Society, local residents and travellers alike will have the chance for a welcomed break, a rest stop and a play area.

Madam Speaker, sound transportation links are vital to the well-being of communities. That is why I am very appreciative of the attention many roads in my riding receive. For example, residents will welcome the recent gravelling of the Hirtle, Mines, Leary Fraser, Naugler, Conrad and Rhodenizer Roads. But we still have a long way to go on many roads to come up to par, and I will still be in communication with the local Department of Transportation.

In addition this year, the Department of Transportation is currently conducting a review of ferry services throughout the province, including the LaHave ferry. Madam Speaker, the minister and the district staff have indicated that no final decision will be made concerning this and other ferries until public input has assisted in identifying options. I am encouraged by the attendance at recent public meetings and I trust that the residents of Lunenburg County will continue to work with the government in determining solutions that are financially sound and long term.

Madam Speaker, two members of our region's interim school board are Mr. Hugh Plant and Mrs. Susan Joudrey. These two people and others have done a remarkable job when faced with difficult tasks relating to amalgamation. We are so fortunate to have had dedicated board members and staff at the Lunenburg County and District School Board who demonstrate their caring attitude in attending to the schooling needs of our children. With the continued input and support of the people of the Lunenburg riding, this government is able

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to achieve our vision of a province that treats its citizens with compassion and offers a high quality of life.

I am convinced that this government will succeed, Madam Speaker. While we face obstacles, we will not lose courage. We will stay the course in order to pass on to our children a province that is responsible in meeting the needs of its citizens, capable of providing effective and efficient service and remain fiscally sound. That is why, when called upon, I will be voting in favour of the Speech from the Throne. Thank you. (Applause)

[1:00 p.m.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.

MR. WILLIAM MACDONALD: Madam Speaker, I am pleased and honoured to once again address this House on behalf of the constituents of Sackville-Beaverbank in response to the Speech from the Throne. When I was elected to serve the people of Sackville-Beaverbank, I promised that I would represent them to the best of my ability while, at the same time, supporting the government in its task of bringing about responsible, fiscally effective management of the affairs of this province for the benefit of the citizens, now and in the future.

Madam Speaker, I also would like to join in the tributes paid by the Lieutenant Governor and other members of this House to the distinguished citizens of Nova Scotia who have departed from out midst since His Honour last addressed this Assembly. I would like to pay special tribute to Buddy Daye, who not only served this House with dignity and respect, but also served the members of this community with a fierce determination to never give up until he achieved for them their rightful place in our society. I will always remember Buddy's quiet, but tenacious, way of getting people to understand that all rights in our society should be respected.

Madam Speaker, while we are paying tribute to those who served our province and have passed away recently, I would like to take a moment of House time to pay tribute to a native son of Sackville who was little known outside of his ancestors, but who should receive wider recognition for his accomplishments. The person I refer to is Charles Fenerty, the inventor of newsprint. All the print media people who cover this House should take note for, were it not for Charles Fenerty, the newspaper or magazine you work for would probably not exist today.

At Springfield Lake, in my constituency, there is a cairn holding a plaque dedicated to this inventor/poet who hailed from Sackville. Charles Fenerty was the first person on the western side of the Atlantic to discover that paper could be made from ground-wood pulp. This discovery was the launching pad for the papermaking industry. Sadly, the cairn is suffering from neglect and deterioration from the elements of the weather over the years. We should do more to recognize the contribution of Charles Fenerty to the vast world of papermaking that exists today. I call upon the Minister of Education and Culture to see that Charles Fenerty has a special place in our history texts. Not only should Charles be recognized in our textbooks, but the museum branch of the department should be encouraged to take on the project of the upkeep of the cairn dedicated to Mr. Fenerty. Also, we certainly could develop this cairn and history as a tourist attraction in the Sackville area. I intend to pursue this.

In previous responses to the Throne Speech, I made notes of the boundaries of Sackville-Beaverbank. Because it is such a varied urban/rural riding, it would not hurt to once again remind you of its location in this fair province of ours. Sackville-Beaverbank is located northwest of Halifax and contains the following communities: Beaverbank, Middle Sackville, Upper Sackville, Lucasville, Hammonds Plains and Bedford West. If you are at all knowledgable of the metropolitan Halifax community, you can appreciate that the constituency covers an extensive and diverse area that includes both rural and urban communities. I also represent the greatest concentration of mobile home residents in Nova Scotia.

