The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Fourth Session

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 1996

Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Queens Co.: Old Port Mouton Rd. - Upgrade,
Mr. J. Leefe 561
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hants West: Cove Road - Upgrade,
Mr. R. Russell 561
Summary of International Contracts, Hon. B. Boudreau 562
Supplement to the Public Accounts, Hon. B. Boudreau 562
Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report, Hon. R. Mann 562
No. 15, Anglican Church Lands (Tidnish) Act, Mr. R. Bragg 562
Res. 190, Fin. - Taxation: PST & GST Harmonization -
Cost Benefit Analysis Table, Mr. T. Donahoe 563
Res. 191, Exco - Devco Future: Ottawa Trip - Absence,
Mr. R. Chisholm 563
Res. 192, Truro: Lions Club (50th Anniv.) - Congrats.,
Hon. E. Norrie 563
Vote - Affirmative 564
Res. 193, Educ. - Week (15-21/04/96): Teachers Innovation -
Congrats., Mr. T. Donahoe 564
Res. 194, ERA - Newbridge/Newcourt: Dealings - Disclose, Mr. J. Holm 564
Res. 195, Pictou Advocate - Fire Damage: Best Wishes - Extend,
Mr. D. McInnes 565
Vote - Affirmative 565
Res. 196, Truro: Salvation Army Corps (110th Anniv.) - Congrats.,
Hon. E. Norrie 565
Vote - Affirmative 566
Res. 197, Fin. - Taxation: PST & GST Harmonization - Benefits Show,
Mr. R. Russell 566
Res. 198, Volunteer Week (21-27/04/96): Volunteers - Commend,
Mr. R. Hubbard 567
Vote - Affirmative 567
Res. 199, Educ. - Guys. Mun. H.S.: Messrs. W. Weir & M. Beaton -
Teaching Excellence Congrats., Mr. R. White 567
Vote - Affirmative 568
Res. 200, Educ. - Atl. Prov. Educ. Fdn.: Science Prog. (Elem.-French) -
Role Commend, Mr. A. Surette 568
Vote - Affirmative 568
Res. 201, ERA - IMP Plant (C.B.): Pres. (Mr. K. Rowe) -
Deadlines Drop, Mr. R. Chisholm 569
No. 1, Interprovincial Subpoena Act 569
Mr. R. MacNeil 570
Mr. B. Taylor 572
Mr. C. MacArthur 583
Mr. D. McInnes 588
Mr. J. Casey 596
Mr. B. Holland 602
Adjourned debate 603
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 16th at 2:00 p.m. 603
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Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

7:00 P.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will proceed with the daily routine.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by a number of residents of Old Port Mouton Road, west of Highway No. 103. These citizens on the West Extension of Old Port Mouton Road request that the road be repaired and upgraded to meet the needs of the residents and further they request a meeting with representatives from the Department of Transportation to address their concerns.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from property owners living on the Cove Road, that is along the Kempt Shore, who would like to see the Cove Road upgraded surface-wise. They say that, "For ten years we've had promises from the Dept. of Highways and politicians that never materialized. The school buses and local traffic travel this road. We desperately need something better than mud and dust.". I am pleased to affix my signature to this. (Interruptions) We were going to pave it when we left. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a report entitled the Summary of International Contracts pursuant to an undertaking I gave last Thursday in this House involving the Sydney Steel Corporation.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I further beg leave to table the Supplement to the Public Accounts pursuant to an undertaking I gave last week. They will be distributed momentarily.

MR. SPEAKER: The Supplement is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.




Bill No. 15 - Entitled An Act Respecting the Title to Certain Lands at Tidnish, in the County of Cumberland, Claimed by the Rector, Wardens and Vestry of Christ Church, at Amherst, in the County of Cumberland. (Mr. Ross Bragg)

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

The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Affairs.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to members of the House, I would like to introduce, in the east gallery, the 1st Bakers Settlement Scout Troop and along with them, in leadership, is John Joudrey, Ken Dicks and Dawna Wentzell. I would ask them to rise and I would ask the members of the House to give a warm greeting to this very worthwhile organization and welcome them here to the Legislative Assembly. (Applause)


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

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

Whereas today the Premier is quoted by the Canadian Press as saying that harmonization of the PST/GST, ". . . could be the most significant job creator, the most significant tax break in the history of Nova Scotia"; and

Whereas when asked to table a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed harmonization in this Legislature on April 4th, the Premier refused and said, "When we have a deal we will table it."; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are seeking tax relief and not something that proves to be another cash cow for the government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier table a cost-benefit analysis on the harmonization of the GST/PST before signing any deal that will impact on the livelihood of all Nova Scotians.

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 a delegation of concerned representatives is going to Ottawa today to fight for the future of Cape Breton coal mines; and

Whereas not a single member of the Liberal Cabinet or the Premier were willing to join the delegation or show any leadership to save coal mining jobs; and

Whereas instead, the Premier took an overseas junket to wine and dine with executives of Swedish companies;

Therefore be it resolved that this House deplores the inaction of the Liberal Cabinet and its decision to support Swedish big business instead of Nova Scotia's small people.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.


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

Whereas the Truro area is truly blessed with one of the finest and strongest Lions Clubs in the province; and

Page 564

Whereas members and friends, this year, take pride in recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Truro Lions Club; and

Whereas for 50 years, our Lions Club members have generously given time and talent to many worthwhile causes, all with the goal of assisting the people of our community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the Truro Lions Club for 50 dedicated years of service to enhance people's lives and, ultimately, the life of our community.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for 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 Department of Education and Culture proclaimed the week of April 15th to April 21st to be Education Week; and

Whereas 26 teachers from across the province will be recognized for innovation; and

Whereas many members of this House should learn from the examples of those teachers;

Therefore be it resolved that members from all sides of the House congratulate our Nova Scotia teachers for once again promoting innovation and excellence in very difficult times.

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 government's newest private partners are Terence Matthews of Newbridge and Stephen Hudson of Newcourt; and

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Whereas these new kids on the block are both featured in a Globe and Mail newspaper feature on Canada's best-paid corporate executives; and

Whereas according to the Globe, Mr. Matthews has a business fortune worth $1.6 billion and Mr. Hudson made $4.2 million in compensation in 1995;

Therefore be it resolved that the government make full disclosure of all of its dealings with Newbridge and Newcourt so that the House may ensure that the new rich kids on the block don't become richer at the expense of small, workaday Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.


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

Whereas The Pictou Advocate has served the information and community needs of the Town of Pictou and area for over 100 years; and

Whereas a fire today damaged the Advocate's historic building in downtown Pictou; and

Whereas the Advocate, despite the difficulties brought on by the fire, is still publishing without missing a beat;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House send along their best wishes and luck to The Pictou Advocate as they contend with these current difficulties.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.


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

Whereas the Salvation Army has the confidence of the people throughout the Truro area as it guides, restores and leads us through the word of God; and

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Whereas the Truro Corps of the Salvation Army are celebrating their 110th Anniversary; and

Whereas this celebration of faith, on Saturday, April 13, 1996 is indeed momentous for the Truro Corps and their congregation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend heartiest congratulations and many prayers to the Truro Corps of the Salvation Army as they move into the next decade and beyond.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for 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 licensed Motor Vehicle Dealers' Association of Nova Scotia said in a memo to the automobile dealers today, ". . . because harmonization will tax and cast a broader net, consumers may actually be paying more tax on a gross basis under harmonization than they do under the present system;" and

Whereas the Motor Vehicle Dealers' Association also said in their memo that the prospect that eastern Canada may be harmonized before the rest of the country raises some particular problems from a tax administration aspect; and

Whereas to date the Minister of Finance has refused to consult with Nova Scotians as to the impact harmonization would have on this province's economy;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance consult with Nova Scotians and show them the benefits the Premier contends such a harmonized tax would have, prior to signing any deal with the federal government that will produce an added tax burden on Nova Scotians.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

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The honourable member for Yarmouth.


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

Whereas volunteers are essential to many of the day-to-day activities of our province through service organizations or on an individual basis; and

Whereas volunteers give freely of their time to help make our province a better place to live; and

[7:15 p.m.]

Whereas April 21st to April 27th is Volunteer Recognition Week in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature applaud the contribution of volunteers throughout the province during Volunteer Week, April 21st to April 27th.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.


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

Whereas New Ways To Teach, New Ways To Learn is the theme of this year's Education Week throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Mr. Wayne Weir, a teacher from Canso High School, and Mr. Michael Beaton, a teacher at Guysborough Municipal High School, have been awarded citations for exemplifying the theme of this year's Education Week through innovative attitudes and a willingness to try new programs in their classrooms; and

Whereas Mr. Weir and Mr. Beaton are two of 26 specially selected teachers from across Nova Scotia who were chosen for making the theme, New Ways To Teach, New Ways To Learn, a reality for Nova Scotia students;

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Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Wayne Weir and Mr. Michael Beaton for excellence in teaching and honour all those throughout this province who are working diligently to provide a quality education environment for our students.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Waiver is requested.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.


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

Whereas today marks the beginning of Education Week; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Department of Education in conjunction with the Departments of Education of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island have recently announced the introduction of an elementary science school curriculum in the French language; and

Whereas this curriculum will be implemented in the French Acadian and French immersion classes in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commends the Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation for its role in developing the science program so that Acadian students can receive science education in their mother tongue.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

Page 569p>


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 employees of IMP in North Sydney are continuing their conscientious and responsible efforts to negotiate purchase of their workplace; and

Whereas successful completion of these negotiations requires the cooperation of present plant ownership; and

Whereas some members of this House, including the Speaker, have individually urged IMP to give the workers a chance to arrange financing;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join in urging IMP owner Ken Rowe to drop his unrealistic deadlines and give the workers the time they need to draw up a viable takeover plan.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Government Business.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 - Interprovincial Subpoena Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, in absence of the minister I will move third reading of Bill No. 1, the Interprovincial Subpoena Act.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 1. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Page 570

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre. I believe you have about 45 minutes left.

MR. RUSSELL MACNEIL: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to continue with my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I am not going to need the allotted time that you have suggested because there are many others who would like to participate in this democratic process. Again, I would like to wish you well and wish your cohorts well in keeping us on track. Sometimes it becomes a burden; other than that, it sometimes becomes a rule nightmare for some, but I know that you will keep us on track and I appreciate your indulgence.

When I left you last, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to emphasize for the people in the Assembly the importance of the coal industry. I had the opportunity to express as strongly as I could the need for hospital care and eventually for the success, the continuation and the addition of the educational values at the University College of Cape Breton.

I am also very pleased to have the opportunity to hear a great deal about what is happening in this province. As the honourable members get up to express their viewpoints on the Reply to the Speech from the Throne, they bring forth many interesting happenings that occur in their community. One knows that this is a beautiful province in which to live. There are a lot of exciting things happening all over this province. The expressions and the deep interest that the honourable members have within their communities is very exciting to listen to because there is such a wide diversification from the coming of Good Morning America into one of our member's constituencies as a highlight, to the excellent rivers and streams.

One of the sometimes confusing things is that everybody has the best. We have the best lobster suppers, we have the best chicken dinners and everybody is the best. One cannot get up and say that it is better because best is the best you can have. I remember the members getting up and saying they have the best lobster suppers and the member for Shelburne has already introduced the motion here saying that Shelburne is the lobster capital. Maybe the lobsters come from Shelburne to the area where they are having the best. I, too, have a problem with it because the member for Kings North said they have the best chicken dinners this side of the Atlantic and I have to tell him that I have a community in my constituency called Dominion where they have the Italian community who put on, in my interpretation, the best chicken dinners. Again, do not wait too long because they are sold out as soon as it is noticed. We all have beautiful things to remind us of what a great province we live in. Sometimes we get a little confused as to which way we should address ourselves because some people make assumptions and those assumptions sometimes cause some concern.

Again, we talk about the vision that we have for the province. I remember when the Leader of the Opposition stood up and mentioned that he has a vision that he would like to project for the province. What

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sort of disappointed me a little bit was that the vision that he suggested for the Island of Cape Breton is much different than I see it.

We all know the old adage, it is, I know what you heard, but that is not what I said. I would have to interpret that the Leader of the Opposition saw more than closed storefronts and people hanging around the streets because there is a lot more to the beautiful Island of Cape Breton than that. We make assumptions from other people that say that everybody is not doing their jobs which is sometimes based on the integrity of the MLA representing that area. I know from talking to all my colleagues and having the opportunity to talk to colleagues on the Opposition benches that they wish to represent their areas in the most diligent and honest way. Sometimes words get mixed up and the hearing of those words sometimes leads to a little emotion and sometimes we do not think of the exact words of what we said.

