The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Friday, March 29, 1996

Fourth Session

FRIDAY, MARCH 29, 1996

Anl. Rept. of the Nova Scotia Pay Equity Commission, Hon. G. Brown 25
Res. 1, Health: Asthma Month (Mar. 1996) - Recognize, Hon. R. Stewart 26
Vote - Affirmative 26
No. 1, Interprovincial Subpoena Act, Hon. W. Gillis 26
No. 2, Securities Act, Hon. W. Gillis 26
No. 3, Lower River Hebert Cemetery Company Act, Hon. G. Brown 26
No. 4, Nursing Assistants Act, Mrs. F. Cosman 26
No. 5, Stella Maris Residence Dissolution Act, Hon. R. Stewart 26
No. 6, Animal Cruelty Prevention Act, Hon. W. Gaudet 26
Res. 2, Sysco - Rail Contract: Loss - Statement Make, Mr. A. MacLeod 27
Res. 3, Gov't. (N.S.) - Commitments (1993): Progress - List, Mr. J. Holm 27
Res. 4, Bluenose (75th Anniv.): Achievements - Recognize,
Mrs. L. O'Connor 28
Vote - Affirmative 28
Res. 5, Fin. - Budget Balanced: Economic Effect - Recognize, Dr. J. Hamm 29
Res. 6, Lbr. - C.B. Construction: Multi-Trades Agreement - Applaud,
Mr. R. MacNeil 29
Vote - Affirmative 30
Res. 7, Human. Res. Dev. (Canada) - CEC (Gottingen St.):
Closure Postponement - Urge, Mr. R. Chisholm 30
Vote - Affirmative 30
Res. 8, Health: Liver Disease Month (Mar. 1996) - Recognize,
Mr. William MacDonald 30
Vote - Affirmative 31
Res. 9, Halifax Fairview - By-Election: Call - Immediately, Dr. J. Hamm 31
Res. 10, Bob Chambers - Death: Sympathy - Extend, Mr. T. Donahoe 31
Vote - Affirmative 32
Res. 11, Health: Kidney Month (Mar. 1996) - Recognize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 32
Vote - Affirmative 32
Res. 12, Health - Budget Cuts: Effect - Change, Mr. G. Moody 33
Res. 13, Health - VON Staff: Protest - Congrats., Mr. R. Chisholm 33
Res. 14, Educ. - Nicola Chu (Cole Harbour DHS):
Broadcast Journalism Achievement - Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 34
Vote - Affirmative 34
Res. 15, ERA - Tourism: Sherbrooke Conference (CED) - Recognize,
Mr. R. White 34
Vote - Affirmative 35
Res. 16, Devco - Plight: Denials - Premier Apologize, Mr. A. MacLeod 35
Res. 17, Health: Epilepsy Month (Mar. 1996) - Recognize, Mr. A. Surette 36
Vote - Affirmative 36
Res. 18, Health: Nutrition Month (Mar. 1996) - Recognize, Mr. E. Rayfuse 36
Vote - Affirmative 37
Res. 19, Transport. & Pub. Works - LaHave Ferry Review :
Participants - Commend, Mrs. L. O'Connor 37
Res. 20, Health - Col. Reg. Hospital Bd.: Assistance - Respond,
Mr. B. Taylor 37
Res. 21, Environ.: Beverage Container Prog. - Alternative Implement,
Mr. J. Holm 38
Res. 22, Educ. - Guys. Co.: Sarah Mason - Contribution Recognize,
Mr. R. White 38
Vote - Affirmative 39
Res. 23, Commun. Serv. - Youth Apprehension Serv.:
Cost-Sharing Non-Compliance - Explain, Mr. T. Donahoe 39
Res. 24, Exco - Deputy Mins.: Firings - Compensation Stop, Mr. J. Leefe 39
Res. 25, Exco - Deputy Mins.: Pay Off Policy - End, Mr. G. Archibald 40
Res. 26, Fin. - Appropriation Add ($90m): Accounting - Provide,
Mr. R. Russell 40
Res. 27, Environ. - Solid Waste Recovery Scheme: Consideration - Required,
Mr. J. Leefe 41
Res. 28, Bluenose (75th Anniv.) - Success: Contribution - Recognize,
Mr. D. McInnes 41
Vote - Affirmative 42
Res. 29, Health: Cancer Awareness Month (Apr. 1996) - Recognize,
Mr. G. Moody 42
Vote - Affirmative 42
Res. 30, Premier Savage - Senate (Canada) Vacancy: Standing -
Self-Analysis Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 42
Res. 31, Health - Hants Commun. Hospital: Status - Retain, Mr. R. Russell 43
Res. 32, Commun. Serv.: Hunger Awareness Week - Recognize,
Mr. D. McInnes 43
Vote - Affirmative 44
Res. 33, Sports - CIAU Hockey: Acadia Univ. - Champions Congrats.,
Mr. G. Archibald 44
Vote - Affirmative 44
Dr. J. Hamm 45
Mr. J. Holm 51
Amendment moved 62
Mr. D. Richards 63
Mr. A. Mitchell 66
Public Accounts, Hon. B. Boudreau 70
Res. 34, Fin. - Expenditure Add.: Justice (Victims Abuse Compensation) -
Approval, Hon. B. Boudreau 71
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 1st at 7:00 p.m. 71
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Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

11:00 A.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House to order at this time and commence the daily agenda. Are there any introductions of guests before we begin? If not, we will commence the daily routine.




MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Nova Scotia Pay Equity Commission. I want to say to all members, although they are going to hand them out here, I did put one through interdepartmental mail that will go to every MLA's office.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.


[Page 26]


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

Whereas March is designated as Asthma Month, a disease which afflicts 135,000 Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the respiratory disease research and management is a key priority for the Lung Association of Nova Scotia which strives to improve the quality of life for Nova Scotians of all ages with respiratory and lung disease; and

Whereas the Lung Association provides programs and support groups for people with asthma, including Camp Treasure Chest which helps children to learn how to take responsibility for managing their asthmatic condition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes March as Asthma Month and encourages and supports the respiratory disease research patient support and education initiatives of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.


Bill No. 1 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Interprovincial Enforcement of Subpoenas. (Hon. William Gillis)

Bill No. 2 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 418 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Securities Act. (Hon. William Gillis)

Bill No. 3 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 143 of the Acts of 1924. An Act to Incorporate the Lower River Hebert Cemetery Company of Lower River Hebert in the County of Cumberland. (Hon. Guy Brown as a private member.)

Bill No. 4 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 319 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Nursing Assistants Act. (Mrs. Francene Cosman)

Bill No. 5 - Entitled an Act to Repeal Chapter 108 of the Acts of 1962, An Act to Incorporate Stella Maris Residence. (Hon. Ronald Stewart as a private member.)

Bill No. 6 - Entitled An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Animals and to Aid Animals that are in Distress. (Hon. Wayne Gaudet)

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

[Page 27]

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to all members of the House two representatives of the SPCA that are sitting in the east gallery this morning. We have Jessica Hunt, Provincial Investigator with the SPCA and we have Ann Benson, Office Manager of the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I would like to ask the House to stand and give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to guests in the gallery opposite, a Mr. Jim Lynch and residents of the City of Dartmouth who have come over here today to view the proceedings of the House. I would ask the guests to rise to be recognized in the usual way by the members. (Applause)


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition or his designate, the honourable member for Cape Breton West.


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

Whereas the loss of a $30 million Sysco rail deal would be devastating for Sysco and the Industrial Cape Breton community; and

Whereas it is essential that the Liberal Government and especially the Finance Minister and other Cape Breton Cabinet Ministers and government area MLAs immediately and aggressively defend the quality of Sysco employee's work; and

Whereas this can best be initiated by the Minister responsible for Sysco making a clear, full and definitive statement concerning this matter;

Therefore be it resolved that the Finance Minister, who is responsible for Sysco, make a clear and full statement respecting the $30 million contract when the Legislature meets on Monday, April 1, 1996.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.


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

[Page 28]

Whereas Nova Scotians have been exposed to four Liberal Throne Speeches and an assortment of Liberal election campaign promises;

Whereas in the three previous Throne Speeches and in their election material the Liberals promised many measures to attack this province's social and economic problems; and

Whereas the Throne Speech was deathly silent in reporting progress made in fulfilling promises in areas like contract compliance, program review and community economic development, to name but a few;

Therefore be it resolved that this government deliver to Nova Scotians a checklist of all commitments made during the 1993 election campaign and in its three previous Throne Speeches, indicating whether the commitment is just beginning, is well under way or is simply deep-sixed.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.


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

[11:15 a.m.]

Whereas the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and the members of the Bluenose II Preservation Trust have contributed greatly in recognizing 1996 as the 75th Anniversary of Canada's most renowned sailing vessel, the Bluenose; and

Whereas Captain Angus Walters took the helm of the newly launched Bluenose in 1921, destined to be the fastest fishing schooner, beating every challenger until her last competition in 1938; and

Whereas memories of the Bluenose are now commemorated on the dime and stamps, treasured in museums and built into the lines of her replica, Bluenose II;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly recognize the outstanding achievements of the designers, craftsmen, captain, crew members and the Town of Lunenburg, all of whom represent the soul of Canada's seafaring heritage.

Mr. Speaker, before I ask for waiver of notice you will notice that there are Bluenose II pins and brochures on your desk. We would appreciate it if you would all wear them. Thank you very much.

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

It is agreed.