[Page 548]

This brings me to another request on behalf of this large population of constituents. Ever since rent control was lifted, most residents of the mobile home parks in the constituency have seen their rental fees increased exorbitantly. Madam Speaker, this is most unfair. I would ask the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs to look into the plight of these mobile home owners and try to find a way to resolve this predicament being faced by them. Some positive changes have taken place with the cooperation of the former Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, the Honourable Eleanor Norrie, and the residents, owners and the Tenancies Board.

I am very pleased to note the renovations that have been carried out at the Hammonds Plains Elementary School where $4.5 million worth of renovations have taken place, making this school one of the most advanced technologically in the province. The students and teachers are more than pleased with their capacity to surf the net as well as have a modern up-to-date library along with a new gymnasium and full service cafeteria. Parents, teachers and students are thankful to the Minister of Education and Culture for allotting the funds to make this project possible.

Plans are also in place to upgrade Sackville Heights Junior High School, hopefully, next summer. Last November, I took part in the grand opening of the new community policing station office located in the Beaverbank-Kinsac Fire Station. What a tremendous feeling to see the community come together in support of this community endeavour. This office is made possible through the efforts of 60 volunteers who help man the office and the donations of area businesses. Since its opening, this office has proved to be a valuable addition to the community. I extend my congratulations to all associated with this unique and innovative effort which brings together all community members in a spirit of caring for each other. I was also pleased to attend the opening of the Springfield Lake newly renovated recreation centre.

Another significant construction project is scheduled to commence shortly in the constituency of Sackville-Beaverbank. I am speaking of the Red Cross plasma fractionation plant to be located just off the Bi-centennial Highway at the Hammonds Plains exit. Presently they are working the detailed design before moving on to the construction phase in 1997. The $300 million project is on schedule. Work on the site began in December when rock was cut to build a road to the 48 acre site. Further site work will continue through 1996. The construction management contract has been awarded to PCL Constructors Eastern Ltd. Upon completion, the facility will create approximately 300 new jobs for Nova Scotians. Very significant. This will mean a big boost to the economy of the area.

Approval has been granted for a spring 1996 start to the construction of a central water distribution main along the Lucasville Road from the Pockwock transmission main to Sackville where it will connect to the Sackville water system. The project, costing $3.043 million will bring service to approximately 340 residences, as well as provide for 40 hydrants

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for fire protection. It will also provide a back-up to the Sackville water system. The project has been funded under the Nova Scotia infrastructure program and the Municipality of the County of Halifax.

Madam Speaker, since I am talking about what happens along the Lucasville road, I would bring to your attention and the attention of the members of the House, the establishment of the Lucasville-Upper Hammonds Plains Development Commission. This commission came into being as a result of the determination of the members of these communities to determine their own destinies. Many long months of hard work by community volunteers went into the establishment of this commission. It is a tribute to all community members that this commission is now a reality. I extend my congratulations to all commission members and wish them every success as they strive to work on behalf of their communities and bring about a better way of life for all citizens.

Madam Speaker, I cannot reply to the Speech from the Throne without mentioning highways. I want to thank the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for the twinning of Highway No. 101 west of the Beaverbank Road. This was a project that was long-awaited in my constituency. The increased safety provided by the twinning of this highway will certainly result in fewer accidents and a better flow of traffic from metro to the Valley. There have also been numerous paving projects completed this past year in Sackville-Beaverbank. These include the paving of the following roads and streets: Beaverbank-Windsor Junction Cross Road, Davis Drive, Office Drive, Springfield Lake Road, Lakecrest Road, Ashley Drive, Lylewood Street, Cedar Court, Old Sackville Road and Melham Drive. All of these completed paving projects will enhance traffic flow within their respective neighbourhoods. Further paving projects scheduled to be completed this year are (Interruptions) That was last year, this is this year. Highway No. 1 from Lucasville Road to Patton Road and Lakeridge. Others are under consideration.

Mr. Speaker, this year through the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program, water and sewer were provided for Beaverbank, along with an expansion to the Mill Cove treatment plant. This was created through the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program and it is greatly appreciated by the residents of Sackville. Work has also begun on the new soccer field for Beaverbank. This was made possible through the support of the Nova Scotia Recreation Commission, which provided funding in the amount of $15,000. For all these projects I want to express the thanks and appreciation of the citizens of Sackville-Beaverbank.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I would like to recognize and thank all the people who volunteer their time and expertise on behalf of the many organizations, service clubs and charitable societies who help citizens during their times of need and contribute to making our communities better places in which to live and raise our families.

Madam Speaker, I will be voting for the motion in favour of the Speech from the Throne. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle. (Applause)

MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise once again in this historic Chamber and respond to the Speech from the Throne and to say a few words from the constituency of Argyle.