I want to spend just a moment on the economy of the Island of Cape Breton. For years and years the economic benefits to the island were decided by someone else. Everybody came in with the grand plan and it meant much money was spent in that direction. We all know that when the money is gone, that company is gone. I think we have started to learn that decisions on any area of this province have to be decided by the people themselves. Masters of Their Own Destiny by Dr. Moses Coady, which you, Mr. Speaker, know really well, stated this principle many years ago in the Canso area then and Dr. Jimmy Tompkins in the Reserve Mines area, which is part of my constituency.

One of the first co-op housing projects started there and is still revered and remembered because there is an excellent new credit union there. So it is the people, the local people who will make the decisions. We have an opportunity to do that in all areas of this province and, again, I have to thank the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency for introducing the bill that makes this happen; so I am very pleased with that.

Local development must be put into the hands of local decision-makers. Without a doubt, that is the one that will bring the rewards. Because of that, I am very pleased that members of the industrial area had an opportunity to meet over a year ago, to set up a Cape Breton Economic Development Authority. We were very pleased to have the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency there at the time to hear the expressions that could happen to make things happen in the area. We seem to be just a small little bit ahead on this area and I hope that it will work out satisfactorily to the benefit of all the people in the Cape Breton area.

I would say that with the new boards being established, that I would feel kind of comfortable, Mr. Speaker, that these things will help every part of this province. I would think that the introduction of the Cape Breton Economic Development Authority was an historic achievement for our area but it is only the beginning.

Mr. Speaker, as elected officials, we have to carry out our duties in such a way that can bring the most good to our province. I am sure that all members have this in mind. The path to economic prosperity for our children is recognizing the need to embrace the changes in the global economy. We must never forget our rural roots and our traditions. Our heritage, as well, will give us strength to meet the many challenges posed by our future. Her Majesty's

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Speech from the Throne marks a new era and an era marked by the proper actions of the Liberal Government. It calls upon all Nova Scotians to work for their future as they have done in the past.

Mr. Speaker, in light of our government's unshakeable belief in the people of Nova Scotia, I am pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to support the Speech from the Throne and I thank you for the opportunity to speak. (Applause)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I rise in response to the Throne Speech. I need not say that I represent the beautiful constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. That riding, as I am sure you would agree, is a very large geographical area and one in which more people travel through in the course of a year than any other constituency in all of Nova Scotia.

[7:30 p.m.]

The honourable member that was just responding to the Speech from the Throne mentioned how we all like to get up and boast how our constituency seems to be bigger and better than the others, and things of that nature. The reason that more people travel through my constituency, Mr. Speaker, as you know, is because the Halifax International Airport is situated in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley constituency, and it is an airport, I might add, that handles 1.1 million passengers on an annual basis.

The constituency stretches into eastern Halifax County and southern Colchester County, down into Lower Truro. The constituency is made up of some 63 communities. I again will boast that we have the largest number of communities of any constituency in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. We have the largest open pit gypsum mine and we do share this with our neighbours in Hants East, which is situated in Carroll's Corner, Dutch Settlement and Milford. We have to say it and we say it in that order. If you are talking to people in Hants County, they will say it is situated in Milford, Carroll's Corner and Dutch Settlement. But, nonetheless, it is an extremely large hole in the ground, but it is more than that. It generates a lot of employment. The spin-offs to the local business and merchants in the area is very substantial.

In the constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, we have the most operating sawmills, again, when compared to other constituencies. We have eight very large sawmills in the constituency. We also have, a point that the Minister of Transportation, I know, already is aware of, and that is the most kilometres of roads when compared to any other constituency.

Mr. Speaker, Lower Truro, with a population of approximately 1,000 people and Old Barns with a population of approximately 230 people, are situated at the head of the Cobequid Bay. The Cobequid Bay is rich and it is a broad expanse of dyked salt marsh that adjoins many of the districts around the Town of Truro. The Cobequid Bay area produces bumper crops of hay on an annual basis. For example, from Old Barns you can take a scenic country road to Princeport and then follow the Shubenacadie River to the Town of Stewiacke and then to Green Oaks.

Going to the other end of Truro, you can enter the great constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley via the Glooscap Trail on Route No. 2 and head towards Hilden and Brookfield, along with communities such as Middle Stewiacke, Otter Brook, Upper Stewiacke,

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Stewiacke Crossroads, Burnside, Stewarts Hill and Smithfield. Middle Stewiacke and Upper Stewiacke are, of course, situated in the beautiful Stewiacke Valley.

If any of my colleagues, who I want to commend and congratulate for, again, serving in this House, I would urge you, if you want to see one of the best hidden secrets and well-kept secrets in Nova Scotia, visit the beautiful Upper Stewiacke Valley. The scenery is breathtaking, Mr. Speaker, and, as you know, the people are very friendly. For centuries, that region of the province was a prime location for the Micmac Indians. The Micmac Indians fished the streams in the Stewiacke Valley and they hunted, of course, in what used to be the dense forest of the Stewiacke Valley.

Now, if you ever want to take a side excursion, visit the natural land bridge, accessible by foot, across private lands on Dawson Mountain, which is in Upper Stewiacke. At the base of the cliff, just to the west of the natural bridge, a small stream flows into a cave and it works its way through many feet of limestone to emerge as a bridge. Of course, when you reach the bridge, you reach the community of Burnside. Now Burnside is a small, rural upland section of Upper Stewiacke which becomes Burnside Park and they have a picnic area and waterfalls.

Another area in my constituency is the Town of Stewiacke, which has a population of approximately 1,300 people. This past year, Ross Wickwire was elected the new Mayor of Stewiacke, following the resignation of Eric Weaver. Mr. Weaver, due to a heavy workload and many commitments, decided he would step down.

Mr. Wickwire defeated Verna Gibson in a competitive race. I want to commend Mrs. Gibson for her many years of hard work on behalf of the citizens of the Town of Stewiacke because she previously had been a councillor.

I have had the opportunity to attend different meetings in the Stewiacke Town Council Chamber. These meetings concerned municipal amalgamation, policing, signage and anything that perhaps you could think of has been discussed at Stewiacke Town Council at one time or another. If it hasn't been communicated, I am sure that it will be in the future.

Stewiacke Town Council has a very unique feature on its agenda; every time they hold a council meeting there is an opportunity for people to make presentation, representation, bring about a concern. It is an open agenda. Mr. Speaker, that is what I think we have to call real, true, grass-roots government. When you can walk right in off the street and make a presentation to your elected local officials, it is very important. The people in the Town of Stewiacke really appreciate their local government for providing that very important feature.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend and certainly thank all the people in the House who serve this House so well, Mike Laffin and the Pages. I find they are always very helpful. I have to tell you, while we get spoiled at home, no doubt, by our spouses, we certainly get looked after very well while we are here in the Chamber. So we certainly have to thank our spouses or partners, whatever the situation happens to be, because without our partners, and their very supportive counsel and advice, goodness knows where we would be. So I would like to thank anybody who is even remotely affiliated with this place because I think it is important that we do identify those individuals and give them recognition.

Now back to the beautiful Town of Stewiacke, Mr. Speaker. It is located on the Stewiacke River, which is situated essentially halfway between the equator and the North Pole. Now you may hear some argument on this subject, depending upon who you are talking to. I tend to agree with the citizens of Stewiacke that they are situated right between the equator and, the North Pole. They also have a monument that actually signifies and commemorates that, so to speak.

In season the Stewiacke River offers smelt, gaspereau, shad, bass, trout and, believe it or not, even salmon; not a lot of salmon but the river does boast that salmon have, on occasion, swum up through the

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waters. The river is a popular canoeing stream. One spot I would like to mention is Caddell Rapids. Caddell Rapids is situated on a bluff overlooking the Shubenacadie River. This area attracts a large number of bald eagles. During the winter months you can find bald eagles at the Caddell Rapids. Now the birds fish for tomcod. Tomcod get trapped out on the ice pans of the river estuary. If you visit this area, there is a very distinct interpretive sign, or at least the last time I was there the sign was up.

South of Stewiacke, via the side roads, we can find our way to Coldstream. It is located between West St. Andrews and Gays River. Coldstream is the site of a former gold mining camp which dates back to 1864, certainly a very important part of history. One can also visit Wittenburg Mountain in southwestern Colchester County. Wittenburg Mountain is a hilly area southeast of Stewiacke, with hiking trails that follow an old logging road. This old logging road is ideal for family hiking, camping and cross-country skiing of course in season.

As for the Halifax County portion of my constituency, I encourage you to visit such places as Gays River, Upper and Middle Musquodoboit, Elderbank, Meaghers Grant, which, incidentally, were settled by Loyalists. Of course Loyalists have settled in the Truro area, too.

Tourism along the Eastern Shore is a gigantic revenue-generator.

The Antigonish-Eastern Shore Tourism Association, with business in my constituency, is responsible for 700 direct jobs and 400 spinoff jobs every year. The estimated tourism industry payroll for this area is $14 million direct and $9 million in spinoff.

Agriculture in various local communities allows us to share our history and pride as well as share the agriculture industry with people around us. The most recent agriculture statistics available show that there are approximately 160 farms in Halifax County that generate over $13 million in agriculture production on an annual basis. Some of these farms, Mr. Speaker, are small, but some are also very big. For example, did you realize that there are 24 farms with total gross farm receipts of nearly $0.25 million, and another 9 farms with total gross farm receipts over $0.25 million?

The agriculture industry has witnessed tremendous change in the past few years and I am very much aware of that change, Mr. Speaker, having worked on the family dairy farm for a number of years. I grew up in the small Musquodoboit Valley community of Chaswood and I am very proud of my heritage and culture and, of course, my family. Growing up on a dairy farm, you learn at a very early age what responsibility is. We used to all share in the chores and I think we all could use a little responsibility at a young age. I encourage any member of this Chamber who has not had an opportunity to visit an agriculture farm to do so because you get out and talk to the farmers and talk to the farmer's family and I think you will find that it is important and they contribute greatly to society.

I fully support the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture in their comments that, without accepting and adapting to change, the agriculture industry would not exist, and there would be no hope of competing and that it is better to be a leader in new technology than to be a follower. I also happen to believe that despite the vast technological change that we are

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facing almost on a daily basis, Nova Scotia's rural way of life must be enhanced, it must be developed for the well-being of all Nova Scotians.

Across Nova Scotia, the dairy industry, which I might add is also very big through Colchester County, especially the Colchester-end of my constituency, throughout the Old Barns and Cobequid areas, it remains the most important cash receipt with an average annual value of nearly $85 million and is followed closely by poultry and eggs at $63.8 million. The constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is widely known across the province for the exceptional number of people involved in the agriculture industry.

Mr. Speaker, you might know that there is an auction held every Thursday out in the Murrays Siding area of my constituency, which is just outside of Truro. That is a very important industry. It provides jobs and it gives farmers, from not only Nova Scotia but from different provinces in Canada and the eastern United States, an opportunity to sell some of their farm goods, be it livestock, fence posts, hay or chickens. You name it, anything that is associated with agriculture, you are most likely able to find it out in the Murrays Siding area of my constituency on any given Thursday.

There are a total of 633 dairy farms in Nova Scotia, and you only have to look at different farms throughout the constituency to see the tremendous impact that agriculture has on the constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

Recently, the unveiling of the federal budget saw the elimination of the National Dairy Subsidy; combine that with the Feed Freight Assistance Subsidy being terminated along with the Maritime Freight Rate Act in last year's federal budget, and the government has placed a substantial burden upon Nova Scotia dairy farms. The elimination of the Feed Freight Assistance Subsidy will hit livestock producers across Nova Scotia especially hard. Feed prices are expected to increase between $8,000 to $10,000 annually for hog producers and a startling $25,000 for poultry producers. You can see that the ramifications of the federal cuts are certainly going to hit the Nova Scotia agriculture industry extremely hard. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend you because I know that you have some concerns about those cuts and you so have expressed those. A dairy farmer speaking in Truro said despite funding from the feed freight assistance adjustment fund and I quote this speaker, this is only a compensation package and in the long run it will cost our industry millions of dollars.

[7:45 p.m.]

I attended a number of events and addressed a number of concerns brought to my attention in my constituency throughout 1995 and I would like to briefly tell you about some of those.