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

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 29]


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

Whereas achieving a balanced budget and tackling the debt is a crucial element of any plan to spur investment and create jobs; and

Whereas while important, this government is pursuing this single-minded goal in short-sighted fashion by implementing tolls, downloading costs on the municipal taxpayer, severely eroding basic and essential services, abandoning critical transportation links with our trading partners and stifling small business by overregulation; and

Whereas despite the government's optimistic budget predictions, there are 6,000 fewer Nova Scotians working today than just two months ago and Nova Scotia's economy is expected to grow by a mere 1 per cent in 1996-97;

Therefore be it resolved that in its haste to balance the budget, this Liberal Government recognize that many of its decisions will actually negate the potential benefits of a balanced budget by chasing away prospective business and jobs, thereby impeding our long-term growth and prosperity.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.


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

Whereas the Cape Breton Building and Construction Trades Council and the Construction Management Bureau recently signed a ground breaking multi-trades agreement; and

Whereas unionized Cape Breton construction tradespeople perform some of the best construction work in the world; and

Whereas the agreement between labour and management creates a climate that supports investment and job creation in Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud the successful efforts of the Cape Breton Building and Construction Trades Council and the Construction Management Bureau that greatly enhances the reputation of management/labour relations on Cape Breton Island.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

[Page 30]

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


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 Canada Employment Centre on Gottingen Street has been working over the past number of years in partnership with the CEC/Black Community Work Group to address the specific needs of the Black community in Halifax with respect to employment issues; and

Whereas the decision to close the Gottingen Street employment centre was made without consulting the work group, thereby jeopardizing the integrity of an important partnership; and

Whereas we can only hope to find solutions to serious problems like unemployment in the Black community by working with communities in respectful, legitimate partnerships;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House urge the federal Minister of Human Resources Development to direct his local staff to postpone the closing of the Gottingen Street CEC until a joint community needs assessment can be conducted, as requested by the work group.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is there agreement in the House that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.


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

Whereas March is designated as Liver Disease Month; and

Whereas liver disease affects about 2 million Canadians, including 8,000 Nova Scotians and is the fourth leading cause of death by disease; and

Whereas the Halifax chapter of the Canadian Liver Foundation is taking part in all the national campaigns and programs, as well as its local Spring for Daisies Campaign and its educational programs, such as the Living with Disease Program;

[Page 31]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes March as Liver Disease Month and acknowledges the Halifax Chapter of the Canadian Liver Foundation for all its efforts to reduce the incidence and impact of all liver diseases.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


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

Whereas the spring session marks the second session of the House in which the people of Halifax Fairview have been denied their democratic right to elected representation; and

Whereas the Premier said on August 6, 1993, of the people of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, "the people of that riding deserve representation"; and

Whereas in announcing that by-election in this House within five days of the seat being vacated, the Premier said, "every Nova Scotian deserves the right to be represented in this House of Assembly;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier, who lost no time in calling by-elections in Pictou East and Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, for the sake of the representation of the people, do the right thing for the people of Halifax Fairview and call a by-election immediately.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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 Canada and this province lost a gentle giant among artists on Wednesday when Bob Chambers died; and

Whereas his unassuming personal manner hid a masterful drawing ability and a wry wit; and

[Page 32]

Whereas, for 40 years, Nova Scotians checked the daily Chambers cartoon to get the little man perspective on current events;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House celebrate the life, humour and memory of Bob Chambers, one of Canada's truly gifted editorial cartoonists and that through transmittal of this resolution, on behalf of all members, Mr. Speaker, convey heartfelt sympathy to Mr. Chambers' family upon his passing.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice and that the resolution be put to the House without debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.


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

Whereas March is designated as Kidney Month; and

Whereas 30,000 Nova Scotians have a kidney disease or related disorder and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre is one of the most active and successful kidney transplant centres in Canada; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada has been among the highest contributors on a per capita basis in the March fund raising drive for the past 15 years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize March as Kidney Month and acknowledge and congratulate the Nova Scotia Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada and the health care team at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

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 Kings West.

[Page 33]


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

Whereas despite the lofty promises of the Minister of Health, thousands of Nova Scotians still cannot find a doctor; and

Whereas the minister's expanded Home Care Program has fallen far short of its advanced billing as patients who are discharged early from hospital often wait weeks for care to be provided, while others are assigned the wrong type or insufficient levels of care; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are becoming alarmed at recent reports of serious problems with Nova Scotia's new, expensive EHS system, wondering what happened with the minister's claim that Nova Scotia would have the finest emergency health response system in the world;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health accept that excessive cuts to Nova Scotia's health budget and his so-called health system reforms have resulted in a deterioration of health care services and that he immediately be put back on track by abandoning his obsession with Americanized health services and get back to implementing a home-grown plan that works.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution, I would like to ask your permission to make an introduction. In the east gallery are a number of nurses from VON, who you may realize went out on strike yesterday. I would like to ask the House to recognize the following nurses: Margaret MacInnis, Patricia Leclair, Bethany Bishop, Tanya Alders, Helen Walsh, Elinor MacPhee, Joan Childs, Kelly McNamara, Jean Candy, Margie Donovan, Margaret MacDonald, Anna Cruickshank, Debbie Murray and Tina DiQuinzio. I would like to ask these nurses to stand and receive the warm welcome of members of this Legislature. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


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

Whereas Health Minister Ron Stewart indicated yesterday that Nova Scotia will file, through the federal government, a general exemption under NAFTA in order to protect health and social services against the influx of rapacious for-profit American medical companies; and

Whereas this government at the same time continues to tender out unregulated home care services, thereby forcing local not-for-profit firms such as the Victorian Order of Nurses to cut salaries and benefits to its nurses in order to compete against for-profit companies whose main concern is the bottom line, not the provision of service; and

[Page 34]

Whereas this offers Nova Scotians but a glimpse of this government's cheap labour strategy and privatization plans for health care, a policy that can only lead to poor service and declining health care service;

Therefore be it resolved this House congratulates the courageous VON staff who have said enough is enough, and now walk the picket lines to protest the attack on their wages and benefits done in the name of meeting low cost competition which brings with it poorer quality care for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.


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

Whereas Nicola Chu is a successful graduate of the journalism program offered at Cole Harbour District High School; and

Whereas Nicola produced a moving and insightful documentary on girl gangs in the United States, earning her the top student journalism award in the U.S.; and

Whereas Nicola leaves today for New York City for the American Women in Radio and Television ceremonies where she will receive the National Commendation Award in the student category for her significant film production;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Nicola Chu for her outstanding achievement in broadcast journalism and extend best wishes for a successful career.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

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 Sherbrooke Village is acknowledged as one of Nova Scotia's premier tourist attractions; and

[Page 35]

Whereas, this weekend, residents, local tourist operators and members of the Sherbrooke Village Restoration Commission will meet to explore ways to maximize the tourism and economic development potential of this area; and

Whereas this conference is being sponsored by the Guysborough County Regional Development Authority and the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency in association with the Sherbrooke Village Restoration Commission;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature recognize that local economic development truly reflects the desires and goals of local residents and extend best wishes to the planners and participants of this important one-day workshop.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.


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

Whereas two weeks ago, Devco President Joe Shannon publicly stated that the province was looking for a substantial increase in royalties from the Cape Breton Development Corporation; and

Whereas the Savage Government's ill-fated plans to jack up royalties, when the corporation is fighting for survival and thousands of jobs are on the line, clearly shows just how out of touch and insensitive this government is to the plight of the Cape Breton worker; and

Whereas despite the Premier's claims that Joe Shannon, Don Downe, Paul MacEwan and a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources were all mistaken in saying plans were in the works to get more provincial cash from the ailing corporation, Nova Scotians recognize his denial as nothing more than a weak attempt at damage control;

Therefore be it resolved that rather than issuing outlandish and ridiculous denials, the Premier come clean and apologize to the people of Cape Breton, first for his government's insensitivity toward the plight of Cape Breton's coal industry and, secondly, for being less than honest when suggesting it was never this government's intention to go after the cash-strapped corporation. (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: Waive notice.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Page 36]

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 March is designated as Epilepsy Month to increase awareness of this neurological condition which afflicts over 9,000 Nova Scotians; and

Whereas modern drug therapy allows many people with epilepsy to lead seizure-free lives yet stigma and misunderstanding often cause more harm than the seizures; and

Whereas the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia's School Education Program has reached over 9,000 Grade 5 students since its inception in 1991 and a junior high education program and a door-to-door sunflower canvassing program to raise funds for the ongoing programs of support and education will begin this year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledges the many efforts of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia to enhance the lifestyles of people with this neurological condition and encourage Nova Scotians to take steps to understand epilepsy during Epilepsy Month.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

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 Annapolis.


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

Whereas March is designated as Nutrition Month to generate widespread awareness of the importance of healthy eating; and

Whereas 66 per cent of Nova Scotians believe they do not always make healthy food choices; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Dietetic Association's key objective is to encourage good nutrition at home, at school and at the office;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes March as Nutrition Month and encourages all Nova Scotians to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

[Page 37]

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

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 Lunenburg.