[Page 550]

I want to extend congratulations to His Honour for the excellent speech he gave on the government's agenda for the Fourth Session of the Fifty-Sixth General Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia. To His Honour and Mrs. Kingley I extend best wishes for continued good health in the service of the people of Nova Scotia.

I also wish to be included in the expressions of acknowledgement for the lives and dedicated service to the Province of Nova Scotia of distinguished citizens who passed away this year. As a member of the Acadian community, I was especially saddened by the loss of Benoit Comeau, former Cabinet Minister and interim Leader of our Party. He was a true role model for the members of the Acadian community. A kind and gentle man, he was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need of support and assistance. Whenever I think of Benoit Comeau, although I did not know him very well personally, one of my friends mentioned a situation that happened in this Chamber where they were discussing a dispute between two groups fishing salmon in the river. At the time Mr. Comeau was the provincial Fisheries Minister. When asked for his comments as to which side he would side with, he said he was with the salmon. That is the way I remember Benoit Comeau. Benoit never forgot his Acadian roots and at every opportunity he displayed his pride in being Acadian.

Since we last met, Madam Speaker, there have been some changes in assignments at the executive level. To my colleagues on the government side who have taken on new ministerial responsibilities, I extend my congratulations and wish them well in their new responsibilities.

At this time I would also like to extend congratulations to Ted d'Eon of Pubnico who this past year was a recipient of the 1995 Gulf of Maine Visionary Award for his work as a conservationist, helping to preserve the nesting grounds of the roseate tern and the gannet; all of this in Lobster Bay and I must say, Madam Speaker, that this is a fine example as to how environmentalists and industry can work together, as in this case there was an aquaculture site close to the nesting grounds on this island. Things have turned out very well. This has been a number of years now and the population of these two birds continues to rise.

[1:15 p.m.]

Congratulations are also extended to Jeremy Crowell of West Pubnico who was an award winner through the auspices of the Department of Economic Renewal's Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Program. With the assistance of this program, Jeremy, over the summer, operated Jeremy Crowell's Farm Market, a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. Jeremy's award is an example of the accomplishments that can occur through entrepreneurship and initiative.

Madam Speaker, I don't have to tell you that we are living in an age of change and transition. It is apparent not only in Nova Scotia, but across Canada and across the world. This is made evident by the knowledge explosion that is happening all around us. Where just a few years ago it would take 10 or more years to double the amount of knowledge in the world, we now know that it takes less than two years. As a result, governments - not only here in Nova Scotia, but worldwide - must adapt to the rapid changes that are taking place. We must realize that technology is a tool that will assist us in all walks of life. With this in mind, we as a government must move forward and keep pace with this knowledge explosion and bring this province into the mainstream of global society.

If you look at what is happening around us in the Province of Nova Scotia, we have already begun this process, and we are trying to keep pace with this technology explosion by creating a new Technology Secretariat. If you look in our school system, there are more and

[Page 551]

more computers being established, more and more schools being on the Internet. If you look at our community college system, we are keeping pace by continually upgrading the curriculum and providing new programs that will meet the needs of the employers. For so many years, the community colleges have had difficulties keeping pace with the changing world, the world of industry. We are becoming more and more receptive to what the needs of industry are.

A fine example is the Burridge Campus, which is not in my riding, but many of the students from my riding do attend the Burridge Campus of the community college in Yarmouth, and the Burridge Campus, if you look at the enrolment, the enrolment has risen quickly over the last number of years, something that shows us that more and more people are having confidence in our community college system. If you look at the morale in that school over two or three years ago, you would see a big difference there, as well.

In order to take our legitimate place in Canada and the world, our government must be creative. Creativity does not mean throwing more and more money, as has happened in the past, to difficult situations. That is not being creative, that is being overly simple. As displayed in the Speech from the Throne, this government continues to be creative. Despite carrying a debt-servicing load of $1 billion a year, our government, this year, will manage to fully balance the budget. This is the first fully balanced budget in 25 years. Despite the mess from the previous government - some of the members now opposite formed part of that government that took 15 years to create this mess - this new government, in three short years through innovation and creativity, has tried to bring this under control.

The member opposite, a few short minutes ago, mentioned something, yes, but over 15 years we managed to accumulate a $6 billion debt - and I hope he wasn't proud of such an accomplishment - and that this new government, in three years, have accumulated $3 billion of debt. Well, Madam Speaker, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you continue spending more than you bring in in revenue, that it will be difficult to catch up on a debt that is existing. The same thing as a household budget, for example, if you cannot continue to make payments, then yes, the debt is going to accumulate very quickly.