I had the good fortune of attending an organizational meeting relative to Neighbourhood Watch and the setting up of the Neighbourhood Watch in communities like St. Andrews which is near Stewiacke, Dutch Settlement which is near the community of Lantz. I have had an opportunity to discuss water problems with the residents of the Town of Stewiacke and we did receive good cooperation from all levels of governments. We believe that we have found a solution to the water woes of the residents of the Town of Stewiacke. I want to commend the Department of the Environment for responding to the concerns that were raised with them and, of course, the Department of Municipal Affairs.

Page 576

I have had an opportunity on more than one occasion to discuss transportation concerns with members of the Department of Transportation in Truro, the northern region and, of course, in Musquodoboit, Brookfield, Upper Stewiacke and so on. I have had more than one occasion to discuss crime problems in rural Halifax County and Colchester County with the Justice Minister and I feel the necessity for increased RCMP protection is very real. Seniors living in their homes in certain areas of the province feel very much captive and prisoners in their own home and that is a concern that must be addressed and it must be addressed, preferably, sooner than later.

I had the opportunity to attend the opening of the Crocket Community Park in Eastville, it was quite a nice ceremony. If one is travelling through the scenic Upper Musquodoboit Valley through to New Glasgow or vice versa from New Glasgow through to Elmsdale or down to Dutch Settlement area of the Musquodoboit Valley there is a beautiful roadside park up in the small community of Eastville. The Brookfield Fire Department celebrated their 50th Anniversary, as well as fire department banquets were held in some of our communities, such as Hilden, Salmon River, Middle Musquodoboit, Meaghers Grant and so on.

I tabled notices of motion in the Legislature concerning funding for the Truro Music Festival and I had the pleasure of tabling a resolution congratulating the Truro TSN Bearcats for winning the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League Championship and advancing to the Allan Cup. The Bearcats have now advanced to two consecutive Allan Cup Championships and they just returned last week from Saskatchewan after two losses and a tie. They did not fare too well in the round robin championship.

I attended the annual meeting of the Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre and Culture Centre in the beautiful community of Middle Musquodoboit and have addressed concerns about additions and alterations for the 1995-96 fiscal year to the Central Elementary School in Middle Musquodoboit. The beautiful community of Hilden just celebrated their centennial year and many festivities were held in that community to recognize that glorious occasion.

I have expressed considerable concern to the Minister of Community Services over the cutting of bus service to the disabled in Colchester County. I would like to address this issue just for a few moments because the Mayor of Truro recently commented on the double standard being established by the present government. The Disabled Consumer Society of Nova Scotia require $50,000 to $60,000 in funding to keep buses for the disabled in Colchester County and now we hear the member for Truro-Bible Hill contending funding for the service is now a municipal responsibility after the recent service exchange. That is an easy out because the disabled people of Colchester County do not buy into this particular theory nor do municipal officials. Our disabled people in Colchester County, for years, have been counting on that bus. They, unlike us, don't have the ability just to go to the grocery store any time they wish, but they still have to go to the grocery store. They like to go to the department stores, the library, to medical centres, for recreation and they like to get out and perhaps visit some of their relatives and friends, too. This government has cut the funding, Mr. Speaker, any way you cut it.

The municipal service exchange was supposed to be a fair and equitable process. That is what we were told. But municipal units across Nova Scotia, who have been slapped with hidden back door increases in costs by the province, do not buy such lame arguments. Can you blame the people? In the final analysis, Mr. Speaker, the will of the people will not be denied. History has proven it time and time again. It is my hope that the Savage Government, which can find additional funding for such things as a shower in the Premier's Office, increased office furniture expenses in the offices of some of the ministers (Interruption) Perhaps the Minister of Fisheries put new furniture in his office, I don't know. If they can find money, if this government can find excess funds and can access those funds for showers and golf courses and furniture, can't they find a few dollars for the disabled people in Colchester County? Surely to goodness, you are picking on the most vulnerable in our society.

It is my hope that you will show some heart and allow the disabled people of Colchester County to continue finding ways to work, continue to keep their medical appointments, allow them their recreational opportunities. Is this government so cold-hearted that you will take away the medical appointments and the

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recreational appointments from the disabled, the people who have difficulty in our society, the people who are the most vulnerable? In good conscience, I plead to the Minister of Community Services and the Minister of Municipal Affairs to reach down and have some sympathy for the disabled.

Mr. Speaker, moving along to the forestry sector, 1995 was predicted to be a record year for the harvesting of timber. Officials in the Department of Natural Resources have indicated that slightly more than 2 million cords of softwood were expected to be harvested and 0.5 million cords of hardwood. (Interruption) Well, the minister did get exported. Our caucus is being told by people in the industry that these figures are low. To ensure our forestry remains a very strong entity, our new Minister of Natural Resources must play a proactive and aggressive role in sustainable management to ensure Nova Scotia's forest industry does not disappear. The former Minister of Natural Resources was quite concerned about his image and it seemed that he spent more time on his image than he did anything else. It is my hope that the new minister will aggressively pursue a partnership that will ensure the sustained development of forestry in Nova Scotia. (Interruption)

The Minister of Fisheries should know what happened to the codfish in other jurisdictions. He should know. Approximately 20,000 direct and indirect jobs here in Nova Scotia are associated with the forest industry and it has an estimated value of $1 billion. In the beautiful constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley there are eight large sawmills. Sproule Lumber in Riversdale outside of Truro, Brookfield Lumber in the beautiful community of Brookfield, Jollimar Lumber in the community of Brookfield, Keith Blaikie Lumber in the beautiful community of Upper Stewiacke, Mactara Lumber, the largest mill in Eastern Canada in the beautiful community of Upper Musquodoboit, Taylor's Lumber is situated in the community of Middle Musquodoboit, Isenor and Sons Lumber is located in Dutch Settlement and Elmsdale, Ledwidge Lumber, which incidentally cuts stud wood and there are not too many mills in Nova Scotia that cut stud wood, they do a fine job and have been in existence for many years. Just across the line in the community of East Hants - and I thought it was worthwhile mentioning because the forestry is so prominent - is the Elmsdale Lumber operation in the community of Elmsdale.

If the new Minister of Natural Resources really wants to get acquainted and get to know what natural resources is all about, she can get lots of counselling, direction, opinion and wisdom from the very people that run some of these forest operations and some of the private woodland owners and she could even talk perhaps to some of the harvesters. So, there are lots of people out there will all kinds of advice.

I am very pleased, moving along to the Emergency Measures initiative, 911. It is now operational in Colchester County, Cumberland County and I believe, in East Hants. We all remember the very unfortunate incident that happened in Upper Stewiacke where a couple's home caught fire and they attempted to reach a volunteer fire department and got a busy

Page 578

signal time and time again. It is my sincere hope that this new 911 system will certainly alleviate concerns like that. I must say that it is great that we no longer have to worry about concerns like that.

The Opposition, including my honourable colleague, the member for Pictou West and the Critic for EMO have discussed this issue with the minister responsible. I had an opportunity to debate this issue in the Legislature back in December 1994. On that day, the then Minister of Environment was of absolutely no help with information on his government's plan to implement such a system. However, the Minister of Transportation emphatically stated on that day that a fire in rural Nova Scotia would no longer have to be a problem in terms of communication difficulties.

The minister told us of the formation of a high-tech radio network. The minister and member for Richmond assured us that upon the installation of an integrated trunk mobile radio network in the province, fire departments would only have to install a black box, a converter that they would be able to use and they could utilize the equipment they now have in conjunction with a black box. Hansard will clearly represent that. But the 911 service which is now in place does not require any fire department to install or require a black box. The service introduced is not enhanced 911 and you know, before 911 started coming on-stream, a lot of people called it nine-win-win. Nonetheless, 911 is on-stream, it is not enhanced, it is only a 911 call centre that will in turn transfer calls from RCMP telecoms to local police, fire departments and of course, local ambulance companies.

[8:00 p.m.]

A tender was let through the Department of Transportation and Public Works on an integrated mobile radio network. I certainly remember the newspaper clipping, with the Minister of Transportation and Communications telling Nova Scotians that companies from around the world were expressing interest in developing the new network. Nova Scotians remember the trip that the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of the Environment, of the day, now the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, made to Louisiana shortly after they were sworn into office to examine the big American system.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the 911 system we have today is not the same as the system that is set up in Louisiana. I will leave it up to the government to prove me wrong when I tell them again that the system we have is not an enhanced 911 system. But nonetheless, it is an improvement.

Now moving along to Transportation, Mr. Speaker - I would like to touch on different departments and I am sure you have no objection - the Speech from the Throne mentions that twinning of Highway No. 104 between Masstown and Thompson Station will proceed via a public/private partnership. The minister has heard it loud and very clear that residents in northern Nova Scotia do not want tolls. In fact the Minister of Finance, when he was recently up to Amherst to discuss his Shaping the Future initiative, was also told loud and clear that the residents in northern Nova Scotia do not want tolls, a plan, I might add, will have very severe negative repercussions on businesses across Nova Scotia. John Bragg of Oxford Frozen Foods has said that it will cost his business probably in excess of $1 million over 10 years.

AN HON. MEMBER: What does Mr. Bragg's MLA say about that?

Page 579

MR. TAYLOR: Well, Mr. Bragg's MLA has been quite silent on the issue. As for other matters relating to Transportation, I want to present a few facts as to the mean-spirited way that Transportation and Public Works operates his department. (Interruptions)

Well, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour has said that is not true. One thing that is true is that you, Mr. Minister, were invited to a meeting in Amherst and did not attend. (Interruption) Now, I want to read a release from last summer. David Dingwall isn't the only Liberal proven to be immensely greedy. Now this news release was certainly released by myself. I think we all remember when the Minister of Transportation decided to - and I will be kind to the minister here tonight - he decided to hijack $26 million from the Strategic Highway Improvement Plan. Well, public opposition - the public, municipal leaders, business leaders, the transportation industry, the taxpayers of Nova Scotia - were infuriated that the Minister of Transportation in concert with the then federal Public Works Minister, David Dingwall, had the nerve to rip away $26 million from a fund that was (Interruption) Well, the people up in northern Nova Scotia might tell you different.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, the government said we adopted new ways of hiring and we have replaced decades of patronage with open and fair procedures. It also says that this government is dedicated to the principles of fair hiring. Now I think that bears repetition; this government is dedicated to the principles of fair hiring. Mr. Speaker, I have never heard such trivial nonsense in all my life; this government is dedicated to the principles of fair hiring. Just look at the Public Utilities Board and the appointment of Heather Robertson to the comfortable lifetime position, to see the nonsense which exists when the Premier talks about fair hiring. The litany of patronage appointments by this government is about a mile high by about six miles wide. (Interruption) John Morash, there are all kinds. Who do they think they are fooling?

How about the Human Resources Committee? (Interruption) Well, who wrote the book? Who came to public office? Who formed the government back in May 1993 and campaigned on eliminating political patronage, Mr. Speaker? Do you guys remember? They also campaigned, jobs, jobs, jobs. You came to office and there were something like 52,000 unemployed and now there are 63,000 unemployed.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The debate is getting out of hand. The form of the debate is that one member addresses the Assembly, not that there is a series of catcallings back and forth. The honourable member has the floor. I invite him to continue. Other members, please, let him have the floor.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, when this government said it would do more, we did not know that it intended to create more people on the unemployment lines. Let's talk just a little bit about the Human Resources Committee of the Legislature. One day that popped out of the Premier during Question Period. It just seemed to come from nowhere. Now, if there ever has been a useless committee, that certainly happens to be one. Appointments are made by Cabinet. The Minister of Education, the Minster of Transportation and Public Works, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Premier, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Community Services know full well, as do all members on the front benches, and probably the back benches, that the Human Resources Committee is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, a rubber stamp, that has a Liberal brand on the iron.

MRS. LILA O'CONNOR: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I don't believe the honourable member has just joined the Human Resources Committee. But, if he has, he would also know that the Human Resources Committee does more than make appointments. I think it is being very disrespectful to the mandate of the committee. If he would look up the mandate of the committee, he would know what all the committee does.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has made her point.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I know that the member for Lunenburg is very sincere in her statement. I did not say all members. (Interruption) No, no flip-flop. Hear me out. What I said was that all

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members of the front benches and probably most of the back benchers. Hansard will very clearly make that distinction. So there probably is one person in this Legislature that thinks that the Human Resources Committee is something else other than a branding iron with a big L on it. She might think differently, but I certainly don't.