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

Whereas the Department of Transportation and Communications is conducting a review of ferry services throughout the province, including the LaHave ferry; and

Whereas the Transportation Minister and district staff have indicated that no final decision will be made until public input has assisted in identifying options to address the LaHave-Riverport ferry; and

Whereas all residents are encouraged to participate in finding alternatives to ensure that a viable plan is implemented to maintain this valuable ferry service in our area;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly commend the residents of Lunenburg County and the members of the Government of Nova Scotia for their willingness to work together in determining solutions that are affordable and sustainable.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


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

Whereas the members of the Colchester Regional Hospital Board are extremely worried about the process of health reform and regionalization; and

Whereas board Chairman Gordon Crowe recently said, "Every board in the province is suffering the same feelings. As a board we haven't had any contact with the Department of Health for I don't know how long,"; and

[Page 38]

Whereas board member Rob Sandeson reflected the frustration of board members throughout the province when he said, "I don't think the Department of Health knows what it is doing.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health acknowledge that while he had a vision, he had no plan and that he immediately respond to the urgent call for assistance from hospital board members, health care professionals and the public who see the minister's bold vision of health reform crumbling into a chaotic mess.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.


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

Whereas the government's beverage container program is a regressive tax grab that will weigh most heavily on seniors, low income people and others without easy access to transportation; and

Whereas the environmental benefits of the beverage container plan are dubious at best and they jeopardize existing curbside recycling programs; and

Whereas the government may now be forced to spend more taxpayers' money defending this ill-conceived scheme in the courts;

Therefore be it resolved that the government consign this plan to the blue box and instead implement the environmentally-superior refillable system recommended in 1994 by its own consultants.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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 Sarah Mason Wilson has been an educator for 30 years and an active member in her community; and

Whereas she will be recognized this weekend by residents of Country Harbour, Guysborough County; and

Whereas Sarah Wilson has made an outstanding contribution to generations of students in Country Harbour throughout her professional teaching life of 29 years with the Guysborough County District School Board and one year with the Country Harbour Private School. Sarah Wilson has also chronicled the history and culture of this beautiful and rich area of Nova Scotia;

[Page 39]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly join the residents of Guysborough County in paying tribute to the lifelong professional and personal commitment to Country Harbour, Guysborough County and to the Province of Nova Scotia made by Sarah Mason Wilson.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

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 in the run-up to the 1993 election the Liberals said, "It was a matter of principle" that the provincial government comply with the terms of any cost-sharing agreements with the municipalities regarding apprehension services for troubled youth; and

Whereas what was once a matter of principle to the Liberal Party is now a matter for the courts for this Liberal Government; and

Whereas this is just another example of how the Liberal Government carelessly casts off its pre-election principles as they see fit;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services explain to this House and to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, and to the four municipalities betrayed by his government, why the province is prepared to spend tax dollars to fight an action in court that his Party once supported as "a matter of principle.".

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.


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

Whereas the Liberal Government spent $2.2 million to fire "competent" deputy ministers and to hire deputies of their own choosing; and

Whereas less than two years later three of the deputy ministers have been fired at a cost of $250,000; and

[Page 40]

Whereas the Liberal boasts of sound fiscal management and effective government reform are hardly borne out in the record of this government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government stop dipping its hand into the taxpayers' pockets to cover up mishaps and miscues of the government's own making.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.


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

Whereas ordinary Nova Scotians who quit their jobs receive no compensation and no unemployment insurance; and

Whereas the same policy applies to ordinary civil servants and government employees; and

Whereas when deputy ministers hired by this cash-strapped Liberal Government resign they are handsomely rewarded with taxpayers' money for voluntarily leaving their jobs;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government end its hypocritical policy of pay-offs to the privileged but pink slips for everybody else.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.


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

Whereas the Liberal Party's 1993 Policy Paper on Accountability and Accessibility in Government said a Liberal Government will, through amending the Provincial Finance Act, require the Public Accounts Committee to review all additional appropriations before they are approved by the Governor in Council; and

Whereas the Finance Minister's Shaping the Future document released on February 7th, said, "In the past, too many financial decisions were taken outside the open budgetary process, through additional spending approved by Cabinet alone."; and

Whereas early this week, on the recommendation of the Minister of Finance, Cabinet approved an additional appropriation of $90 million;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance explain to this House why he abandoned a commitment made to the Nova Scotia public, not once but twice, and that he provide a detailed accounting of the purpose for which Cabinet approved an additional $90 million without the approval of the Legislature.

[Page 41]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.


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

Whereas the Liberal Government has created an ill-conceived, ill-planned solid waste recovery scheme which is to be in effect in only two days; and

Whereas it is clear the implementation of the program to divert materials from landfills is not at all well thought out, fair, nor is it proceeding in a timely fashion; and

Whereas poorly thought out implementation will undoubtedly lead to even more confusion and a real cost to consumers and to retailers, both large and small;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be admonished for its penchant for announcing regulatory regimes and proceeding towards implementation without giving even the most modest consideration to creating a well thought out delivery process.

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 March 26, 1996, marked the 75th Anniversary of the launching of the original Bluenose; and

Whereas the Bluenose earned a well-deserved international reputation for racing and fishing excellence; and

Whereas the Bluenose continues to be one of Nova Scotia's and Canada's most identified international symbols;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly unanimously and proudly recognize the original Bluenose and those individuals, notably from Lunenburg County, who contributed to her remarkable success.

I would ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 42]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.


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

Whereas it is estimated that 130,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer this year and that another 61,800 Canadians will lose their battle; and

Whereas almost every Nova Scotian has been touched either directly or indirectly by this disease which indiscriminately claims men and women, young and old, rich and poor and people of all races, colours and creeds; and

Whereas with early detection, early treatment, cancer can be beaten;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize and support April as Cancer Awareness Month and that we acknowledge and thank the thousands of Nova Scotians who volunteer their time and energy in an effort to beat this deadly disease.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice on this motion.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


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

Whereas the Premier said, and I quote, I can assure you there are lots of people lined up for that seat and I don't figure very highly on anybody's assessment; and

Whereas thousands of Nova Scotians are in wholehearted agreement with the Premier's self-assessment; and

Whereas the Premier doesn't very often get it right;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Premier on his insightful analysis of just where he stands in the eyes of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 43]

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.


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

Whereas Nova Scotians concerned about the future of our health care system are hoping the Ministers of Health and Finance recognize the devastation their health care cuts have had to date; and

Whereas the Hants Community Hospital has already been hard hit by this government's budget cuts, losing over $2 million in funding over the last two years; and

Whereas the people of Hants are becoming increasingly concerned about reports the Hants Community Hospital will be completely shut down by this government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health immediately abandon any plans to close or further downsize the Hants Community Hospital and that he recognize that access to basic health care services is the right of every Nova Scotian.

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 hunger happens in too many homes where one out of five children live in families using food banks; and

Whereas 44 per cent of food bank clients go a day or longer without food to make sure their children will eat; and

Whereas local food banks need over 100,000 pounds of food every month to meet the needs of their community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize that during this Hunger Awareness Week and throughout the year, that hunger is everyone's concern and that we must do everything possible to support food banks in their work to prevent child hunger.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

It is agreed.

[Page 44]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.


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

[11:45 p.m.]

Whereas Acadia University in Wolfville is known across Canada for its strength in university athletics, whether it be football, basketball or hockey; and

Whereas the pinnacle of the CIAU hockey supremacy is the national championship title; and

Whereas for the second time in four years, the Acadia Axemen of Wolfville captured the CIAU National Hockey Championship on March 10th, with an exciting 3 to 2 win over the University of Waterloo;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature congratulate the Acadia University Hockey Axemen, co-coaches, Mark Hanneman and Mike Alcoe, and the Athletic Director for Acadia, Don Wells, for their dedication, sportsmanship and athletic skills in winning the 1995-96 CIAU National Collegiate Hockey Championship.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.



MR. SPEAKER: 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.

[Page 45]

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to continue my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. Yesterday, I spoke of the concerns Nova Scotians have about the uncertainty of the future and the inability of this government to move forward with a clear plan in place. From the time the government was elected, it started to dismantle institutions in health and education. The problems brought on by this wholesale demolition are a direct result of the government failing to provide a clear plan for implementation of its objectives.

This government spoke during the election of jobs, jobs, jobs and still talks about jobs today. But the Premier seems confused about the hundreds of jobs that this government lays claim to. One day, 31,000, the next day it is 18,000, but no mention of job losses in February and in March; no mention of the loss 3,000 of full-time jobs from January of 1995 to January of 1996.

No mention, Mr. Speaker, is made of the fact that Nova Scotians are today making less in average weekly earnings. In fact, between January 1995 and January 1996, only Nova Scotia and Newfoundland experienced this decline in weekly earnings for workers. Yesterday, this government cited their job creation came from companies like Michelin, SHL, and Efamol, all companies brought to this province by former Progressive Conservative administrations.

This government spoke of investing in education and improving the performance of Nova Scotia's students. This government spoke of a health care delivery system that would be superior to any in Canada and to achieve those objectives, the government tore down what was in place to start all over again. The problem was, it did not really look at what was working well before it tore it down.

Now, no one would argue that there is always room for improvement, but to throw out the baby with the bath water was foolhardy. Most would agree that when a system needs reform, the smart thing to do is to take the best things within that system and build on it. But this government simply dismissed all from the past out of hand.

I wish to cite just a few examples. This government determined that every part of the health care system was in need of reform. I certainly do not think it was an accident that this government buried health care reform at the tail-end of the Speech from the Throne. The Liberal Government began its approach to health care reform on the premise that the system needed to be decentralized and more community based. Home care to replace hospital care is the order of the day. So the Liberal Government closed hospitals, closed beds, laid off health care workers, but did all this before adequate home care and other community-based services were in place.