The creation of the new Department of Business and Consumer Services and the services it will offer is something else that rural Nova Scotia has been awaiting for some time. This has already, in my opinion, proven itself. If you look at the situation surrounding the access centre, for example, in Yarmouth, and I and sure across the province, they are proving themselves worthwhile as well in improving efficiency to the people, especially in rural areas, that this is definitely something that we are looking forward to in rural Nova Scotia to make government services more accessible to all the citizens of the constituency of Argyle and of southwestern Nova Scotia. This is just one more example of this government's commitment to creating a better life for the citizens of rural Nova Scotia.

As you well know, Madam Speaker, the traditional fishery is the backbone of the economy in southwestern Nova Scotia and, I think in the last number of Addresses in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, I have made mention of this. I cannot over-emphasize this, that the fishery is very important to the economy of Argyle and of southwestern Nova Scotia. As difficult as it may be, with what we have heard recently as to what has happened with the management of the fishery, it is important that we all work together to create a sustainable fishery so that we can continue a way of life that is so much part of our communities.

[Page 552]

The recent events in the fishery have by no means been neglected by this government. I am also pleased to see ongoing meetings and I know it is difficult and a challenge to reach agreement on some of these issues, but recent meetings have taken place here in Halifax and southwestern Nova Scotia to try to resolve this issue.

We cannot underestimate the value of the fishery to our economy. Once again, this year, the leading export commodity for the province was fish. This industry represented 29 per cent of the province's total exports. We, as a government and as citizens of Nova Scotia, have to continue to do everything in our power to see that it remains that way. If you compare landed-value figures, for example, for 1993 to 1994, you look at Yarmouth County and landed-value figures of fish have increased by 14 per cent, close to $100 million; Shelburne County has remained pretty much the same; Digby County is up 5 per cent; and Lunenburg County is up 11 per cent. All of the figures for this year are not available yet. I understand that the value of landed catches set a new record again this year, emphasizing the need to continue to maintain the viability of this most valuable resource.

Yes, there are difficulties in certain areas of the fishery. In my area, I would be remiss if I did not mention the difficulties and the challenges being faced in the herring industry. However, we are fortunate in southwestern Nova Scotia to have a diversified fishery and, as one article has stated in the local paper, despite all of this they are talking about the protests and difficulties we have had as of late. The fishery continues to survive in this neck of the woods - talking about southwestern Nova Scotia - thanks in part to a diversified industry which sees fishing almost on a 12 month basis. That is something that we cannot lose sight of.

Not only must we maintain the viability of the traditional fishery but we must also look at other ways to keep the fishery and fisheries-related businesses as an integral part of our economy. One of those ways is to promote and facilitate the development of aquaculture as a viable industry in this province. The government is well aware of the significance of aquaculture to our economy. As an example, last August, the government initiated a $10 million working capital loan guarantee program for aquaculture. This investment will help create jobs for Nova Scotians and further boost our economy.

A good example of the growth of aquaculture in southwestern Nova Scotia is the value of landed fish and the number of farms now operating, compared to 1993. Province-wide, there is an 18.8 per cent growth in the number of farms. In Yarmouth County alone this year, there are some 29 different aquaculture operations in place. In conversation with a gentleman yesterday, after two or three years of growing oysters and scallops, he is ready for the first time to market some of his product, something like 50,000 oysters and 50,000 scallops. He was very proud of his accomplishment, something that represents a diversified way or a different way of thinking of the fishing industry and, in this case, this gentleman was particularly proud because he received absolutely no government funding and was proud of his accomplishments of growing oysters and scallops over the last two or three years.

While I am on the topic of fishery, let us not forget one of the spin-offs of this industry, the boat-building trade. Boat-builders in Nova Scotia, in cooperation with the Department of Fisheries, fishers and TUNS, are using the knowledge gained from the latest research to develop faster, more comfortable boats, thus allowing fishers to become more efficient while carrying out their tasks. Not only are our boat-builders building boats for the local market but they are also becoming more active in the global market place. A recent conversation with a gentleman who visited Africa and Europe, for example, recently expressed the potential of marketing boats to these areas and the knowledge that we have of the boat-building industry is something that I am sure could benefit some of these countries.

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Many of the builders in my area are already sending boats to different parts of North America and even to some areas overseas.