Mr. Speaker, let's talk a little bit about statistical evidence. This government likes to talk about what a great job it is doing. This government likes to tell us what a great job it is doing. I have some statistical evidence here that does relate to this great job that this government is doing. Employment - not unemployment, employment; it starts with an E, not a U - dropped by 6,000 since December 1995. Nova Scotia lost 3,000 full-time jobs in 1995. The number of Nova Scotians on unemployment insurance has increased. Retail sales in Nova Scotia dropped by nearly 2 per cent and the national retail sales rose by nearly 2 per cent. That is an indication that people in the retail business have in the Nova Scotia economy. Housing starts remain sluggish. Who will argue with this fact? Public sector wages and salaries have been reduced and are down, and Halifax has the second worst employment prospects for 1996, out of 40 centres surveyed. Nova Scotia will experience a decline of 5.4 per cent in total capital private and public expenditures in 1996. These statistical numbers are supported by research.

This government has created chaos respecting health care in this province. When this government came forward with the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Program, the premium time-frame ran on the fiscal-year calendar and the co-pay ran on the twelve-month calendar year; there was no consistency and it caused much confusion for the seniors in this province.

East Hants residents wanted to be aligned with the central board instead of the northern board and the province has turned down the request. The member for Hants East tabled a petition in this House - I think it was during last fall's Legislature session - and requested that the citizens of East Hants be included in the central region. Dr. Stewart, the Minister of Health, said last Tuesday that the residents' fears were unfounded. The residents in East Hants are concerned that they will have problems when they seek medical treatment but, nonetheless, this government has turned its back and has said no to the residents of East Hants in spite of a petition with over 2,000 names. While the province will not change the boundary lines, it will permit East Hants to have a representative on both the northern and the central boards.

Many people in the northern part of the province feel that the Atlantic highway consortium, who is constructing the Highway No. 104 western alignment - I neglected to mention this when I was speaking on the transportation part of my response to the Speech to the Throne - they feel that the prospect for a non-tax construction project, which is paved, as they state in the Andersen Report, is very unfair. Will people working on the project be able to work their trucks and operate their trucks with tax-free fuel? Just for one example, we certainly find that there is a profound unfairness emerging, every day more details become available respecting the Highway No. 104 western alignment. The Minister of Transportation tells us that the Highway No. 104 western alignment is made up of three different

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components: construction, finance and maintenance. The price of that project is increasing as each day goes by.

I am very pleased that in my constituency, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, a mining project is developing. A gypsum mine is being developing by Tusket Mining and Tusket Mining is subsidiary of Dexter Construction and Municipal Contracting. The member for Sackville asked a very good question and I have certainly asked that question myself. The member for Sackville-Cobequid may not realize it, but there is an over-saturation of wallboard plants in Canada. Right now, in Corner Brook, Lundrigans is having a difficult time exporting the wallboard that is being manufactured there. Domtar in Quebec, Canadian Gypsum in Quebec; there are numerous wallboard plants, but the member may not know that gypsum is used . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: In pharmaceuticals . . .

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, in pharmaceuticals, as a bonding agent, bringing the different drugs together.

[8:15 p.m.]

Gypsum is also used in toothpaste and in fertilizers. Gypsum has a lot of uses, Mr. Speaker, and I am very pleased to say that Tusket Mining is developing a gypsum mine in the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley. If they meet all municipal and provincial regulatory criteria, if they can satisfy the appetite of the different levels of government, we may see somewhere between 60 and 100 Nova Scotians go to work. I am certainly going to support the initiative. As I understand it, the raw product will be mined, will be crushed. There is certainly a fair amount of geo-technical work taking place right now and there have been deposits found. The mineable reserve is somewhere around 100 million to 130 million tons and I can't even imagine how big a pile 130 million tons of gypsum is, but it certainly is a very significant pile of gypsum.

Now some of these jobs will not perhaps be as high-tech as other industries, but nonetheless, there are a number of Nova Scotians that will be lining up and some of those Nova Scotians will be very well-educated. Already, the project manager tells me that he has well in excess of 100 applications that have been completed and no official announcement has been made relative to taking applications. But the company, Tusket Mining, does have an office set up, a communications centre and everything seems to be going along very well. As I understand it, the gypsum will be mined in the Musquodoboit Valley and will be trucked by train. The contract will go out to tender and it will be shipped from the Port of Sheet Harbour.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid wanted to know if the raw product would be leaving. I know that Tusket Mining, along with National Gypsum and Fundy Gypsum, have done a study relative to the product and whether or not wallboard plants can be established. At this time, it is just not feasible to build a wallboard plant and I would hate to think that the future of a mining development in the Musquodoboit Valley, and more specifically this initiative, would predicate on whether or not the company sets up a wallboard manufacturing plant because it is not feasible. It certainly would be nice and I agree wholeheartedly with the member for Sackville-Cobequid.

Page 582

Now some of the gypsum is of very high quality, Mr. Speaker. In fact, the project manager tells me that the gypsum is of the highest quality, not only in Nova Scotia, but it is of the highest quality in all of North America; so we are certainly hoping for the very best with that project.

I want to again express my profound disappointment that the Minister of the Environment has decided to name a Manitoba-based company, if you will, as the successful proponent relative to a tire recycling plant being established in the Province of Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has given the Resource Recovery Fund the authority to negotiate with the Manitoba-based company and this Manitoba-based company, which the minister tell us in Question Period is a Nova Scotia company, doesn't even have a phone in Nova Scotia, or if it does, it is not in their name.

They are not in any Nova Scotia MT&T directory. They don't have a new listing, they are not registered with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies and if they are really a Nova Scotia company, and truly a bonafide, legitimate Nova Scotian company, they must be by law registered under the Registration of Corporations Act. They have to be certainly registered with the Joint Stock Companies. They are not. A Nova Scotian has looked at all the elements of tire recycling, from collection, to technology, to research, to development, has done a lot of investing and has a very worthwhile project already in place and different components of the tire recycling plant are up and running.

Mr. Speaker, I implore the Minister of the Environment to go back and revisit his decision because we all know, including the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, that an inter-departmental committee reported and recommended to the Minister of the Environment that the Nova Scotia company, Atlantic Rubber Recycling, be named the successful proponent respecting a tire recycling plant in this province.

Unfortunately, the Minister of the Environment gave the mandate to the Resource Recovery Fund who subsequently hired, engaged a private consultant, Barry Alexander, to study a study. Nova Scotians are fed up with governments that hire a consultant to study a study. Too much of this is going on, especially in light of the fact that the contract didn't even go out to public tender. I will have more to say on that issue as the opportunity presents itself.

I have taken a considerable amount of time and I wonder if you would be kind enough to tell me how much time I do have left? (Interruption) Forty-five minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: No, not 45 minutes, more like seven minutes.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it is something like my anniversary which I recently celebrated - time goes by very fast when you are having fun, (Interruption) 25 years on April 3rd and am very pleased to have had the opportunity. (Interruptions) I indicated earlier that we all like to thank our partners because they do give us a lot of good advice and sometimes they just give us advice and certainly lots of counsel but I have been very fortunate in that my partner and wife has certainly stood behind me in my very brief 4 1/2 years in public office. Public office does have its demands and is very challenging. I am sure you would agree, Mr. Speaker, it can be quite exciting from time to time and at other times it is very alarming and baffling but it is always quite remarkable and it can be dynamic.

In spite of our political differences here in the House, I want to commend all members in this House for agreeing to serve because I know that most of the members of this House work extremely hard. When a lot of people are out enjoying their weekend, most members of

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this Chamber are working very hard, attending functions. Even sometimes attending a pancake supper can be very pleasant. I know my honourable colleague, the member for Pictou West who may have a few words later on likes to get out to meet and greet people and that is why he has been elected to office for several years. He probably will continue to be elected to office for as long as he decides to offer.

In closing, let me congratulate the new Leader of the Progressive Conservatives, Dr. John Hamm. Dr. Hamm is providing very steady leadership to the Progressive Conservative Caucus and we are very pleased with the direction he is taking us. I would also like to comment the former Leader of our Party, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel, Terry Donahoe. Terry certainly worked extremely hard and continues to work extremely hard. May I also commend the former member of the NDP, I shouldn't say former member. I'm sorry, the former Leader well he almost was a former member if he took the post. (Interruptions)

We all get tempted from time to time, and I am sure the Leader of the Third Party was tempted but, nonetheless, he is still with the Party. Although he is not the Interim Leader anymore, I commend John for his hard work. I certainly recognize the new Leader of the NDP and wish him well. I wish the government well, the Premier and all the staff. We are all very fortunate to have a great staff working in our caucus offices, as I am sure we would all agree that we do receive lots of support, lots of help, and we certainly have to pitch in ourselves from time to time and roll up our sleeves.

So, Mr. Speaker, in closing I thank you for the opportunity to respond to the Speech from the Throne. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness. (Applause)

MR. CHARLES MACARTHUR: Mr. Speaker, it is, indeed, with a great deal of pleasure that I reply to the Speech from the Throne. I want to bring to you and through you to all members of this House, greetings from the great constituency of Inverness, which I have the great pleasure to represent.

I want to first bring to your attention the fact that Inverness County is really a rural riding, with a long Scottish and Acadian tradition. I am sure my colleague from Antigonish may take a little exception to this but as you travel to Antigonish and through to Inverness you see a sign saying, The Highland Heart of Nova Scotia. I want to assure him that that is not the highland heart of Nova Scotia but Inverness County is.

There is also, of course, a strong Acadian presence in the provincial riding of Inverness; Cheticamp, of course, with the surrounding communities of Margaree, Point Cross, Grand Etang really have a truly remarkable history of independence and a strong sense of family community. Their Acadian heritage is a testament to the diversity which has long existed, side by side in many parts of Cape Breton Island. I think members of the rural riding similar to Inverness will agree that we have a strong sense of who we are and where we come from. There is the tradition of independence and mutual support, as my colleague from Victoria outlined when he seconded the Speech from the Throne, rural values are being rediscovered in urban towns and cities and these values are becoming the basis for community efforts.

However, life in rural communities does not always live up to the ideals. We have various social problems, like everyone else around the province. There is no escaping modern influence, both good and bad. Despite all the changes in the world and despite the growing influence of television, Inverness was able to survive largely unchanged for a good many years.

I am going to go back a little bit to the mining community of Inverness, when I grew up, when we had possibly 1,200 to 1,500 and sometimes 2,000 people working in the mining areas of Inverness County. Since that time, in the late 1940's and early 1960's, the mines have, of course, closed and Inverness has really suffered. When I say that, I have great sympathy for the people of New Waterford, Glace Bay and surrounding area when they tried to protect the mining industry. I know that over the years it has been a costly item but I assure you that if they lose the mining community in any of those particular areas then some

Page 584

government, with community effort, must replace that and not close it before something comes in and replaces the mining. I can tell this House that Inverness has suffered for a good many years, due to the close, and we have never been able to replace the jobs. In fact, for years what we really depended on was mostly the hospital and the schools and the teachers and the spinoff jobs from that certainly carried the community of Inverness for a good many years. Things have not changed drastically.

We want to do more than survive; we want to thrive and have equal access to all the opportunities found in other areas of this great province. I am pleased that the government has started its commitment to provide access to government programs and services throughout rural Nova Scotia. I want the government to follow through on this intention because it is essential if our economy is to grow. Government decisions in the past have not taken into account the lack of services available in the rural regions. Our government must remedy that long-standing situation.

[8:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things our government has accomplished or is in the progress of completing since taking office. Thanks to our counterparts at the federal and municipal levels, the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Work Program, of which Inverness received a share, has certainly bettered sewer services and provided some employment. The program injected well over $1 million into the economy of Inverness, including projects in Inverness, Cheticamp, Port Hood and Davis Drive, just outside of Port Hawkesbury. I would be remiss if I did not thank the municipal people as well as the federal government for sharing in support of all of these projects.

The Department of Economic Renewal's Community Business Loan Program has generated some activity in Inverness County. In fact, 15 loans in the amount $180,000 have been approved over the last number of months. Since the start of the program, 34 jobs were created and 55 jobs maintained and 13 new businesses have been started in Inverness. These projects are very welcome, Mr. Speaker. The ERA has also helped provide local communities with summer employment over the past couple of years, to the tune of approximately 30 jobs. These are very welcome. I am sure that I, like everyone else, would like to have a lot more, but certainly it will be a help to the students who hope to return to college or to trade school in the next year.