Mr. Speaker, there are Nova Scotians today being sent home from hospital long before they are fully recovered and without provision for home care. There are others requiring home care services who call the Department of Health and are told that none are available. I heard of one woman recently who called and was told there was nothing available in her area but the department would seek permission to access home care from the adjacent area. That woman is still waiting for her care.

This government, in its attempts to decentralize health care, established four regional boards, but these boards have received no direction, no policy and no plan from the Department of Health and are left entirely to their own devices. Now you don't have to take my word for that. Listen to what the heads of the hospital boards are saying. Mr. Gordon Crowe of the Colchester Regional Hospital Board says, "As a board we haven't had any contact with the Department of Health for I don't know how long.". He went on to say, "I don't think the Department of Health knows what it is doing.". Mr. Speaker, I have a document I would like to table confirming those statements.

[Page 46]

Now those comments are echoed throughout the province. Yesterday, the Cape Breton regional council called on the Minister of Health to meet with them, to address the crisis in home care and, at the same time, passed a resolution asking for health care cuts to stop until alternatives are up and running.

So, Mr. Speaker, the critique is not only coming from the Opposition benches. We now have in this province four separate entities setting priorities, identifying core services, developing budgets and policies. And what will this lead to? It leads to the inevitable conclusion that if you live in one area of this province you will receive different services, different levels of care, than if you live in another area of this good province. Instead of streamlining the Department of Health, this government has created four new bureaucracies, four mini Departments of Health with four different mandates. More bureaucracy, more confusion, more money to administration, and less money to care. I would hope that the Minister of Finance would have some words with the Minister of Health about this waste of the money that is being provided to the department for care.

Cabinet documents this week really tell the tale of where this government is headed when it comes to providing health care to Nova Scotians. Those documents indicate that the Liberal Government has approved an additional appropriation of almost $1 million to bolster the administration of the Department of Health. Never before in the history of this province have so many dollars gone into hiring highly paid administrative staff, public relations staff, consultants and senior advisors. Just this week, we have learned that a part-time Commissioner of Emergency Services is paid $140,000 a year for nine months of work for the Department of Health. Mr. Speaker, that is over $15,000 a month. How does the Minister of Health justify this in light of front-line staff cuts at hospitals, the continued departure of doctors, and the lack of resources for home care which is evidenced by the VON taking strike action yesterday?

Recently I spoke with one of the few doctors left in the Yarmouth area. This doctor told me that women who are 20 weeks into pregnancy are arriving at the local hospital looking for prenatal care. While this doctor is seeing those women and seeing them through their pregnancies and childbirth, she cannot provide care after that. In fact, it is doubtful that this doctor will be able to handle any more patients in the near future. She is simply being overloaded.

The health care reforms imposed by this Liberal Government have left this province with a health care system deteriorating as I speak. The government has bankrupted care for patients while richly rewarding friends in high places. (Interruptions)

Now I seem to have captured the attention of the Minister of Education. In education the government has done much the same; it has created seven monster boards from the 22 that existed, a move that will cost the taxpayer more money while providing them with less accountability and greater distance from the decision-making. Despite the commitments of

[Page 47]

the Minister of Education, there are far fewer dollars going to students in the classroom. Students requiring resource or any type of service beyond the basics are on the losing end and are destined not to succeed.

What is to come of the future for these children? Not too long ago, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to visit the Harbour View Elementary School in Dartmouth. This is an inner city school where the impact of child poverty comes into sharp focus. The teachers of that school have set up a breakfast program that provides nourishment to 50 and sometimes more students every day, to ensure that those students go into the classroom properly nourished. With their scant resources, these volunteers and teachers, the school has managed to help individual students with special needs; like one little girl who needed glasses and would not have gotten them without the aid of the school. They also used some of their resources to buy a few loaves of bread and peanut butter so some of these children, in fact, will have lunch.

Now beyond hunger, Mr. Speaker, these children have other needs; they need the support of social workers and, in some cases, psychologists, but those services are now available to this school only on an emergency basis. This means that the principal of this school often goes to the homes herself, to the homes of these children, to assist in whatever way she can. The same principal told me that if anyone believes that poverty in Nova Scotia does not exist, they should come with her to some of the homes where these children struggle to survive.

This student population is at grave risk but the resources that the staff at Harbour View scrape together, may well be lost when the school is swallowed up into a 57,000 student board.

Now the Minister of Education likes to make ethereal statements of pedagogical vision. The reality on the ground bears little resemblance to the minister's pronouncements. This government's reforms to the community college system still leave large segments of students out of the loop of opportunity. I speak here of these individuals who drop out of high school at Grade 10 or Grade 11 because they do not fit into the academic mainstream. Where do they now turn for training and apprenticeship and a future? Reform in education must include a solution for these young Nova Scotians.

A university education, so essential as we approach the new millennium becomes more out of reach each year in Nova Scotia. Despite the government's claims of unprecedented partnership with universities, a further cut of 7 per cent to university funding and changes in the Student Loan Program may well mean the end of educational aspirations for many Nova Scotians.

[12:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, there was no mention of municipal reform in the Speech from the Throne and no wonder. This government has undermined municipal governments in this province at every turn with downloading, forced amalgamation with higher taxes and the government doesn't seem to recognize there is only one taxpayer and that taxpayer is at the limit. The government now toys with the idea of eliminating the PST exemption to municipalities. The cost of amalgamation in Cape Breton tripled during the process. The metro amalgamation costs grow by the day and are now estimated perhaps a whopping $20 million. Now, neither of these experiences has taught this government anything about laying out a careful plan, studying it, and consulting with Nova Scotians before proceeding. It seems to be, still, full speed ahead.

Once again, another forgotten Liberal promise is brought to mind. It was brought to mind when I heard the Speech from the Throne. The promise is, eventually Nova Scotia will have a one-tier system of social services. This promise was made during and after the election and still we are all waiting. In fact, this government has now created a three-tier social service system by assuming responsibility and cost in Cape Breton, but leaving the cost to the municipal units everywhere else.

This government spoke of government reform in yesterday's Speech from the Throne and heralded the establishment of the new Department of Business and Consumer Services, claiming it will make government services like birth certificates and driver's licenses more accessible in rural Nova Scotia. Well, [Page 48]

the fact is, the government has torn out services in rural communities and instead is offering a kiosk with a plug. Now, the rural jobs are gone, the services are gone, and the cost of those birth certificates and driver's licenses have tripled in cost.

This governments talks about amendments to the Children and Family Services Act to improve the protection of children in need but, years after abuse was detected in a Lunenburg foster home, the government continues to punish the victims of that abuse by refusing to settle the compensation with those victims. If this government is truly committed to protecting children in need, why not demonstrate it now instead of dragging Debra Stevens and her family through more years of turmoil and expensive litigation.

This government has thrust its agenda through the heart of the province and needs to step back and take stock before plowing ahead with any more poor planning. This province is too good a place to further jeopardize.

Mr. Speaker, in the time remaining, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss and bring to the attention of the members some of the local issues that I think are important to the people of Pictou Centre. I have been very privileged since 1993 to represent the people of Pictou Centre and look forward to continuing their representation over the months and remainder of this session. It is an honour to serve the people of this province. I know I share that same feeling with all members in this House.

I look back and the members, perhaps some will remember that in my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne in 1993 I gave some early political history of Pictou County and in April 1994, a brief history of our coal fields. Then last year, I brought you the history of Trenton Works.

Now, Pictou Centre is Trenton, it is New Glasgow and it is Stellarton. It has the third largest concentration of industrial activity in Nova Scotia. We have an interesting history of many industries that were with us in the past but are no longer there. But our area has shown the ability to change and our economy is now not represented with many of those businesses and those industries which gave us strength in the 1800's and the first part of the 1900's.

Our area is adaptable. We have a workplace and a citizenry that is capable of change, capable of adapting to the challenges of the future and I encourage this government to participate with the residents of Pictou Centre and with all the residents of Pictou County in helping us cope with the changing economy of this century.

Now, there was mention of the success of Trenton Works. I will remind this government, and I congratulate this government on their early support of Trenton Works, allowing Trenton Works to continue to function until Green Briar could purchase the plant.

[Page 49]

But before someone on the Opposition benches breaks their arm patting themselves on the back, I would like to put the success of Trenton Works in proper perspective.

Trenton Works survived in 1988 with the SORT Program provided by the then federal government, which provided, through the SORT Program, the funds that allowed the retirement of older workers, reducing the average age of the workforce, paving the way for the sale of the company. When the owner of Trenton Works decided they were no longer interested in the company, the previous government underwrote the operational budget of Trenton Works, allowing Trenton Works to continue.

I congratulate the former Minister of Economic Renewal, the Honourable Ross Bragg, who agreed that this support should continue and I congratulate again, publicly, Mr. Bragg, for continuing that support, allowing Trenton Works to eventually be bought out by the Green Briar Corporation. Today, Trenton Works has 1,100 workers, the greatest in 15 years. Trenton Works this year should produce 3,000 rail cars. The company is committed to improving employer/employee relationship and I look with great enthusiasm to a prosperous future for Trenton Works.

I want to congratulate the Minister of Education. The minister recently was able to make an announcement that there would be an addition to the elementary school in Trenton. This will allow the building of four new classrooms, a kitchen facility, a public and school library and a gymnasium. This was due to funding from the Department of Education of $225,000, from our school board of $133,000 and the Town of Trenton, $133,000. This will permit the Duke Street School in Trenton to be enlarged to the point where it will serve all of the elementary needs in the Town of Trenton and I congratulate the minister for that announcement.