This past year marked the third year in a row that the province's tourism industry posted peak season gains and 1996 is looking even better, according to the Canadian Travel Research Institute. The institute predicts a 4 per cent increase in tourism expenditures and a 1.2 per cent rise in domestic pleasure trips. This increased activity is certainly welcome news to the tourism industry. For us in Argyle our challenge is to further tap into these increases. As an example, scheduled to open on July 1st, the Wedgeport Historic Tuna Fishing Museum is an example of recent developments that will help attract even more visitors to our region. I would like at this time as well to publicly thank Cyril LeBlanc and his committee for all their work and commitment that they have put into this project.

As well as the Tuna Fishing Museum in Wedgeport, last year was the first summer that they offered guided tours of the beautiful Tusket Islands. This will happen again this summer. Along with the guided tours of the Tusket Islands, a lobster boil is provided.

The ongoing work on the proposed Acadian Village in West Pubnico and guided wilderness tours and canoe tours are all first-rate attractions which have been initiated over the last number of years. Hopefully, with continued marketing perseverance will lure more and more tourists to this part of the province.

Bed and breakfasts have been established as well as a few restaurants in the area which are world-class and provide pleasant and enjoyable surroundings for those who choose to visit this part of the province.

Although we now have more and more attractions for tourists, we still have many challenges to face in attracting visitors to our area. We must market the district so that tourists will want to come and see the magnificent attractions we offer. One example of a challenge that we face is the signage on the 100-Series Highways. Providing appropriate signage is getting to be more crucial now that we have more attractions in the area. It is something that we have to continue to work on to try to overcome this particular challenge.

Madam Speaker, I would be delinquent in my duty as the MLA for Argyle if I did not mention the MV Bluenose ferry. As you know, this ferry is a key component to the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia. What can we do to have it remain a key component of the economy?

[1:30 p.m.]

First of all, we must focus on what we want to accomplish with this service. Do we merely want a link to the United States or do we want something else? We, as residents of southwestern Nova Scotia must make the decisions and arrive at solutions. We have already experienced what happens when decisions are taken out of our hands and made elsewhere. We cannot allow this to happen again. I am pleased that creative and innovative solutions have been presented to our federal counterparts and I would also like to thank the local RDA, through the Chairmanship of Gerry Boudreau, for the work that they have done here. I know I have made a trip myself to Ottawa to try to voice support for finding some type of solution that would leave the link between Yarmouth, southwestern Nova Scotia and the Province of Nova Scotia to the New England State. We must continue to voice this concern to Marine Atlantic and to our federal counterparts so that a solution can be reached to allow this service to remain in Yarmouth.

[Page 554]

Madam Speaker, as an aside here I would also like to mention something that was brought up in the late debate this past Wednesday, where Yarmouth was the topic of discussion. Even though I do not represent the Town of Yarmouth, Argyle is part of Yarmouth County. Many of the people of Argyle either work in Yarmouth or use many of the services in Yarmouth.

Many times the tin mine has been mentioned, Dominion Textile was mentioned, no rail service was mentioned by some members of the opposite Parties. All of these services left or moved to different places or closed up prior to our government coming into power in 1993. Some of the other challenges that we now face, the MV Bluenose, the airport and some of the other infrastructure, yes, they are challenges for us and something that now that we cannot keep throwing more and more money at some of these things, we have to be more creative and more innovative as to solutions to some of these challenges. That is what I, as the member for the area, have been voicing to not only this government in the Province of Nova Scotia but to the federal government that we must arrive at solutions so that we will continue to have appropriate infrastructure in the area to help attract business to the area and to help keep jobs in the area.

The KPMG study was another subject that was brought up last Wednesday night. That the cost of doing business in Yarmouth was least expensive of 15 Canadian cities and 12 U.S. cities. One member of the Opposition mentioned that something is terribly wrong in Nova Scotia if this is the case and that investors are not willing to come here. I think part of the problem is that if you are looking at the $9 billion debt that we have experienced over the last little while, I think that is part of our problem that as an investor, if you look at the Province of Nova Scotia, you see that $1 billion a year has to be sent away just to pay the interest or to service our debt, I think that is part of our problem and I am pleased to be part of a government that is looking at financial restraints and financial responsibility to hopefully help attract some of these companies to the area.

Madame la présidente, il me fait grand plaisir d'adresser quelque mots dans ma langue maternelle.

J'aimerais de parler tout d'abord à propos du Conseil scolaire acadien provinciale. Après plusieurs mois d'étude et d'analyse, le gouvernement a annoncé la formation du conseil scolaire acadien. Afin de désservir l'ensemble de la province, c'était un moment historique pour les acadiens, les acadiennes de la province en entier. Le Conseil a reçu de l'encouragement durant le mois d'octobre dernier, avec l'annonce d'un engagement des gouvernements fédérale et provincial de 18 millions de dollars pour la gestion scolaire acadienne et francophone. "Nous avons travaillé très fort pour la mise en place d'un projet visant à encourager l'excellence en éducation chez . . ." les acadiens et les acadiennes et les francophones, sur l'ensemble de la province.