While these measures are really important, they do not fully address the problems of chronic unemployment in our region. The unemployment situation in the riding is truly unacceptable. Cape Bretoners have been going down the road, across Canada and the United States, throughout the century. As one historian said a couple of weeks ago on television, more people left Inverness County than are presently living there. I think the total population of Inverness County is certainly in the vicinity of 18,000 to 20,000 people. So it is an indication

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to me and to everyone in this House that things have not been rosy when people have to leave to find jobs around the world.

Unfortunately, our communities can no longer be maintained unless measures are taken to reduce this trend. While the solution must come partly from the people, we also require help from government. I am pleased that the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has provided the legal framework for the operation of a regional development authority. This will ensure that the groundwork can be laid for meaningful community economic development. We must build on our strengths and solutions to our problems, but all must not come from the government. The community has to become involved as well.

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not say that our cultural tradition of Celtic music and Celtic influence is gaining, as we all know, in international popularity. Inverness County, of course, has been blessed with all kinds of Celtic music. I would get myself in trouble if I tried to name any one them because, certainly, there is a great number, as we know. Some of the people have been making fame for Inverness County all across America, as well as other parts of Canada. I will name two or three of them, in fact, but I am sure I will get myself in trouble. The Rankins, Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Buddy MacMaster, Beaton Family have all contributed greatly to the cultural part of Inverness County.

I would hope that I have now got, to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, the people in economic development looking at a possible cultural centre for Inverness County down the road. I have asked the people. There is a survey going on now in Inverness County to see just what they want and how it can be accomplished with success. We hope that the people of Inverness County will make their contribution to this great cultural centre, which we hope will be done in the next couple of years. I look forward to that. As people will know, and people around this House know, I love Scottish music and any music. I certainly enjoy it every week of the year when I attend one or two or three dances.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you dance, Charlie?

MR. MACARTHUR: Do I dance? No, I do not. That, however, is something that I take great pride in and I look forward to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency and the federal government, along with the community, setting up this cultural centre somewhere along the western side of Cape Breton Island. We certainly need it and I think it will also provide the tourists with a great attraction and keep them in the community for a little while.

Tourism, of course, is one of the many strengths and for the most part is not really fully realized. The western side of the island has not seen the same benefits from tourism as other parts of Cape Breton. Inverness is Cape Breton Island's best kept secret. Places, I will be missing some of them but I will say a few of them, places like Port Hood, Creignish, Mabou, Orangedale, Judique, Lake Ainslie, Glencoe, you can name a number of them. When people come, Trunk 19 is not in the greatest of shape and although it is not too bad to Judique, beyond that point it is hard for trailers and they mostly go down in through Baddeck and some of them, of course, cross through Middle River and eventually wind up in the Margarees and over the Cabot Trail.

I urge the government and the tourist group to promote tourism on the western side of Cape Breton. We must also build upon our tourist infrastructure in order to entice tourism to our region. We do not want a number of big theme parks, but projects that complement our natural and traditional heritage.

Page 586

I am going to turn to something that people know and I have talked about on a number of occasions and especially in caucus, the rural roads and highways are essential if our economy is to grow. Of course, the 100-Series Highway projects are important to Nova Scotia, but they are of little value to the people in the rural areas unless they can access by good quality secondary roads.

If I was to stand here, I can stand, of course, on my participation from 1970 to 1978 as a superintendent of highways. We were in the position at the end of 1978 where we could have had a number of roads paved, but from 1978 to the present time in 1993, we did not have very much work done on the back roads, in fact none at all on some of them. Through the goodness of the Minister of Transportation last year, we had some improvements to some of the secondary roads and I could name each and every one of them. I am looking forward for the minister to provide some more money in this year so we will be able to do a few more of the roads and maybe get even a little black top. In the wintertime, it is especially important for safety reasons.

Inverness, as I said before, had its roads neglected in the past for far too long. We were ignored in favour of expedient projects by the last government. Many roads have fallen into a state of disrepair and are in need of major upgrading. As I said, the minister provided some funds last year, upgrading, and certainly the people of the community and surrounding area were very pleased with what we tried to do. We did not promise them the world, we told them we would do a little every year. I hope that would be the standard and we would be able to continue the upgrading like many other parts of the province. Of course, as I have said before, I will be asking the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to find solutions to many of these problems.

We also have to turn to health care and I, personally, was involved for many years in the health care system in Inverness. I served on the board for probably 18 years at the hospital and I know what the hospital means to the community of Inverness. We, like every other part of the province, had some major cutbacks and it certainly had an influence on the economic conditions of Inverness.

We serve a very large geographical area from Whycocomagh possibly to Cheticamp and surrounding area, including all of Lake Ainslie. I want to impress upon the Minister of Health that he would see fit that no more cuts would be taking place in the Inverness community.

I have asked him also, I hear that some of the administration is to move and it is no secret, I have asked the minister to reconsider that and not to cut back on any of the administration staff of the Inverness Consolidated Hospital. It is not a great number of jobs, probably eight or ten, but if you lose eight or ten jobs in Inverness County, again, then we are in deep trouble. Certainly, we need those jobs and I am asking the minister to please take a second look. I know it is under the eastern board. I have talked to the administrator of that board and asked him to take a look and leave those jobs within the community of Inverness. I know that it is not easy and I know that the program is probably well on its way but I wish they would take a second look at this and give us the opportunity to maintain it, due to the rural nature of our hospital, and that they would leave us alone and leave the administration alone in that particular facility.

Of course, we have a good ambulance service and also, like in every part of the province, we are very pleased with the new fleet. I think we have two new ambulances in Inverness and one in Cheticamp and that certainly is in the right direction. As I have said before, there is a long geographical area that these ambulances must travel and I think it is important that they be maintained within a rural area. As I said before, I am pleased that Inverness and Cheticamp have received new ambulances from the program. Inverness Hospital is a vital component to the health care of Inverness and it was a result of a great deal of community effort and it means a great deal to our community. It is also vital in the winter months when road conditions to Antigonish or Sydney are unpredictable because of the harsh weather. I urge the Eastern Regional Health Board to consider the hospital's importance in any future restructuring.

I wish to bring to your attention the forestry industry in Inverness County and of course, we are all grateful in Inverness County to Nova Scotia Forest Industries for their new incentives where they are

Page 587

spending $650 million to upgrade their facilities. I look forward to this and it is a great thing for the community of Inverness, especially for the southern end of the county which I represent.

The Department of Education has also made a pilot project and amalgamated at least three or four of the areas, Inverness, Antigonish, Richmond and Guysborough which makes up the new Department of Education for Inverness and area. We are looking forward to some major changes in that particular area. I also want to thank the Minister of Education for allowing schools in the riding that I represent to take part in the $3 million province-wide projects.

Fishing is also important to Inverness and I understand that the crab and lobster fishery last year had done fairly well. With the ground fishery, of course, there are a lot of people who depended on the groundfish and they certainly were devastated for a number of years but last year with the new crab industry and the changes where some of them were granted 10,000 pounds of crab, it certainly improved their status in life. I don't think it has been finalized yet but I think the same thing is going to happen this year. Some of the groundfish people will be getting at least some chance to fish some crab.

As we know, the tuna fishing in Inverness County was also very good last year. I think there were a number of tuna caught but certainly, not all the tuna people that are fishing belong to Inverness County but we certainly welcome them. They provide some facilities and they buy groceries and sometimes sleep in the motels or whatever, so they have also contributed to Inverness. In general, the season for tuna was very good last year and we look forward to this year being the same.

For a few minutes I want to touch on the farming industry. Of course, Inverness County is not the biggest farming community in the province but we have a number of beef herds and a number of dairy farms as well as others in the farming community. I am looking forward to them having a good year and I hope that things will be good.

Getting back to the fishery, aquaculture holds great promise. In fact, 60 of the 372 province-wide aquaculture sites have been approved for Inverness. This, of course, is about 16 per cent of the Nova Scotia total.

I want to talk for a minute about the fishing industry, especially on the Margaree River. As we know, the Margaree River is slated for designation as a heritage river and as the minister would know and the former minister, the Honourable Donald Downe, would know that there is some controversy about the heritage river in the Margaree. It is not the same as the Shelburne River. As I understand it, most of the land around the Shelburne River belongs to the provincial and federal government, along with Bowater Mersey Paper Company. The difference between that river and the Margaree River is that landowners around the river

Page 588

certainly have been making strong objections to the heritage status. As the minister said the other night in the late debate, certainly there will be further discussions and I would hope that everyone will agree that maybe it is the best thing for the community if the heritage river became a reality.

[8:45 p.m.]

I also must mention that there is a hatchery on the river, up near the Big Intervale, as we call it, in Margaree Centre. Certainly, the hatchery is slated. For the last 10 years, they have been threatening to close it. The same threat is there this year and I would hope that the Department of Fisheries, along with the minister, would see that that facility be maintained, because it is certainly great for the tourism industry in Inverness County when we have people from Boston, New York and from all parts of the province, come fishing salmon in that beautiful river and, certainly, it is a great boost to the community of Margaree and the surrounding area.

I also want to mention that yesterday, or the day before, someone called me and told me that the Department of Fisheries is talking about closing what we call Southwest River and not allowing people to fish gaspereau. I want to assure you that that would be a devastating blow to this community and I would hope that before anything will happen in the future, that the Department of Fisheries will visit that community and talk to the people who are involved in the fishing, because I understand that there is some talk about closing it for four days of the week. Some of them understand that, of course, the fish have to get to Lake Ainslie to spawn and there is some concern that there are not enough fish getting up to do that. But I think there could be a compromise, and the Department of Fisheries would be able to go to the community, sit down and talk to the people and come to some compromise, because some of them really depend on the gaspereau fishing for their living.

I could go on and on, Mr. Speaker, but maybe I should come to a close. I want to say that we face many challenges ahead. I am sure that we can overcome them. We do require assistance, and I believe the government is doing well under difficult pressure. I believe that our government must do as much as possible to allow private sector development in rural Nova Scotia and I must insist that we, in Inverness County, get our fair share of government spending in the next year. And, whenever possible, I am confident that they will and I, therefore, wish to lend my support and say that I will be voting for the Speech from the Throne. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to respond in this year's Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. As you know, I represent the constituency of Pictou West and I am very honoured to have that privilege. The people of Pictou West have bestowed their faith in me over five provincial general elections, spanning over 17 years. I would like to thank the citizens of Pictou West for their continued faith and trust in me.

If I may, Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk a little bit about our Leader, John Hamm, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and the member for Pictou Centre. I think I know him fairly well, particularly as his constituency is very close to mine. John Hamm is bringing a fresh new era in our Party. John Hamm was elected in 1993 and has worked hard as an MLA in the Legislature and has brought another voice and another perspective to our caucus.

[Page 589]

I want to tell you a little bit about John Hamm's leadership style. Earlier this year, John Hamm introduced a resolution inviting all Parties to put aside their partisan bickering and work for the good of Nova Scotians. Many of you, I suspect, might be skeptical. But I want to assure you that John Hamm was sincere when he introduced that resolution. Anyone who has watched him in the House can attest to that. Unfortunately, the intent of the resolution, to get on with the business for the good of Nova Scotians, lasted for about 20 minutes before the Liberal Government dropped back into its arrogant ways.

I know that all Nova Scotians can look forward to strong leadership from John Hamm, who will represent each and every one of us, small or large, with care and compassion.

Last year, during the response to the Throne Speech, I was very pleased to take the members on a tour of Pictou West and tell everyone a little bit about Pictou West, which is comprised of the Town of Pictou, River John, Caribou, Toney River, Seafoam, Abercrombie, Granton, Loch Broom, Scotsburn, Durham, Salt Springs, Mount Thom, West River, Green Hill, Lyons Brook, Alma, White Hill, Union Centre, and other communities as well. As I sat down and reflected on this year's Throne Speech, I got to thinking about that tour of Pictou West and what has happened in a short year.

The first thing I want to talk about is the proposed changes being considered, which will change the face of our lovely area forever, and the first one that is on everyone's mind in our area is the proposal to amalgamate Pictou County's six municipalities. We have every right, Mr. Speaker, to be wary of this proposal. We only have to look at what happened in Cape Breton, and read day by day to see what is happening in the new Halifax Regional Municipality, to see that amalgamation is not necessarily the answer to financial difficulties. The latest figures I have seen is that the Cape Breton amalgamation costs are running around $9.1 million: the merger process cost $3.1 million; the civic units being merged ran up a bill for $4.5 million in a last minute spree; and there were $1.5 million in transition costs.