I also would like, with the minister present, to say a few words about the Museum of Industry, which, as well, is in the Town of Stellarton in the constituency of Pictou Centre. Many of you know the history of that institution when it had fallen upon hard times and was in danger of never opening. A number of people in Pictou County got together and formed an organization, a society called the Friends of the Museum. That organization is well known to the Minister of Education.

This museum will serve as a repository for our past. It will have a teaching function and will serve as a major tourist attraction in our area. It will require ongoing support until it becomes self-sustaining, by this government. I look for the continued support of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education to ensure that the Museum of Industry continues to survive and to succeed. (Applause)

I would also like to bring to the members' attention that the 1997 Air Canada Cup will be held in Pictou County at the New Glasgow Stadium. Now a $1 million effort has resulted in a modernization of the 45 year old facility, the New Glasgow Stadium. This was due to a combination of funds raised by the citizenry, by the Town of New Glasgow; funds raised by the corporate community; and federal and provincial government assistance. The improvement of that facility is directly responsible for the Air Canada Cup being held in 1997, and that tournament will provide some $1 million of revenue for northern Nova Scotia. Certainly it is one that indicates that proper investment in the infrastructure of communities can, in fact, work. I certainly am very pleased that we will be having that tournament in our community in the spring of 1997.

[Page 50]

I would like to bring to the government's attention some concerns that have been brought to me by residents. One is the elimination of the municipal tax rebate for seniors who are living in their own homes and receiving a supplement. That rebate is now being refused to seniors who are just becoming eligible to enter the program. This is a mistake and could well result in many seniors not being able to continue to live in their own homes. I would seriously ask the government and the Minister of Finance to re-look at their position in eliminating that municipal tax rebate.

In addition, much has been said about the Maintenance Enforcement Act and the new process in place with the maintenance enforcement office and a maintenance enforcement officer to look after the payments that are due to some 13,000 parents who are receiving those payments from their spouses, particularly in those families where children are involved.

This caucus supported that legislation, but it cannot support the way the process has been initiated. Severe problems have developed in the introduction of this new plan. It has resulted in long waits by the payee from the payor, and the government must look at this process and facilitate the more rapid transfer of cheques from the payor to the payee. The idea is great, but the system isn't working and the implementation has been positively abysmal.

We have serious concerns, as well, in our community about what has happened to health care. We have been served for 100 years in our community by the Aberdeen Hospital. That hospital, over the years, grew and developed a menu of services that was second to none in the regions of the hospital and the areas of our size. What has been happening, with cuts in our health care system, there has been a noticeable deterioration in the level of health care that is available to our citizenry.

We are down now to 99 beds, and this is particularly acute, Mr. Speaker, because next door there has been a marked reduction in beds in Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital in Pictou. Part of this problem is due to the renovation project that is going on in the hospital, a major renovation which should be completed in some six months' time.

Due to budget restraints over the last two months, 15 additional beds have had to be closed at the Aberdeen to make up for a $250,000 budget shortfall. This has resulted in longer waits for emergency treatment, more people staying in the holding area of the hospital and, in general, less satisfaction with the service available. I bring this to the attention of the minister and I would ask that before any further cuts are made to hospital budgets that the minister, himself, travel around the province, visit the hospitals and listen to the communities before he decides what direction his reform process is going to take over the next number of months. (Applause)

[12:15 p.m.]

I had opportunity recently to visit the women's centre in New Glasgow. I recall last year corresponding with the Minister of Community Services, encouraging him to take up the slack in funding which was lost by the women's centre, the loss of federal funding, which they were then asking the province to take up the slack and give them a budget so that they could stay open. The minister responded and I again request that he look very carefully when he is going over his budget to include funding for women's centres in that budget. I can assure the minister that by providing the budgeting last year, it allowed that women's centre to move from that location to a much superior location and the centre is up and running. In these hard economic times, their services are needed far more than every before.

[Page 51]

I am coming to the conclusion of my remarks. I must confess, as the government probably by this time has discerned, that there are many, many issues around this province that have not been addressed in the Speech from the Throne.

Nova Scotians are looking for some indication that the government is listening to communities which are struggling, that this government will become more mobile and will get out and visit with communities. There is much that needs to be done in this province. I urge the government to look around, get a better assessment of the job and let's get on with making this province a better place for all of us. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I certainly do welcome the opportunity to respond to the fourth Speech from the Throne delivered by this Liberal Government. As I begin, I would like to join with the other members of this House in extending my condolences, and those of the New Democratic Party, to the families and friends of the distinguished Nova Scotians whose passing was noted in the Throne Speech. They all served their communities with distinction and they will be sorely missed. I would also like to extend my condolences and those of my colleague, the MLA for Halifax Atlantic, to all of those who have lost a loved one throughout this past year.

It certainly is a pleasure to welcome back the staff, the Pages, the messengers, our Sergeant-At-Arms, Mike Laffin, the staff of the Legislative Library, the Clerk's Office, Hansard Office and the Legislative Television, our television crew. I hope I haven't left anybody out, but I know that they will continue to serve all members of this House and all Nova Scotia extremely well.

Before I begin my comments on the contents of the Speech from the Throne, I would first of all like to make a few remarks about my constituency, Sackville-Cobequid. I am honoured that for the twelfth time I have the opportunity, on behalf of residents and the community at large to bring greetings and best wishes to you and to all members of this House.

Sackville continues to be a growth community and a community with young families. It is also a community very rich in community spirit and volunteerism. Without the dedicated efforts of these hundreds of individuals who continue to give so generously of their time, energies and resources, the quality of life and services would be greatly diminished.

As I said above, Sackville is a community of families, many with young children. The community is itself a child of this provincial government. Many would argue, and I would suggest with very good cause, that the parent - in this case, the provincial government or the Government of Nova Scotia - has been somewhat neglectful over the years. Now, many of the problems the government has left unattended are being off-loaded to the new Halifax Regional Municipality.

Roads are but one good example. Driving down many streets is almost like driving through a mine field as motorists twist and weave to avoid the pot holes. Of course, they are in such poor shape in large part because of the poor maintenance and repair due to the lack of resources provided by Tory and Liberal Governments alike. Now the new regional municipality will inherit the problems and the costs associated with those years of neglect.

[Page 52]

Residents are also very concerned about their children's future due to what they see as declining educational opportunities. Class sizes are increasing and resources, especially those for children with special needs, are declining. Our province's economic future and the future employment opportunities of our children, along with the quality of life they may enjoy, will depend in no small part upon the quality of education they receive. This is a truism for other areas of the province also. We do them all and ourselves a tremendous disservice if we continue to cut the resources necessary to ensure that our most valuable resource - our children - are properly nourished and nurtured.

Health care is a continuing concern for Sackville residents, especially those with young children and the growing number of seniors. The Cobequid Multi-Service Centre is an excellent model to build upon for the delivery of community-based health care services. Ambulance services, we are told, are to be improved. However, I suggest Sackville and surrounding communities need and deserve a 24 hour a day emergency medical service.

There continues to be concern that the Sackville landfill will not close as scheduled. I sincerely hope that there is no substance to those rumours. However, I still hear that some with special interests continue to suggest that instead of finding a new location for metro's waste, the current landfill should be expanded upward and laterally. I also know I don't need to remind this government that on several occasions, it has promised that no such expansion beyond the current boundaries will be permitted without a full and complete environmental assessment.

There also continues to be a need and desire for more passive recreational facilities within the greater Sackville area. This need was neglected by successive provincial governments as they planned the development and growth of Sackville. Promises have been made, then forgotten. The Second Lake Committee under the very capable leadership of Chair Shane O'Neil has worked extremely hard to address this need and to preserve the environmental integrity of the Second Lake watershed. This lake is a pristine jewel surrounded by pockets of old growth forests. It is well worthy of protection for the benefit of both the present and future generations. I sincerely hope that this government will be more receptive and responsible in dealing with the community in this regard in the future than it has been in the past.

Amalgamation is a reality as of Monday. With it disappears the Sackville Community Council as well as the separate councils for the county, Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford. The Sackville Community Council served the residents well. It gave the community some degree of control and comfort that residents could have input into decisions like planning the level of fire and recreational services and the area rates that would be within Sackville. If new community councils are created, they will have to cover a much larger geographical area, thus removing the true community nature of what they will replace. I continue to regret that the government did not have the confidence in its amalgamation plan to put it before the people before they decided to impose it.

I would like to extend my thanks and that of the community to Councillors Theresa Scratch, Frank Sutherland, Jack Brill and Colleen Hache, whose terms in office will be cut short as of Sunday, for their dedicated service to the residents. I wish Bob Harvey, who is continuing on the new council, and Barry Barnett, who is returning to municipal service, well with the heavy responsibilities that lay ahead for them. Due to the pace at which the merger was imposed there remain many difficult hurdles to overcome, so that their plates, like those of the other councillors, will indeed be very full.

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There is much more I could say about the concerns of Sackville-Cobequid constituents. Mobile home owners need still, unfortunately, protection, and we need more affordable seniors' housing as the waiting list continues to grow as does the list of qualified families in desperate need of affordable child care. There are environmental and development concerns that need close attention. Families and children in crisis need additional support.

I look forward to returning to these and other matters of particular concern to Sackville residents in the days and weeks ahead. Residents in Sackville-Cobequid are also, Mr. Speaker, not unlike those in other regions of the province. Many live with anxieties about their future and that of their children. They have concerns about the lack of well-paid, meaningful employment; concerns about what is happening to our health and education systems. Many also share my deep disillusionment with the lack of leadership and compassion shown by this current Liberal Government.