Madame la présidente, j'aimerais aussi, à ce moment, offrir mes félicitations à M. Réjean Sirois, le nouveau surintendant du Conseil scolarie acadien provinciale, et à Mme. Janine Saulnier, la nouvelle directrice des finances et opérations du conseil scolaire.

J'ai grand confiance après travailler étroitement avec ce group que les membres et employés du CSAP, en collaboration avec la communauté acadienne, vont avancer ce dossier pour assurer un système d'éducation est un niveau très élevé pour nos étudiants, et nos étudiantes à travers de cette province.

Before I conclude, Madam Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of all members the introduction this June for the municipality of Argyle of the establishment of the 911 emergency number system. This is most welcome news to the constituency. No longer will citizens including myself have to jot numbers down either on the telephone or on the fridge, different numbers for the different emergency services: the fire department, the ambulance service, police and so on. Soon the only number you will have to remember is 911. This is something that I have mentioned during my visits to different fire departments in my area. Most constituents in the Municipality of Argyle I must say are in anticipation of this system being established. Again, this summer, in June it should be in place.

[Page 555]

Madam Speaker, I feel I have touched on the major issues that are facing the constituency of Argyle. At this time I would like to state once again that the Speech from the Throne demonstrates this government's commitment to the people of Nova Scotia to put the finances of this province on a sound footing, something that is very important and has been overdue, while at the same time exercising the true Liberal values of compassion and concern. I will be voting in favour of the Speech from the Throne.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. RUSSELL MACNEIL: Madam Speaker, it is a privilege at this time of the day to get up and express a few words on behalf of the constituency of Cape Breton Centre. It is probably a great advantage for us who are not on the Executive Council but occupy seats in this venerable place to listen to some of the speeches that are made, some of the questions that are asked, some of the answers that are delivered. It is quite an experience. Words are funny when one says them and one hears them. I will try to mention some of these things as I go along, because sometimes I get confused and sometimes I get very learned from some of the words.

I got kind of excited when the member for Hants West was up giving his reply. He was very excited, very animated. I think he offered some suggestions to the people of Nova Scotia, which way we should go. I am not sure I believe in all of them, but at least there was an expression of opinion. A lot of times the people who get up to express their ideas have nothing in place for the ailments that they suggest are wrong in this province. That may be that I am not listening well enough or some of our colleagues are not listening long enough, that we do not hear the affirmative suggestions of which way the province could be made a much better place.

With that in mind, Madam Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you and your cohorts in the Speaker's Chair for trying to keep us in line, because over the many months that we have been here it has sometimes been very difficult. That is because probably the exuberance of some members will try to change the atmosphere or they will use it as an opportunity for debate that sometimes is maybe not in the best interests of those who are here. But that is the system. All I can say to you is that this Chamber, I find, is democracy at its best. You can get up and relay your concerns to a House of Assembly that has been here for a very long time. What you say is recorded so that becomes a very democratic process.

Now there are some people who think that democracy is not the best form of government. We see this across the world. We have an opportunity to talk with words, we can fight with words, too, by the way. We get other people who say, we don't like words, we will go to weapons, and because of that, some people die. I would think that the majority of people probably would rather use verbal communication for that. So it is indeed a privilege that I

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have, to be able to get up and speak for the constituents of my area, and it is one that I cherish and one that I will do my best to honour.

We do great honour, Madam Speaker, to our positions through reasoned debate and an ability to confront the issues. Sometimes that gets a little more difficult. Let me try to give you an example which is a little out of whack, but I would like to try. The member for Hants West, in a resolution last week, praised the Windsor hockey team for their exceptional abilities and hoped that they would win the Nova Scotia championship. He asked for unanimous consent. I said yes. Now I said that with a great deal of duress because his team is playing the team in my community that I represent. So if he would give me the opposite honour, to say that I hope the team that they are playing this weekend will win the championship, that he won't feel too bad. (Applause) In the spirit of cooperation, I did not want to lose the unanimous consent. I said, Aye, very low, but I said it in the spirit of cooperation in the House and in the spirit of athletic abilities. I said it tongue-in-cheek, I guess.