In last Friday's paper, April 12th, the merger costs have hit the $20 million mark for the Halifax Regional Municipality. What were the costs originally estimated? The costs were originally estimated at $10 million. Mr. Speaker, those figures speak for themselves.

I know that the residents of Pictou expressed a great deal of concern about having solid information, both for and against amalgamation. They want this information so they can make an informed decision. Residents who attended the public meeting seemed to be in favour of a plebiscite instead of one vote per municipal unit, as is currently provided in legislation. Most residents feel it is too important an issue to leave up to their councillors and most municipal politicians agree. Pictou County residents want a plebiscite, and I say let's listen to the people.

Westville has a shared-services agreement with New Glasgow. Services amalgamation with New Glasgow has taken the town from a $212,000 deficit last April to more than a $150,000 surplus this year. Everyone agrees that services should be shared, where possible, and where cost savings will be effected.

KPMG Management Consulting has done a report investigating amalgamation. The municipal units included in the study were, as you know, the Municipality of the County of Pictou, Pictou, Trenton, Westville, New Glasgow and Stellarton. The report states that, "An amalgamated municipality can manage growth, infrastructure utilization and the competition for development more efficiently than six individual municipalities.".

[Page 590]

KPMG Management Consulting lists some of the implications of amalgamation: elected officials would be reduced from 49 to 15, for a $206,525 savings; one police force would serve the four municipalities with RCMP services continuing in Pictou County and the Town of Pictou. They are suggesting annual savings of $168,427 predicted after an initial infusion of $202,500. The mix of volunteer and paid firefighters would continue with the addition of a liaison officer, requiring an operations and salary budget of $130,000. Public works would be delivered by one department from three depots with 10 fewer staff for a saving of $212,000 a year.

With regard to fewer elected officials, I would like to point out what is happening in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Because there are fewer representatives, these representatives have asked for assistants to help them. These assistants need computers, offices, et cetera. By the time they finish furnishing an office for an assistant, providing a computer, telephone, fax, et cetera, the municipality may well have spent more on this type of service than what an elected official would have received.

Now, we come to the policing costs. The Department of Justice advised in February that it plans to bill the 10 towns and the province served by the RCMP an additional $700,000 for things not covered in the federal contracts. For the Town of Pictou, this means an additional $53,000. This extra expense will mean an extra 7.5 cents will be required per $100 tax assessment to cover it. These changes make municipalities served by the RCMP rather than town police forces responsible for things like administration, crime prevention officers and telecommunications. These are things that are not covered under the municipal contract with the federal government.

So I don't quite understand how KPMG came up with this figure and I would really like to hear a better explanation of their figures. There is continuous downloading by the province onto the municipalities. It doesn't matter if we all amalgamate into one big happy regional province if the province continues to move everything onto the municipal ratepayer.

Mr. Speaker, now let me tell you a little bit about the experience of municipalities that have amalgamated with the very idea mentioned before, that regionalized cities run more efficiently, they equalize rich and poor areas, they provide region-wide services and can draw up development plans to coordinate land use. A political scientist from the University of Western Ontario says, "There has never been any evidence that such amalgamations would save money.". Imagine that. Let me repeat it. "There has never been any evidence that such amalgamations would save money.". The professor goes on to say, "In fact, the evidence is to the contrary, that larger municipalities spend more money per capita than smaller municipalities. One of the big reasons is the levelling-up syndrome.". That is where rural residents who previously had fewer services in return for lower taxes naturally want full city services once their taxes go up. In addition, the larger a service gets, the more management level it needs.

Brian Crowley, President of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, has said that amalgamated municipalities lose efficiency because their components are no longer competing with each other to be the best place for people and businesses to locate. He also says that amalgamation also decreases people's ability to move around to various areas as changes occur in their lifestyles. For example, a family with school age children may wish to live in a community with the best schools and playground facilities. When the children are gone, the adults may wish to move to an area with fewer facilities, a more natural setting and lower taxes.

The Minister of Municipal Affairs has said that the status quo is not an option for Pictou. Luckily, the minister's hands are tied. Regional municipal legislation that passed last fall in this House prohibits the minister from forcing the shotgun wedding.

[9:00 p.m.]

I would now like to talk a little bit about government that is telling municipalities that it must save money. This government just spent $25,000 to send a Cabinet Minister to a conference in Switzerland and

[Page 591]

that was just the conference fee. The government pays the part-time administrator of Emergency Health Services $140,000 a year. This is the salary for a person who does not even have full attention to the job at hand in Nova Scotia. He divides his time between Nova Scotia and Hamilton, Ontario.

This government pays the members of the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission $250 a day to approve bingo licenses that were routinely approved by a clerk at the Lottery Commission. What formerly took days to finalize now sometimes takes weeks at a highly inflated cost. This government had a chance to downsize and show that they were willing to cinch in their belts, but did they do that? No.

This government just gave another deputy minister $100,000-plus to voluntarily leave his job. Do you know what this total comes to for paying off three deputy ministers? Approximately $0.25 million and that is after the government spent $2.2 million to replace eight competent deputies. So far, four of those new deputies who were hired after the purge have since had to leave and at a considerable cost to you and to me.

This government seems to have a one-track mind, to reduce the deficit and pay down the debt. They are showing the people that they are willing to bite the bullet and cinch in their belts and do with less. I say, let the above comments speak for themselves.

One area that this government promised to focus on was regional economic development. I don't believe that this has been very effective. I have been raising questions regarding the Pictou Shipyard. In the early 1990's the Pictou Shipyard had been in operation for many years. In 1990, the shipyard employed as many as 200 workers. In June 1994, their doors were closed due to a lack of business and the province did take over the yard, which I appreciated.

You will remember that last December, the Nova Scotia Business Development Corporation called for expressions of interest for the Pictou Shipyard. On January 10th in the Legislature, I asked the minister the status of that call. The minister advised me that there were 11 responses to the call and that business proposals would be called for on February 29th. Now the Legislature is again in session and two weeks ago I asked the minister, what is the status of the shipyard? He did advise me that there was a short list of proposals and negotiations are ongoing. I did find out from the minister that 11 proposals were submitted, five from Nova Scotia, three from Ontario, one each from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Alberta. I understand that most of the proposals wanted to diversify. The minister would not give me a timeframe as to when the review of the proposals would be finished but I do urge the government to make this among its priorities so that we can make good use of this shipyard and put some of our community shipyard workers back to work.

While I was pleased to note that all the bids for the shipyard were Canadian based, one must look at Trenton Works to see that we shouldn't be too narrow-minded and have tunnel vision, that we should shop further afield. Trenton Works Limited, the Pictou County rail car

[Page 592]p>

factory, had become profitable less than a year after being bought by Greenbrier Companies of Oregon, a U.S. firm. Trenton Works started making money in January 1996.

Clark Wood, the CEO, spoke to the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce recently, telling a little bit of how this turnaround was achieved. Greenbrier shut the plant down for 10 weeks for retraining and to turn the confrontational atmosphere towards an emphasis on product quality and worker safety. Wood stressed the importance of safety, quality, efficiency, diversification, innovation and growth. He also said that employees were told that they were responsible for quality and that they could approach top management with complaints or suggestions.

Trenton Works now turns out 16 or 17 cars a day, with an expected annual production of over 6,000 cars. This year, the parent company has found buyers in the United States for 3,000 Trenton rail cars, double the output of 1995. The new owners opened the U.S. market for the plant, which had sold rail cars only in Canada. This has sent employment up to 1,100 workers, up from 250 when it was taken over last March. I am very pleased to talk about the success of Trenton Works, which was one of the province's pioneer manufacturers in the late 19th Century. Trenton Works in located in Trenton. I am very pleased that quite a number of residents from Pictou West are employed at Trenton Works.

Another success story in Pictou County is, of course, Scotsburn Cooperative Services Limited, Scotsburn Dairy. I have talked about this in many of my other Speech from the Throne replies in other years. I did want to mention it a little briefly. Scotsburn has annual receipts of over $160 million in sales. It is a pretty big company. It started in 1900, 96 years ago, based on the success of its butter and its butter is still very good. There are 230 producers who ship milk to the three plants owned by Scotsburn. They do have three milk plants in operation at the present time, with a total of 465 employees. The milk and juices are sold at stores throughout the county, Truro, Dartmouth, Bridgewater, Amherst, Antigonish, Sydney and Kentville; they have sales in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and also, of course, in Newfoundland. So Scotsburn is now serving Atlantic Canada with dairy products which are very good.

However, I am concerned about this success story in light of federal Finance Minister Paul Martin's recent budget. Beginning August 1, 1997, there will be a five year phase-out of subsidies on industrialized milk. Many dairy producers are still suffering from the 1995 budget and this will reduce the subsidy income by 15 per cent a year until the year 2002. Nova Scotia dairy farmers received about $2 million annually from the support program, which was put in place in the early 1970's to help dairy producers nationwide maintain their competitiveness.

Nova Scotia has approximately 470 dairy farmers, with 24,000 dairy cattle. They produce about 160 million litres of milk. The loss of the support program will mean that the farmers will be working with about $7,000 less. In addition to that, the Feed Freight Assistance Program was removed. This added an extra cost of $17 per ton and the loss of the Atlantic freight subsidy means it will cost dairy producers an extra 17 cents per hectolitre to have the milk transported for processing.

The federal government is just chopping away in order to offset their expenditures, leaving farmers to scramble for ways to offset their losses. Where will these additional charges go? Just to one person, the consumer. I would like to know where our provincial representatives were during all these cuts. And what does the government have in mind to assist farmers over the next few years? You have to wonder just what this government is doing that is constructive, not destructive.

[Page 593]

Take for a moment the situation in our health care system. We were promised health reform. We were told that our health care dollars would be redistributed and that there would be a gradual transfer of these dollars away from hospitals and other institutions into home and community-based care. Well, the dollars have been taken out of the hospitals and the other institutions, but where have they gone? They certainly have not found their way into the home and community-based care.

The Minister of Health has said that progress is being made and that home care is being expanded. But do you know what? The home care is not now meeting the health needs of Nova Scotians. Many people have no family supports. Many are being prematurely released from hospitals, many are not receiving adequate care and many end up back in the hospital or on emergency stretchers. The other day my colleagues in the Legislature raised at least three different cases and gave examples to the Minister of Health.

What I understand is that hospitals are being stretched to the limit. Doctors are working even harder than ever. Hospitals are severely understaffed. I do want to say though, that I am for a balanced budget, but let us think about it for a minute, a balanced budget at what cost? When you cannot arrange home care for a parent or a friend, when you are waiting for months for surgery that would get you back in the life stream, a balanced budget does not have nearly the same meaning or the same urgency.

I talked a little bit about the push to amalgamate Pictou. This push to amalgamate everything from municipalities to school boards leaves Nova Scotians very vulnerable. The reason for the push to amalgamation is supposedly to save money, but will it really? I think that rural Nova Scotia contributes a tremendous amount to this province, indeed, no matter what the Minister of Finance, Bernie Boudreau, thinks, tourists come to Nova Scotia to enjoy our scenic beauty, our history, our lifestyle, our charm. Tourism will hit the billion dollar mark by the year 2000 and I have to chastise this government, yet again. During the past three years, this has been one of our greatest assets in growth industries and how does the government deal with it?

The Liberal Government has had several changes in Cabinet, but where is the emphasis placed? On a Science and Technology Secretariat. I agree, this may be important, but how can it be more important than a billion dollar industry in Nova Scotia? Just look at what happened in Louisbourg this past summer. Louisbourg hosted an incredible week of festivities to celebrate its 175th Anniversary. Over 80,000 people came from all over the world during the week of these festivities and I would like to congratulate the people of Louisbourg - it was, indeed a community affair - for their very successful anniversary celebration. I was there in the spring, while they were doing their planning and they certainly had the community all together working very hard, making plans for this celebration. It is the people of Nova Scotia who make up the communities who exemplify Nova Scotia.

[9:15 p.m.]

I would like to talk a little bit about the resolution I did the other day in the House on bus driver, Yvonne MacKenzie, who probably prevented a tragedy beyond imagination. As Mrs. MacKenzie was going down the road, a truck was coming towards her and the support post of the truck broke and the logs spewed all over the road. She certainly handled herself well, with quick thinking, and was able to get through that with only minor injuries. She certainly did an excellent job. This is only one of the many wonderful citizens of Nova Scotia.