One of the few promises that the Liberal Party made in the 1993 election that it has actually fulfilled was a commitment to hold two sessions of the Legislature each year, and an assurance that each legislative session would begin with a Throne Speech. This would ensure responsibility to public scrutiny and accountability, they said. Unfortunately, the government didn't legislate any requirements that it actually had to fulfil or even make a sincere effort to fulfil commitments that it has made in its Throne Speeches.

The unfortunate reality is that we have 52,000, officially, unemployed and almost an equal number of underemployed Nova Scotians who are still asking the same question today that they were asking three years ago: Where are the jobs? Government platitude and expressions of concern don't put food on the table, they don't pay the rent, they don't provide school supplies for the children, Mr. Speaker. In other words, they just don't cut it.

This government is boasting about the Canadian Business Magazine prediction that Halifax will gain 6,000 jobs this year. It isn't boasting about the fact that the official unemployment rate in Cape Breton has increased to 19.8 per cent. It shouldn't be boasting about the fact that, between January 1995 and January 1996, all of the increases in jobs in Nova Scotia is attributable to part-time work. In January of this year, the Department of Finance reported that the number of full-time jobs actually dropped in 1995 by 3,000 while there was an increase of 11,000 part-time jobs. These are largely low-paying jobs with few or no benefits. If individuals are lucky enough, they may be able to land two or three of these jobs because they can't live on one of them alone.

The reality is that those who take these part-time jobs aren't as fortunate as Dr. Murphy, who found a $140,000 per year part-time job at Emergency Health Services, courtesy of this government.

The government pays tribute to workaday Nova Scotians in the Speech from the Throne. A true tribute would be to provide the climate for full-time, living wage jobs instead of turning this province into the situation where people work a day here, work a day there, in part-time jobs. Rumours of the pending elimination of hundreds of more Civil Service jobs do nothing but increase the stress and fear among workaday Nova Scotians.

While we envision a day when Nova Scotians can look to the Throne Speech for a sense of hope, there is little to provide such hope in this one. What can they expect when so much of what has been promised by this government in the past three years has yet to materialize?

[Page 54]

The 1996 Throne Speech is perhaps the thinnest speech I have witnessed in my 12 years as a member of this Assembly, and that is going some distance to make that statement, Madam Speaker. The 1996 Throne Speech is consistent with this government's single-minded pursuit of a balanced budget at the expense of the human deficit it is fostering. The government is now promising new balanced budget legislation "to prevent any future government from taking our province back to the brink of financial ruin.".

[12:30 p.m.]

What will balanced budget legislation do for workaday Nova Scotians? This promised legislation has more to do with public relations and feigned responsibility than anything else. This government knows that even with the passage of such legislation, it can discard it just as easily as it has collective agreements, with the mere insertion of a notwithstanding clause in future budgets or legislation.

Experience from other provinces shows that balanced-budget legislation is all about the further dismantling of public sector services, redistributing income and wealth in favour of the rich and powerful in society and cutting services to the unemployed, the poor, and the workaday Nova Scotians. As one Manitoba critic has remarked; "If the government believes that a balanced budget is warranted in the present circumstances, or in any and all circumstances, then it should balance the budget. It doesn't require legislation to do this.".

This government's promise of a balanced budget rings shallow in light of the fact that it was 25 years of Liberal and Tory Government mismanagement that created this debt in the first place. Unfortunately, this government's balanced budget Act will result from phoney and concocted bookkeeping tricks. It will result, in part, because of our poor economic performance, relative to the rest of the country, and courtesy of lower interest rates. True economic growth, that is the increased production of goods, wealth and jobs, will have little or nothing to do with that balanced budget, Madam Speaker.

I ask, what faith can Nova Scotians have in this government's proclamations about balanced budgets when the Cabinet quietly approved $90 million in extra expropriations this week? The government promised this practice was going to come to an end; they assured Nova Scotians that extra appropriations would be done through the Public Accounts process. Instead, they have decided yet again to act just like its predecessor, the Buchanan Government of old.

The nastiest trick we can yet anticipate is, Madam Speaker, that the government will further attempt to balance its budget by increased downloading of costs and responsibilities onto municipalities, the universities, school boards and community organizations. Ultimately, of course, those bodies will have to pass their costs on to the users, the clients and the ratepayers.

Another thing we will be watching out for on this side of the House is the fire sale, deep discount approach to the province's assets, some say Bernie Boudreau's balanced budget bargain basement. A few months ago when the White Paper was launched, the Premier and the minister were crowing over no longer having to borrow to buy the groceries, which is good. But we are worried that they now plan to peddle the family heritage in order to meet some abstract bottom line for their political purposes.

What's on the block? The government seems to have retreated from a wholesale sell-off of Crown lands in face of widespread and justifiable opposition.

[Page 55]

We hope they will also give up the hair-brained notion of selling off the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission in return for a quick cash hit. Surely even this government has seen the consequences and false economies of the Tories' privatization of Nova Scotia Power. Only the shareholders have benefited from that deal.

For the second year a row, the Speech from the Throne is silent about the Canada Health and Social Transfer. According to the latest reports from Ottawa, the impact on Nova Scotia is $196 million over the next two years. This CHST comes into effect on Monday, April 1, 1996. Unfortunately, it is not an April fools joke. Despite its serious implications to the people of this province, the government has not taken a single action to protest this federal downloading.

Reasonable people, Madam Speaker, would have thought that faced with such a potential disastrous scenario for health, education and social services, government might have done something more than simply promised balanced budget legislation. Premier Savage should have challenged the federal government's downloading. The government could have stood up for Nova Scotians and tried to get the public involved in a discussion of spending priorities. They might even have talked to the people on the front lines - the nurses, the university students, the people who work in women's shelters and others - who have borne the brunt of past cuts and will bear the brunt of these. They might even have talked and listened honestly to Nova Scotians. Instead, the Savage team pressed their mute button, not wishing to upset their federal cousins.

The Minister of Transportation and Communications says that they turned on their V-chip. Maybe, Madam Speaker, that is correct, that the federal government has implanted one of these on this government, because that is the way they act.

Reading and listening to yesterday's Speech from the Throne makes one wonder what world this government is living in. In case they have not heard, Nova Scotians are very worried about federal cutbacks. They are worried about health care and the education system that is already strained under the effects of misguided and chaotic reform. They are worried about a post-secondary education system that is already becoming inaccessible to many students.

This is a province where thousands and thousands live with uncertainty about whether they will have a job to support themselves and their families tomorrow. This is a province where businesses struggle to survive due to loss of consumer confidence and spending power. Pretending otherwise will not change reality and make these problems vanish.

Last year's Speech from the Throne promised a comprehensive program review to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of every program in service expenditure managed by government. They said that it would be carried out by Priorities and Planning. Our caucus has been waiting for the terms of reference of this review that was promised one year ago. Has this review been conducted? If yes, why hasn't it been released? Or has this review been hijacked by the Finance Minister and his privatization agenda? What role did this review play in the government's recently announced redesign plans for government departments? Why hasn't the government been honest with Nova Scotians and government employees by telling them how many jobs they planned to eliminate or privatize? Why has the government set aside more than $23 million by Order in Council, by Cabinet decree, for a new package for handshake compensations without a word of consultation with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union?

[Page 56]

We have deep misgivings about the results of the redesign. In pulling together the Departments of Transportation, and Supply and Services, this government has created what some have called, pork central, the place from which most of the government's major contracts are delivered. And in creating a brand new cabinet post for the displaced former Minister of Supply and Services, the government has sent a most regrettable message to hospitals, municipalities, school boards and all of the other victims of its callous off-loading policies.

What it is saying is this, you get by with less, a lot less. You scrimp on services to the sick, the elderly, children and so on. But don't ask any of us to give up our top lucrative sports. Do as we say not as we lead, so is the message of the Savage Team.

To use a quote, "Our road to new economic prosperity begins with education,". That is from the 1996 Throne Speech. Unfortunately, the road to economic prosperity is being maintained like our highways, with huge potholes and cracks developing everywhere.

Nova Scotians haven't seen one cent of the promised savings from the forced amalgamation of school boards. Our children are in classes that are too large and are growing, in classes without text books. Our children with special needs are not receiving the services they require and deserve. And we know there is worse to come. Scarce resources are being further reduced as the province starves school boards of necessary funding.

It was in June 1994, that Premier John Savage announced that a world-class, high-tech junior high school would be built in Sydney through private sector partnering. The targeted date to finish construction of this school was September 1996. Earlier this week, it was reported that the province's first experiment with a privately built and operated school is running behind schedule. The Department of Education now says construction won't even begin until January 1997.

Undaunted, the Savage government, that hasn't delivered on its commitment for this badly needed school in Sydney, is now boasting it is selling its expertise in private-public schools development abroad. I say, buyer beware.

The whole public-private development of schools is a shell game that will result in higher future costs. In order to make it look like they have balanced their budget, the government has decided to hide the capital cost on the books of their private partners. It is called the shell game. They will then enter into long-term lease agreements to rent the facilities. This will result in higher long-term costs to pay their partners' profits and higher borrowing costs. The government, therefore, is trading for higher long-terms costs in favour of its own short-term political interests. Future Nova Scotians, unfortunately, will pay a higher price because of this smoke and mirror charade.

[12:45 p.m.]