Madam Speaker, I am not sure that I am going to have the time that I would like to do this, but Cape Breton Centre was built on coal and in the foreseeable future, it will continue to be based on coal. (Applause) Right now, we are not in the best of conditions and there are difficulties that have arisen, but I have to tell you that conditions have arisen many times before. I am not diminishing the problem that we have now. Perhaps what I am saying underestimates the case to some extent. I do know, however, that the entire community has to get together on it and we have to help those who are participating in the industry.

The reason I say this is because I feel very strongly that coal miners are a special kind of person. These men travel several miles underground to dig out the energy resource that helps to light and heat our homes. Now I am not going to pretend that I know what that is like, Madam Speaker. I am not a coal miner. I live in a coal mining community and I have an appreciation for the atmosphere in which they have to work and the trials and tribulations that they experience. Very few can have that opportunity to know what it is like so I say that they are a very special type of person. They are better qualified to know what to do than most of the people here.

We need the coal industry in Cape Breton Centre and it must survive. I want it to survive and I want it to try. Hopefully, with the people who are travelling to Ottawa to meet with the Senate committee and the special Atlantic caucus that some rationale and some things may happen that will do it. It is going to require a great giant effort of cooperation by management and labour to ensure the viability of coal.

[1:45 p.m.]

I would like to take an opportunity, too, Madam Speaker, to ask you to present or pass along my appreciation to the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova, who sits in the Chair, that I appreciate all the work that he has done for my constituency. It used to be, most if it, a lot of it, was in his constituency. So they still love him and respect him. He still does a great deal of work for them and I appreciate the assistance he has given me.

I would also like you to pass on that he is probably one of the better constituent workers that I have ever met and I learn from him all the time. He amazes me. I would also hope that some time I can catch up to him but I know that that is an impossible task.

[Page 557]

I am very pleased that the UMW has offered some solid ideas to the management of Devco that will help ensure a viable industry. I believe this can be a starting point in which management and the workers cooperate to save the industry. If they work together I am sure that it will result in a sustainable future for Cape Breton coal.

Sometimes when I mention that words mean different things to different people is that when we had the emergency debate on coal, the feeling around the Legislature and this Assembly was that we should all try to strive to work towards it and that we shouldn't make it a political issue. Sometimes when I hear things coming from across the way, I am not sure that that truthful expression that we were going to have in the emergency debate still exists. I would hate to have any industry, but particularly the one that involves myself, made into a political football. So I say that it is not a time for any political grandstanding but a chance to try to get everyone together.

I firmly believe that the Throne Speech that was so ably delivered and the upcoming budget mark a turning point in Nova Scotia Government. We are dedicated to the principle that we will not spend more than we earn. It is common sense to have this philosophical base but it has not been heeded in the past. Ordinary people, people on the street, live by this rule and I am pleased that government is finally following their example. You cannot keep going in debt, Madam Speaker, it has nothing positive anywhere, any shape or form to create opportunities for people in this province. There are some, not all, in this Chamber who continually say that I think we should spend, spend, spend, when the revenue is not there. Now, either they have a different sense of responsibility than I. But on my behalf I say that we would have to have the money coming in so that we can put it out into the best use.

Our government is presenting and setting priorities and long-term goals. I would like to take an example of that, Madam Speaker, is that prior to our coming to be the government, roads in the area which I represent could never get any paving of any kind. I think as I said last year in this House, they were wondering whether the government knew how to spell it. (Interruption) Not when they didn't know whether they knew how to spell it or not because they could never see it. But very fortunately the Minister of Transportation saw fit to put in a system of maintenance and priorities.

I am very pleased that some of the ones that have been existing for 15 years or more have been done. (Applause) So, roadwork must be assessed with regard to need and our government has gone a long way to address the needs of Cape Breton Centre. There has been a great deal of roadwork accomplished in Cape Breton Centre but, again, as everybody knows, there are still some areas that need improvement. I will be urging the Minister of Transportation to be as diligent as he has been in the past and to look at a couple in my area: MacLellan Heights, which is over 15 years; Hillview Drive, which is over 15 years; and, more importantly, the Sydney-Glace Bay highway which travels through the beautiful part of the constituency of Reserve Mines. That is a major artery and I think it has to be upgraded.

While physical infrastructure projects are important, so are the health care needs of the people in Cape Breton Centre. Home care is vital to the future of quality health care. Home Care Nova Scotia has been initially successful and the program continues to improve on an almost daily basis. Emergency care is also important, and that includes the proper equipment to handle the job. Fifty of the 150 new ambulances have been delivered and more are on their way.