On the issue of transportation, I cannot help but continue to stress the importance and the necessity for good repairs to our roads, for safety reasons. I was pleased to note that the provincial Department of Transportation and Public Works has issued calls for tenders to construct an underpass at the Salt Springs Interchange. The tender also calls for gravelling and grading of the Salt Springs connector from the existing Trans Canada Highway No. 104 to the new Trans Canada Highway No. 104 Interchange. These tenders closed April 3rd. I look forward to continued progress on this highway.

[Page 594]

I do understand from the minister in conversation that there will probably be a number of other calls for construction on parts of that by-pass between Salt Springs and Westville. I know a lot of people are asking questions, when will this be done? It is a big project, I believe there are either 24 overpasses, bridges, brooks that have to be put in place. It is a tremendous task. We certainly are pleased with the opening of the road from Salt Springs to Kemptown. Now it is twinned and I know many of you here drive over it. It is important to have good highways in the province. It is particularly true if one of our loved ones falls ill and we have to call an ambulance for them.

This leads me to talk about the new emergency health services that the Liberal Government has talked so highly about and which has really failed so miserably. Despite a huge increase in the amount of money put into the administration of the emergency health service, there is no noticeable improvement in ambulance services. In fact, the Sheet Harbour-Musquodoboit area ambulance service is going from advanced life support to basic life support. This is definitely a move in the wrong direction.

Nova Scotians are still confused over the government's new scheme; three-way lease agreements providing ambulances to operators. The minister maintains it is to improve equipment and standards. Why an expensive three-way leasing agreement is beyond me. Why not simply regulate the standards that have to be met?

I also understand that the government has not yet resolved the means of compensating operators, again a confusing and complicated plan that really hasn't done anything to improve services in Nova Scotia.

I would like to take a few moments to talk about the proposed GST and PST harmonization. I might point out that I suggested last year during my response that this was an area where the Finance Minister might look for harmonization. We hear governments talk about the need to reduce costs by streamlining operations and eliminating duplication. It is a worthy goal and one that would be supported by the over-extended taxpayer and by those who are often frustrated by the complexity and the confusion resulting from doing business with government.

The GST was first introduced in 1991 and businesses, particularly small businesses, strongly objected to collecting two separate sales taxes, on the grounds that it would add to their considerable paper burden and significantly increase their costs. Harmonizing the two taxes would address this concern but it would also reduce the considerable administration costs associated with collecting the two taxes. I understand that in Nova Scotia alone approximately 200 federal and provincial civil servants are employed in the tax collection field.

Harmonization would also, as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business pointed out, slow the growth of the underground economy. Every year, the federal government loses untold millions to the underground economy by Canadians looking for a way out of paying the GST. At a time when governments are slashing programs and services to

[Page 595]

balance their budgets, to reduce their debts, every effort must be made to collect every available tax dollar owed to it. However, harmonizing the two taxes must be done for the right reasons; that is, to make things simpler for business and more efficient for government, not to increase government revenues by taking a bigger tax bite or by widening the tax base on business services, which would include landscaping, architectural fees, legal fees, real estate fees and other services.

This Liberal Government has been very coy about the talks that are taking place on harmonization. They are once again saying to us: trust us. Well I don't know about you, but when I look around at what they didn't do with the federal government about Devco, the EH-101 helicopters, the closing of Cornwallis . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: How about the GST, Don?

MR. MCINNES: . . . the closing of the MV Bluenose winter service - the list goes on and on - I don't feel very confident, Mr. Speaker, about leaving these negotiations solely in their hands, especially with their track record.

Once again this government is not going to consult. They aren't even going to tell us what they are planning regarding harmonization. I am worried. Mr. Speaker, this government has rushed headlong into many things and had only one thing in mind: a balanced budget. What about compassion? What about dignity? What about caring? I can say to you, sir, honestly, that I have had more people come up to me and ask me if I understand what this government is all about. Well I can say this government is imposing all of these changes for the sake of change rather than developing and implementing replacement strategies that make sense.

This applied to municipal amalgamation, for school board amalgamation, for regional health boards, even for changing the way we recycle. When this Liberal Government was sworn in, there were 58,000 unemployed Nova Scotians. Today, almost three years later, after 30-60-90 and John Savage's promise of a revitalized economy through community economic development, there are 62,000 Nova Scotians out of work. Let's not fool ourselves. There is no easy answer to job creation. If I ever have learned anything over the years, it is that governments do not create long-term, meaningful jobs. Governments support the environment to attract and maintain jobs.

The Liberal Government has missed this point completely, continuing instead to implement policies that make our province less attractive to investments. I can think of several things right off the top of my head. The toll highway. One local businessman says the toll will cost his business an additional $100,000 per year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he mention how much that would be offset by the savings of the shorter distance?

MR. MCINNES: How many businesses are going to want to come to Nova Scotia when trucking their products to the market place may cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars they don't have to pay by setting up in New Brunswick? I have no magic solutions and I don't think anyone has. But I know that we cannot continue to put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage by increasing the cost of doing business in Nova Scotia by increasing the tax base on which GST and PST is applied, or by eliminating or charging extra for our transportation system.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be a representative for Pictou for the past 17 years and will continue to represent the concerns of my constituents to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, I will not be voting for the Speech from the Throne. Thank you. (Applause)

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

[Page 596]

MR. JOSEPH CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I am indeed pleased to be able to rise, once again, in this historic birthplace of responsible government, outside England that is. It never hurts to remind our colleagues of this fact. Maybe they will remember that when they are participating in debate during this present session.

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to pay tribute, as did His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, and some other speakers in this Chamber, to a great Canadian and Nova Scotian who passed on since we last met in this House. Mr. Speaker, I refer to a former colleague and neighbour, the honourable MLA Benoit Comeau. Benoit and I served many years together in this House. Not only did we serve together, but on many occasions, we travelled back and forth together from Digby to Halifax and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did most of the talking, of course.

Unlike myself, Benoit was not a man of many words. He did, however, care very much about his province, his country and the people he represented while serving as member of this Legislature. I am saddened to have lost a great friend and a loyal and true Nova Scotian. He represented the Acadian community with great care and respect for their ancestral roots, always reminding us of their role as founding members of our province.

I had the pleasure to be able to travel to Vienna to meet with some industrialists. We had dinner at the Imperial Hotel where The Great Waltz was filmed previous to that. We almost had a deal. We had their representatives coming over to Nova Scotia, the president, chief executive officer and so on. They were going to set up a particle board plant in my constituency of Digby.

This would have been great. It would have used a lot of our raw material. It would have given lots of labour in the whole area and we just about had it ready to go. The land was practically purchased. Options were taken on the area where the factory was to be built and, lo and behold, the United States and the United Kingdom, who were two of the market places that we would be selling to, put on a 15 per cent duty that particular week, when we were all ready to start to roll. So that fell through. But we did learn a lot. We had the chance to go down when they set up a plant in North Carolina. We were there at the cutting of the ribbon at that place and, as far as I know, it is still going.

Mr. Speaker, when I got up to speak, I just wondered, after all these many years that I have been in here, what I was going to say that was different. When I start looking over all the members here and, my heavens, you know, all of a sudden I realized there are only three of us that were here in 1970: yourself, Mr. Speaker; the honourable Minister of Justice; and myself. (Applause) So, instead of changing your speech, you keep changing the audience.

Mr. Speaker, I want to bring to the attention of all the members to the Bear River Salter Aquatics Sewage Treatment Plant. This plant is recognized worldwide as one of the most innovative sewage treatment plants in the whole world. In fact, this plant was a recipient of the prestigious Gulf of Maine Environmental Award. I extend congratulations to the people of Bear River for taking the risk to establish in this community a first-class sewage treatment plant that will, in effect, reserve the environment of the Bear River. (Applause) I would

[Page 597]

recommend that MLAs take time to visit this plant. It may not sound very exotic but it is very important - and then determine the possibilities of establishing a similar facility in their home communities. It is really working and, in fact, we even had the Korean Broadcasting Corporation with their cameras here last summer. They did a show which was shown in Korea and over many part of the eastern communities.

[9:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I have been sitting here patiently since the opening of this session a couple of weeks ago. All I have heard in this period of time is constant accusation by the Tories and the NDP about how this government has failed to create jobs since the election in 1993. Well, I am going to use my constituency as an example of how wrong they are in levelling these accusations. Really what they are doing is misleading - I shouldn't say misleading - members of this House and the people of Nova Scotia. I will take back the word misleading. In the late 1980's and early 1990's we witnessed an almost total collapse of the fisheries in western Nova Scotia, as well as all along the Canadian East Coast. At that time there were 300 fish plants in southwest Nova Scotia, both large and small. Many of these plants had to either close or reduce operations, due to lack of fish to process. Not only did the plants close but, as a result of the reduction of quotas, many of the vessels had to tie up, adding further to the number of people who were unemployed.

On top of this, the Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis closed, resulting in the loss of 1,200 jobs. The provincial government has all this to deal with, as well as an unprecedented $1 billion debt servicing cost. This was the situation we found ourselves in.

What did the government do? Did it run away and hide? No, it attacked the problem head on. The government analyzed the situation, consulted with the people and then began the process of resolving the problem by establishing the climate that would allow for job creation. This initiative by the government is helping the economy of Digby and Annapolis to once again become vibrant and healthy.

Here are some examples of what this government has done; aquaculture. As we all know, the Province of New Brunswick has a thriving aquaculture industry with annual sales exceeding $100 million per year, that is at the time when we took over the government. Nova Scotia in 1988 it was just slightly over $2 million went to production in aquaculture. This increased slightly, to $7 million worth in 1994. This represents an increase of 3.5 times in just four years. All indications are that production had increased even more in 1994 and 1996. This is clear evidence that the potential for aquaculture in this province is unlimited. With its many small bays and inlets, Nova Scotia is well poised for unprecedented growth in aquaculture.

In a recent news release the Minister of Fisheries announced decisions regarding future aquaculture development in Annapolis Basin. The minister in his release said that the long-range prospects for aquaculture in the Annapolis Basin are very promising. It is quite realistic to anticipate annual revenues in excess of $15 million per year.

Spinoff activities associated with this activity will be substantial, creating more employment in the Counties of Digby and Annapolis. Already in the Digby Basin there are four sites in operation each with four cages, each cage containing at least 15,000 salmon. Upon maturity, each salmon could easily weigh eight pounds; at $3.00 per pound the revenue would amount of $1.5 million per year. That is quite a bit of money coming into a little area like ours. That is just the beginning.

[Page 598]

These aquaculture sites have already resulted in employment of 20 people in two fish plants in Digby County. These plants would otherwise be closed, if it were not for the aquaculture sites. In addition, there are many people working at jobs that include building the pens, maintaining the sites and feeding fish. Further enhancing the economy are the thousands of dollars spent on rope, nets, feeds and other operations. In addition to the salmon fishery, Digby scallops are also being raised in Annapolis Basin, as well as along the shore in Digby County. The outlook for this fishery looks very promising, indeed. You do not have to feed them, that is one advantage, they take their sustenance from the water as it passes by.

In Digby Neck, they are looking at raising other species, including turbot, haddock and halibut, to name a few. I was just talking to the provincial Minister of Fisheries and he tells me there is one problem when they are moving halibut from one site to another by truck and tanks, they get seasick. Would you believe that? Now that is not my story, it is the Minister of Fisheries and it is a pretty sad sight, I want you to know, to see a seasick halibut (Laughter). I have been seasick a few times.

The honourable minister over here said they have to swim all the time in the basin, they only get a 30 minute reprieve; they can slow down and have a rest, but they have to swim at about 2 knots to 3 knots. He says they are like politicians, they just do not stop running, they have to keep going. If they slow down, the tide sets them up against the net and they scale themselves on the starboard side or the other side, whichever happens to be up against the net. They cannot live without scales, so they die. This can be serious.

Much of the financing to these projects is being carried out by the provincial and federal governments. (Interruption) I did not hear that, but I would like to have. (Interruption) Too bad I could not hear. I want to show you one of these hearing aids sometime, there is a hole in it as big as pinhead and all the things you people say have to go through that little hole. So for Heavens sakes, take your time talking. (Interruption) None of these six cylinder words, as the fishermen say.