The government boasts that it is selling customized training at Nova Scotia community colleges and we support such initiatives, but not at the expense of other badly needed programs. Last year the same government announced it was shutting down several community college campuses and eliminating 800 training spaces because it had no money, yet, at the same time, and in a year of record breaking profit for chartered banks in Canada, the Nova Scotia Government found it in their hearts to offer $3.5 million of taxpayers monies to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce for customized training for call centres. This was on top of the tax break that they were provided already on 1-800 calls.

Health, Madam Speaker, it is a sad state of affairs when an issue as important as health care warrants only one sentence in the Speech from the Throne. The Speech says, "The Home Care program, launched last June, has helped more than 13,000 people . . .". What does this tell us? How has it helped? What has it done for the hundreds of people on hospital waiting lists? What has it done for Nova Scotians [Page 57]

who require palliative care, Nova Scotians who are sent home from hospital to die at home, where they and their families are forced to pay out thousands of dollars for nursing care and prescription drugs?

What does it mean that the Victorian Order of Nurses went on strike today? How many Nova Scotians will be helped by the Home Care Program when the VON nurses are forced to go on strike. I know that they did not want to do this because they care, and care very deeply, for their patients. The government, however, has pushed them to the wall so they have no choice. I fear that what we are seeing is a glimpse of what is to come for the Home Care Nova Scotia Program. It is part of this government's cheap labour strategy and privatization of health care.

In order to compete with proliferating private for-profit health care agencies, the 100 year old non-profit VON is being pressured to cut the salaries and benefits of nurses. The striking nurses are not seeking a wage hike. Like so many other workers in Nova Scotia, they have not had a wage increase since 1991. But in order to compete in the bidding for provision of home care services against U.S. style health care franchises, the VON is being forced to treat its workers like the Savage Government has treated civil servants. It is Nova Scotians who are most vulnerable who, once again, are paying the highest price. The Speech from the Throne says that the government will work with the federal government to develop industries in health care. Is this a sign for future privatization and Americanization of our health care system?

It is almost four years, Madam Speaker, since 26 men died at the Westray Coal Mine. We welcome the introduction of the new Occupational Health and Safety Act. This is a very positive and supportable initiative. The proof of the government's commitment will be shown, however, when we see the level of resources it is prepared to provide for the effective enforcement of the Act. For working men and women in this province, we can only hope that the government lives up to its word.

Under community services, one wonders how a government could be so nonchalant about breaking its promises. How tragic it is to remember that in the last Speech from the Throne, the government made a firm commitment to "adopt policies on community care of adults coping with mental handicaps or disabilities and on the rules and framework for unlicensed community residential services, such as supervised apartments for those with mental handicaps or disabilities.".

The 50 new child care spaces don't go very far in reaching the round table recommendations that 500 new subsidized spaces are needed each year for five years, to address the crisis in child care. While it is only 50, it is certainly welcome, Madam Speaker, but the need is great and the government's actions fall very far short of what is needed and what they committed.

On economic development, on Page 5 of the Speech from the Throne the government says that economic renewal is their fourth priority. But the Speech from the Throne didn't need to acknowledge that economic renewal is not at the top of the priority list for this government, the continued high unemployment is testimony enough. Since 1993 this government has talked about community economic development as the cornerstone of their

[Page 58]

plans to turn this province around. After the 30-60-90 embarrassment their chosen vehicle last year was Access Nova Scotia Centres. Now the government restructuring plan says that Access Nova Scotia Centres will become storefront offices to provide the public with everything from birth certificates to driver's licenses. Community economic development initiatives now have to stand in line.

This government has embraced private/public partnership as a panacea for the economic recovery of Nova Scotia. It means they have succumbed to the myth that private administration is inherently better and more efficient than public administration. There is no evidence to support this view and, as Sydney Hook said in 1958, "No group or individual has a monopoly on human stupidity. The cure of bad administration is better administration, not no administration.". If one looks at the poor economic performance of countries like Britain that have gone down this privatization route, it is easy to see the failings of this doctrine.

What do we know from the great plans to twin Highway No. 104 as a private/private partnership? We know that not one inch of pavement has been laid but that well over $1 million has been given away to consultants and lawyers for advice. We know that over $300,000 has gone to long-time Liberal Lawrence Hayes, a former trustee of tainted Liberal trust funds. The toll on the Highway No. 104 project continues to mount. The cost estimates have escalated to around $130 million and they are climbing. The toll continues to mount.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation on a point of order.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, there is no price on the Highway No. 104 project yet. There was an erroneous report that was printed as if the price has risen, but the question actually asked was if it was being done without a partnership over a six or eight year period. I would point that out.

Also I would say that $300,000 has not been paid to Lawrence Hayes. That is erroneous and misleading. That contract is with McInnes Cooper & Robertson. You will find members of that firm's names included on a contribution list to the New Democratic Party of Nova Scotia, the same people that the honourable gentleman opposite accused of being well-known south end Tories when the same firm did the Nova Scotia Power Corporation deal. So I think we see where that is coming from today, but that information is completely erroneous and misleading.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you for that point of information. It isn't a point of order.

MR. HOLM: Maybe, Madam Speaker, since the minister has decided to try to enter the debate and dispute some information during my time, in response you would like to allocate part of his time, when he gets up to speak at his proper time, to me so I can respond to him. Certainly the facts are speaking for themselves and I would be happy to provide to the Minister of Transportation and Communications, for example, a copy of the freedom of information request that I received with regard to the legal fees.

HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I believe an interjection on a point of order is found in our Rule Book. It is legitimate and it doesn't have to come out of another member's time when they speak, as the honourable member opposite is suggesting, so I would refer him to the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly for clarification.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. That in itself is not a point of order. I recognize the member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. HOLM: Madam Speaker, I refer the Minister of Transportation and comic relief to the commitments and statements that he, his government and the Premier have made on the Highway No. 104 project over the last number of years. I would suggest that if the very capable staff, and maybe the minister doesn't think that he has them, within his department had been allowed to do their job - and it is not as if they don't have some experience building highways - I would suggest that we would be millions of dollars ahead and that the work would have begun.

[Page 59]

AN HON. MEMBER: The road would be built.

MR. HOLM: I am sure the minister and the Premier have not forgotten that this government said that they could not alter the route that was selected because back in 1993 it would create delays and they said that that highway would be completed by mid-1996, Madam Speaker. This was going to be able to happen because of public/private partnering with this government, and it could move ahead more quickly. Well, they have approximately three months to not only sign an agreement, begin the work but to complete the work, as well.

Fishers and other seasonal workers are demonstrating against UI cuts and changes in fisheries regulations and are fighting for their industry, their way of life and their communities. They are fighting to defend the very fabric of rural Nova Scotia. There is no mention of these issues, fundamental to the survival of coastal communities, in this Throne Speech. Yet, this government says it is committed to rural communities. It isn't just the Throne Speech that has been silent. Where was this government when the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources Development was studying the Employment Insurance Act? There was not one word of protest from this government when the committee did not see fit to move outside Ottawa to experience first-hand the anger and concern about changes to unemployment insurance.

The UI reforms of 1990, 1993 and 1994 attacked all workers. The 1996 changes continue that attack and zero in on two particular groups, the part-time workers and the seasonal workers. How could this government not be concerned about the most vulnerable members of our workforce? By continuing to make UI more restrictive, the federal government, with the full support of this provincial government, is encouraging the phoney belief that jobs exist but that people refuse to work.

A more restrictive UI program does not create jobs. It creates misery and despair. A tragedy for economic renewal is that the UI changes won't just harm the unemployed workers and their families. The changes will also harm the businesses and communities with high unemployment. While the government is always quick to talk about the multiplier effect when new jobs and incomes come to a community, they are noticeably silent when the reverse happens and jobs and incomes are ripped out.

It appears this Liberal Government is ready to acknowledge that there is a job crisis in Cape Breton. At least they have included a reference in the Throne Speech that Cape Breton is ready for special emphasis. Let's hope special emphasis will address the consequences of Devco's plan to permanently lay off 800 coal miners in the next two years. The very future of an industry which contributes $216 million a year to the Cape Breton economy is in jeopardy. Of course, this government promised similar treatment in the past. They even promised to decentralize government by moving jobs to Cape Breton. Instead,

[Page 60]

figures our caucus obtained through freedom of information, show a net decrease in civil service jobs in Cape Breton.

[1:00 p.m.]

The Sydney tar ponds, one of the worst environmental disasters in all of Canada, remains completely unresolved, even after $100 million having been spent. What are the government's plans now? To take the cheap option, an option rejected in the past for environmental reasons. Now the government wants to cover it over with slag in the hope that out of sight is out of mind and that the health hazards will magically disappear.

What about forest management? The government seems prepared to leave the management of our forests up to the multinational pulp and paper companies. After letting the $12 million federal silviculture agreement expire, they have nothing in its place. There are growing concerns that the cut being taken is unsustainable and that there has been an inaccurate reporting of yields harvested. This is not new, yet the government is now only beginning to look at it. Nova Scotians deserve to know that our forests and woodlands are being managed in the best interests of present and future generations of Nova Scotians, and not used for a quick, unsustainable profit.

A firm commitment was made in the 1995 Speech from the Throne to bring forward a new power planning and conservation Act, "to strengthen regulatory authority and provide a rational framework for energy production and conservation that does not compromise our environment or our economic well being.". But that legislation did not appear in 1995. Instead, residents of Nova Scotia have been handed a rate increase from Nova Scotia Power. Any reference to strengthening the regulations has been dropped and the independence and objectivity of the Utility and Review Board has been placed in question by the appointment of the Premier's former Chief of Staff to its head.