[Page 558]

One that I am probably more pleased with, Madam Speaker, is that local control of health decisions will be the one that is the standard that we are going to be working towards. The decision-making process used to be handled by the bureaucracy in the Halifax area, which is the main office and, while they attempted to do their best, decisions that were rendered may not have been in the best interest of the people in my area. So we are saying that a local perspective is required.

The regional health boards are a step in the right direction. The recent decision to accommodate regional hospital facilities under one board in Cape Breton County also brings decision-making back to local control. I am very pleased that a member from the great constituency of Cape Breton Centre is on that board and that they will be looking at it.

As I said before - and I am sure the Health Minister is quite knowledgeable about what I am about to mention - the value of the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital. The hospital has a long history of community involvement. If we go back in history, we know that long before government took over, the people who worked in the coal mines built their own hospital and the feeling they have for their hospital is very strong. Our hospital is important and will have a role to play in the future of health care. I would urge the Eastern Regional Health Board and the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Board to maintain and perhaps broaden the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital's role in reformed health care.

One of the more innovative projects that has come about, Madam Speaker, has been implemented by the IWK-Grace Health Centre. There are several travelling clinics that regularly come to New Waterford: there is a paediatric neurology specialist twice a year; a paediatric orthopaedic specialist comes to New Waterford twice a year as well; and plastic specialists and paediatric respirologists come to New Waterford twice a year also. These specialists make visits to New Waterford as part of a circuit that includes areas throughout Nova Scotia. I think we should all be proud of the work they do.

Madam Speaker, I would also like to take this time to perhaps look at some of our future projects. While our community is anchored in coal, I believe we must always be on the lookout for new opportunities. Perhaps we need not look further than the traditional industries themselves. Mining, for example, is not like in the old days when the extent of a miner's equipment was a pick and a shovel. Miners today are on the leading edge of high-tech industrial production. Mining machines require constant maintenance and upgrading. I believe and I strongly advocate that the Cape Breton miner is one of the most skilled professionals in Nova Scotia. With this kind of talent, I am positive that industrial Cape Breton is a good investment.

I would like to reiterate what the member for Victoria said in his Address in Reply. I, too, wish to congratulate the construction tradespeople and the management bureau for their agreement ensuring good relations for new construction projects. Cape Breton is ideally suited for the new economy in that it has a highly skilled and adaptable workforce.

Besides that, we have an educational anchor which we call the University College of Cape Breton. The university is committed to education and community development. In fact, one of the main components of their mandate is to support the community. In a time of rising tuition, those of us living in the industrial Cape Breton area are very pleased that the university is there so that affordability to attending a top-notch university is made available to the people of Cape Breton. It offers a unique blend of academic and technology that will become the hallmark of all universities in the province. In this respect, the University College of Cape Breton is a pioneer for higher education in Canada.

[Page 559]

I am pleased to report that the University College of Cape Breton will have access to a $1 million innovation fund recently announced by our Education Minister of which I am very proud. The blend of community involvement and academic excellence will help improve our standard of living for many years to come. With all its advantages, however, the university is suffering some financial problems; it is the most underfunded and I will be urging the minister, as I have in the past, that maybe it has to be looked at in another form. So, I would urge the minister and the government to look at the possibility that underfunding should not happen to any university but particularly the one in my area.

Government action was also needed when we found the facilities were inadequate for the needs and the purposes for which it was built. Classroom and common space were at a premium. The bookstore and the student union facilities were not of an adequate size for such a large university. I am very pleased that under the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program, that $15 million in capital expansion was made available. I am pleased to relay to this House that construction is well under way.

Madam Speaker, I know that the time for the House to adjourn is coming very quickly and I would like to adjourn debate until a further day. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is that the Throne Speech debate adjourn. It is in order.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, on Monday we will sit from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. To start, after the daily routine, perhaps we will do third reading of Bill No. 1 and then we will move onto the Address in Reply to the Speech From the Throne.

I move we adjourn until 7:00 p.m. on Monday.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is in order. We stand adjourned until 7:00 o'clock on Monday.

[The House rose at 2:00 p.m.]

[Page 560]



By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas 60 years ago today, the Moose River gold mine disaster occurred, galvanizing the world's attention on the fate of three trapped goldminers; and

Whereas this historic event generated the world's first live radio news broadcast by CBC reporter, J. Frank Willis, who literally brought the world to Moose River, Nova Scotia, by his vivid and gripping reporting; and

Whereas the 60th Anniversary of the Moose River gold mine disaster will be formally commemorated this summer on July 13th in Moose River, Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recall the drama, tragedy and the human courage of many Nova Scotians that unfolded 60 years ago at the Moose River gold mine and applaud the CBC for pioneering the advent of live radio news broadcasts.