I want you to all know that all the activity that I have just mentioned is taking place in my constituency in Digby-Annapolis. Added to this, are successful operations in other parts of the province, including Wentworth Valley, Eskasoni, Shelburne, Cape Breton and Argyle. Shelburne Harbour has about 30 cages, I am told. The road ahead for aquaculture has tremendous opportunities, but there will be a number of difficulties and I want to say this now before we go any further in the aquaculture business.

Norway is producing large quantities of salmon, but they are running into some serious marketing problems. Some of these problems are occurring as a result of cheap salmon being produced in Chile and being shipped to the United States and Japan. Chile has a cheaper labour cost although transportation is more expensive. Smart marketing programs can overcome these difficulties.

One way or another, I have been connected with the fishing industry all my life. Never was it easy. Competition was always brutal. The law of supply and demand kept you on your toes. Through all the years despite the setbacks, we survived because there was always fish to catch. But now that the supply of fish is cut off there is no more business. It is pretty difficult to carry on a fish business with an empty fish plant. It is something like I read in the Bible once that you have to have straw to make brick. Well, you have to have fish to run a fish plant. It is just as important.

[Page 599]

Aquaculture has now become a business similar to the chicken and turkey business. There is no limit to production as long as the feed supply is available. Over the years the poultry business has been able to survive, so I imagine the aquaculture industry will likewise be able to cope and survive. So you see, there is a tremendous potential in the aquaculture industry and this government is taking every means possible to make that potential a reality. In fact, just yesterday, out of Digby was shipped 4,612 salmon, averaging eight pounds a piece and they will probably be sold for $125,000. That only took production from one-quarter of one cage and there are 16 cages in the basin. This is after a one year cycle.

Whale watching is another industry that is being encouraged and financed to some extent by our government. This tremendously popular and successful enterprise gives employment to captains and crews of vessels. Not only does whale watching provide employment for the captains and the crews of the vessels, but it has a tremendous spin-off as a result of the amount of tourist dollars that are attracted to the area. I started this business in 1953 out of Digby. I had three boats running out of there. It was quite a lucrative business at that time but I got into other types of business and that was the end of it. The number of tourists attracted by this industry is growing every year, increasing the spin-off value gained from whale watching.

The balancing rock at Tiverton - and you all have copies of that - has been practically unknown over the centuries. It is a one mile distance from the main road in Tiverton. Many people living down there have never seen it. The balancing rock in Tiverton is another tourist attraction that brings visitors to our area and, as a result, adds more dollars to the local economy. The balancing rock is a natural occurrence in which a tremendous large rock sits on a ledge balancing itself, on edge, at an angle, as though it is going to tip over and fall into the sea. The amazing thing is, this has never fallen over. It just stays there in spite of all of the storms; in fact, it weathered the 125 mile an hour Groundhog Day storm back in the 1970's. It is about 18 to 20 feet high and sits on a base about the size of a pie plate. I don't know how big a pie plate but that is what they tell me and it is still there. It is like Stonehenge in England, but I don't think that was placed there by people of any age, it is just a natural occurrence.

I encourage all members to come down and see it, it is worth it. People are coming from the Midwest of the United States. All you have to do is go down Highway No. 217 at Digby and drive about 50 kilometres until you get to East Ferry. Then it is by ferry. I will make sure the minister has the ferry running when you arrive and he has the highways in good shape.

Both the Nova Scotia Government and ACOA contributed $50,000 each to help build a walking trail from the main highway to the balancing rock, a distance of approximately 1.6 kilometres. The project also includes a platform from which to view the rock. This just started last year and close to 20,000 visitors came there to see this rock.

Getting back to the fishery, earlier in my speech I talked about aquaculture, which is part of the fishery. I don't know whether it comes under the fishery or agriculture. Anyway, it is a mixture. I want to specifically mention the lobster fishery in my area. This past year has been the best year ever for the lobster fishery in Digby-Annapolis. I am told that in many cases, fishers were pulling up their traps two and three times a day, the same traps. They were loaded with lobsters and they had lobsters sitting on the outside just waiting to get in. I lobster fished 60 years ago in that same area and I had a license that cost 25 cents. Now, if you are lucky and you go out and buy a license from some other fisherman, you are lucky to get one for $250,000. So that is inflation if I ever heard of it.

[Page 600]p>

All I hear from the other side of the House, excluding the government members, of course, is doom and gloom. Not a word about the great accomplishments that are happening all around the province. I must say that those members are great critics, they are good at it, no doubt about that and I admire them. Man, they can get up and they can make some pretty fiery speeches. The honourable member for Kings North last week put on a real show. I admire anybody that can do that, but I think they ought to be a little more positive, tell a few of the positive things. I sat in the seat of the scornful for 15 years so I know what it is like but once in a while, just throw in something that is optimistic. Give the people a little bit of a boost. It is a shame, when this House is closed all summer, I think they ought to audition to get in the Cohn, even go on the road with that show. I have a title and a name for that show -I don't know whether they would want to use it or not - but we could call it the Royal Nova Scotia Air Farce.

[9:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that you and all members of this House are well aware that I recently underwent surgery. I want to take this opportunity to compliment the medical staff at the QE II for the excellent care I received, both before and after surgery. I would not have received better care anywhere else. All the staff members treated me with kindness and understanding. Other than the pain that followed surgery, I would have thought that I was in a first-class hotel, more or less. (Applause) I want to say that I have a lot to be thankful for. I visited my doctor last week and he said I was in darn good shape.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear! Hear!

MR. CASEY: I went to have a consultation with two of the surgeons. I walked in, they said sit down, I did, and all they said was, you be here tomorrow morning, you are going to be operated on. That was the end of it and I was there. But what made me decide to take this step in the first place, when I was at the local grocery store, about one-eighth of a mile from my home, one of the retired fishermen about my age, we started to walk home. It is only one-eighth of a mile and the wind was blowing a bit and we couldn't even keep up with each other, (Laughter) so I decided something had to be done and I did it. I wish the Minister of Health was here. I would like to thank him for all that he has done. (Interruption) Can you figure that one out? Well, you want to try it some time.

Also, the Department of Health has opened up an Alzheimer's ward on the third floor of the Digby Hospital. It was there not being used and they have brought people back from all over Nova Scotia who were in other hospitals and nursing homes and so on. I understand that this is very important, because people with Alzheimer's disease can sometimes become violent; in fact, this happened to a person I know and did great damage to the other patient. They don't realize what they are doing, but there they are, they have a whole team of nurses and specialists who have taken special courses in just how to handle these people. Now there is more space there and I would imagine they can put another eight or ten people on the third floor and I hope they do it as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for the $2.7 million in repaving projects that took place in Digby . . .


MR. CASEY: Well that is over the last 10 years, (Laughter) so probably I had better thank them on the other side. (Laughter)

[Page 601]

While I realize that his budget is limited, I call upon the minister to have his department actively pursue the completion of Highway No. 101 from Digby to St. Bernard, bringing this part of the highway up to 100-Series standards. It would provide for more safety and speedier travel from Digby to Yarmouth as well as, during the construction phase, provide employment for construction workers.

I mentioned the fishing industry, but I just want to mention a couple of plants and operators that I have great respect for; that is, D.V. Kenny down on Briar Island and Long Island, they still have around 250 workers there at the peak. They have a lot of courage. They have some fleet of their own, but they have had to bring in fish from Iceland, Alaska, Russia, and I don't think they made much money on it, but they kept that workforce going. Now, O'Neil Fisheries in Digby is another one. They are importing scallops and they are packing them. These people are just showing initiative and they should be complimented. Now there are many others doing the same thing in a smaller way, but they have the courage to do the best they can.

Also, another new industry. Two people in Digby County are growing emus. They are six-foot tall birds and they weigh 120 pounds and they are raising these. They lay an egg that is big enough to support a family of five for a whole week. What eggnogs they make too, I never thought of that, by golly. Wait until Christmas comes, there is going to be a great demand for them.

Anyway, they have to have long runways because they like to run. You have to have a landing strip like you need for a fighter plane. They are thriving, it is going to be a good business and they are putting them on the market. This is something totally new. Chuck and Elinor Van Tassel are the owners of this farm and I understand there are some others who are coming along.

I want to thank the people in Bear River and the Department of Health and all the people who have worked on this medical clinic that they have set up. They took over the Royal Bank building and it is doing a wonderful job. It is near the senior citizens' apartments so all they have to do is go down a set of steps and they are in the clinic, instead of hiring a taxi to go into town. Of course a lot of other people use it. We have volunteer help and many helpers there.

We had the Tall Ships in Digby. There were six of them and these were some of the larger ones; we had three large ones, three small ones. One of them was from the Philippines, I think. I was the pilot on them, I had a lot of fun bringing them in. But I am telling you, it could be serious there because if an August gale had taken place, which sometimes happens, it would have been pretty hard to hold those things at anchor and I don't know just what would have happened. But anyway, we got them in and out without any incidents and a lot of people enjoyed seeing them.

I will have many more things to say here but I don't think I should take up - you know something, I did a little shopping around before I went in to have this operation, with what limited time I had. They told me that in the United States the same kind of operation would cost around $30,000 or $40,000 American money. Just think of it; I went through that whole place and came out and I didn't owe a cent. (Interruptions) Isn't that great? A lot of people don't realize that.

Anyway, I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for being able to speak for this short while. I won't take too much more time, we have a lot of other people waiting. I will be back again. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect. (Applause)

MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: Mr. Speaker, the one position they always told me not to get in - and that I find myself in - is following the illustrious Mr. Joe Casey from Digby. It was a delightful speech and I only hope that I can keep the members' attention as well as you did, Joe.

[Page 602]

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to reply to the Speech from the Throne. I actually have the speech right in front of me and I am going to relate some of what was talked about in the speech. I will probably infill with a few things in regard to my constituency.

The first thing that the Lieutenant Governor spoke about was he dedicated condolences to some prominent Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker. I would like to add my condolences and say that I appreciate the service they brought to our province as well. Although I didn't know all of those people I did know a couple of them, in particular Buddy Daye, whom of course I got to know here in the Legislature. It was a great honour to have had the opportunity to know Buddy a little bit although the only time I did know him was here in the House. It would seem as if any time I was down or seemed to be worried or concerned, Buddy always seemed to know that instinctively. He would come over and relate a little story and cheer me up a little bit. I want to thank Buddy. I am sure he is with the Good Lord today, cheering up the Good Lord as well. I think that is worthy of note.

Another fellow who I didn't really know personally was Ira Settle, but I feel like I did know him because when I was on county council, I used to go out in the community and I would talk to people, they would ask me, how is Ira? They seemed to think that he was still the Warden, although it was a good many years that he had been retired. I could tell from that he was a well respected man in the County of Halifax and he must have been a well respected Warden.

One particular person that I would like to note, although there were many prominent people who passed on from my constituency this last year, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Leo Miles, in particular, who was a prominent builder. He built the Pinedale Park Subdivision. He had a building supply store called Miles Building Supplies. He had a local general store that he operated earlier, when he first started in business. He was a great man who met an untimely death, but he always had a good work ethic. If you ever had anything to do with him, or associated with him, just the way he worked showed you a good work ethic and he was a good man to follow and he was a good man. He had a kind heart and he supported the local economy, other local businesses and he was always kind to the community with donations and, certainly, we will miss Mr. Miles very much.

Of course, there are many Nova Scotians who were honoured with the Medal of Honour from the Governor General of Canada and inducted into the Order of Canada. One particular family, who I had hoped would make that list, did not receive the Order of Canada, but received commendations from the Governor General recently, was the Peddle family in Prospect Bay, who very courageously saved the life of a man. One morning Mrs. Peddle was looking out the window and saw something out in the water and she thought it was a seal. So she got the binoculars out and saw that it was actually a person who was flailing away in the water. She called her husband and her husband ran down and he and his son got in the boat

[Page 603]

and rode out. By that time, of course, the man was in severe trouble and they saved this gentleman, which was a tremendous feat, when anyone risks their own life. Anyone who has been in a circumstance like that knows what kind of courage it takes to try to save someone, Mr. Speaker. I want to give my commendations to the Peddle family and I would hope that the House would do the same. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I see the hour is moving on late, so I will adjourn the debate and, hopefully, I will have an opportunity to take it up again later.

MR. SPEAKER: Very well, the debate is adjourned.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, we will sit tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Following Question Period, we will debate Public Bills for Second Reading, beginning with Bill No. 8 and in the order they appear on the order paper.

I move we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

The House stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.

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