Under Municipal Affairs. The government in the Speech from the Throne applauds itself because it will be assuming responsibility "for the delivery of municipal social services in the new regional municipalities of Halifax and Queens.", on April 1st. What it doesn't say, of course, is that it will be passing the bill for those services back to those municipalities. It does not say that it has ensured, because it has not, that all employees working for the municipal social services departments will have jobs after the takeover. It did not remind us that the province had promised to assume full cost for municipal social services as part of the Provincial-Municipal Service Exchange Agreement.

The government tried to sell Nova Scotians on the idea that amalgamations of school boards and municipalities would save money. We saw how accurate the predictions were in Cape Breton, that was left with a multi-million dollar debt after the government was through. Taxpayers will be paying the price for years to come. We already know that the implementation costs for metro's merger will also be millions of dollars above what was projected and the final tally has yet to be counted.

The government had so little confidence and trust in itself and the people that it refused to develop and cost out options for municipal reform. These could have been provided to the public so that they could have made an informed choice on what was best for their own communities through a plebiscite. The final costs of this scheme, as I said before, have yet to be seen, but you can be darn sure of one thing, Madam Speaker, and that is that the province will come out on the long end of the stick.

[Page 61]

Now the Minister of Finance and the Premier are floating the idea of removing the PST exemption from municipalities, school boards, hospitals, etc. as part of its dreamed GST harmonization. The Minister of Finance says, municipalities have to share the pain of reducing the provincial debt. I suggest that the Minister of Finance should look at his own government's financial records to see just how much they have already downloaded to those municipalities. Municipalities are and have been sharing the pain. Any attempt to further download by removing the PST exemption from other levels of government must and will be seen for exactly what it is, a major tax grab by this government at the expense of the property taxpayers. There is and needs to be a different vision.

A Throne Speech can and should provide a plan of action, along with an honest accounting of past accomplishments and failures.

I am proud to say that a Throne Speech from a New Democratic Government would be much different. Nova Scotians are reasonable people. They don't expect the impossible, or miracles. They do, however, expect the government and elected representatives to be forthright with them. They expect their politicians to put the best interests of the province and people ahead of the government's own selfish and partisan interests.

New Democrats believe in the dignity and worth of all people. We believe in the strength of community. New Democrats would have provided some glimmer of hope. We would have joined with the many concerned citizens in Nova Scotia to fight a national campaign against the Canadian Health and Social Transfer. The fact that the CHST comes into effect on April 1st does not man that it is carved in stone. Ottawa's disastrous policies can and must be reversed.

We would have recognized that we need legislation to guarantee the viability of our public health care system. If we cannot rely on Ottawa to enforce the Canada Health Act, then we must proceed as a province to ensure that our health care system is universal, accessible, comprehensive, affordable and publicly administered.

We would have listed existing measures or exemptions in Annex I that are likely to be interpreted as being inconsistent with the NAFTA rules long before the March 31, 1996 deadline, in order to protect the future of health services in Nova Scotia.

We would have recognized the fact that starving our universities and public schools is a form of social and economic suicide and that students should not be denied access to university due solely to financial considerations.

We would have avoided offloading provincial financial problems onto the hospitals, universities, school boards, community organizations and the poor. We would have put an end to spiralling administration costs, the creation of new cabinet ministries, contracting out, the provision of expensive golden handshakes to senior managers and expensive business handouts to firms that don't need the money.

We would have removed the special tax breaks that have been handed out to lawyers, doctors, dentists and accountants. While we don't know the total cost of this tax break, we suspect it will be in the tens of millions of dollars if a recent Nova Scotia Medical Society newsletter is anything to go by. It is reported in the newsletter that a physician earning $200,000 a year would save $53,000 in income taxes by incorporating. These give-aways are the kinds of social programs we in this province can no longer afford.

[Page 62]

We would have placed a moratorium on cutbacks to hospitals until a Home Care Program was fully established. We would have announced that the regional health board legislation would be amended to facilitate the establishment of community health boards.

Instead of a balanced budget legislation, we would have brought forward legislation that would have prevented any future governments from breaking collective agreements. Instead of pretending consultation like that done by the Minister of Finance who invited himself to the luncheon with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss his White Paper, we would have convened a conference involving business, labour and community leaders to develop a strategy to work together to grow the province's economy as a way to eliminate the debt and to increase wealth.

Our Speech from the Throne also would have included commitments to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Without these changes, the government and future governments will continue to use this legislation as they have in the past, the exclusion from information Act.

Finally, Madam Speaker, we would have acknowledged that the best way to deal with Canadian unity is to ensure that this country has national standards for health and education and income support and a strong and prosperous economy where people can have hope for themselves and hope for their children.

Therefore, Madam Speaker, I regret to inform you and members of this House that the Speech from the Throne, as delivered yesterday on behalf of this government, is totally unacceptable and unsupportable. Our caucus will not be voting in favour of it.

Madam Speaker, I would like to move an amendment, and I will provide you with a copy of the amendment as soon as I have read it. I move that the resolution before this House be amended by adding the following words:

That this House lacks confidence in this government because:

(1) The Speech from the Throne shows that this government has lost touch with the reality of most Nova Scotians, a reality that is characterized by economic stagnation, a decline in real jobs at decent pay, a deterioration of education, health and social services and a growing sense of hopelessness about the future;

(2) The Speech from the Throne demonstrates that the government's continued obsession with the budget deficit is adding dangerously to the human deficit in this province.

Madam Speaker, as I said, I move this amendment.

MADAM SPEAKER: Is there a copy of the amendment coming to the Speaker's desk?

Thank you. The amendment is in order.

I recognize the next speaker, the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Madam Speaker, just for a point, I do not wish to speak to the amendment, I wish to speak in reply to the speech. If that is appropriate, then I am . . .

[Page 63]

MADAM SPEAKER: You are correct.

MR. RICHARDS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is my honour today to rise and respond to the Speech from the Throne. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to relate to my colleagues in this House and to the people of Nova Scotia the many interesting pieces that come together to form the mosaic that is the constituency of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

The constituency that I represent, Madam Speaker, is somewhat of a paradox; rural areas nestled next to suburban communities, affluent homes and growing businesses not a

moment's drive from communities struggling with high unemployment and a struggling fishing industry. Yes, Madam Speaker, this constituency is abundant with many diverse lifestyles and, as a result, I am presented with a wide range of concerns and views from my constituents.

[1:15 p.m.]

I would like to thank my constituents, Madam Speaker, as they have been keen participants in the democratic process. The many calls and letters I receive on a myriad of different issues is a clear indication of the growing role the constituents are playing in the governing of their province. The apathy of the late 1980's has been replaced by a genuine interest in social programs, debt management, and the delivery of services.

Recently, Madam Speaker, I was invited to tour the 12 Wing operations in Shearwater. Under the command of Col. Mark Aruja, 12 Wing provides air detachments to Her Majesty's Canadian Ships, trains air crew and technicians, coordinates search and rescue efforts and supports other government departments in fisheries patrol, coastal sovereignty, drug interdiction and environmental monitoring.

Many people are under the impression that, due to downsizing, Shearwater is no longer host to viable operations. Madam Speaker, I want to tell you and the House today, this is simply not true. The Shearwater squadrons and units currently employ more than 1,400 people. That is an economic impact of $62 million in salaries in our local economy.

The activities in Shearwater are not limited to those of the 12 Wing unit. The Shearwater Development Corporation has leased property on the base and is working to develop economic growth and job opportunities in the Shearwater area. An example is the partnership arrangement of the airfield that has resulted in bringing a new airline to the metro area. The 12 Wing personnel support program provides facilities to support the busy community, including the Recreation Council, Community Council and the Shearwater Community Resource Centre. In addition, the Aviation Museum is an attractive, educational experience and I encourage each of you and all of Nova Scotians to include this site in your travel experiences.

Shearwater is alive and well, Madam Speaker, and it is my hope that this government will continue to recognize the potential for economic growth and prosperity. This potential cannot be reached without a large contribution from the community itself. Significant improvements have recently been made in the communities of Eastern Passage, Cow Bay and Shearwater. These include the RCMP's community policing initiative. The activities of the Community Education Council and the Greater Metropolitan Halifax Economic Development Partnership.

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Last year, more than 50 individuals from the private, government, education and health care sectors gathered with community leaders for the total quality initiative workshop for community stakeholders. As a participant in this workshop, I was grateful for the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and work with the colleagues in the community to identify key issues with respect to enhancing our quality of life and building a safer and healthier community.

Madam Speaker, of the many ways to enhance and develop our communities, one example that comes to mind is the Fisherman's Cove Project in Eastern Passage. Fisherman's Cove is a restoration and redevelopment project with the purpose of creating a successful tourism industry for the community that I represent, by providing an infrastructure base for small business in the setting of an active and living fishing community.

One of the critical goals of this project is to work closely with McNab's and Lawlor's Islands to develop a long-term master plan for both active and passive ego-tourism. These islands can play a major role in supporting local tourism by offering high-quality experiences and facilities which emphasize natural environments, outdoor activities and cultural appreciation.

Perhaps the islands' most important quality, Madam Speaker, is their geographical setting in the mouth of Halifax Harbour. Situated amidst Nova Scotia's largest metropolitan area, the natural character and isolation of these islands provides a sharp contrast to the busy waterfront of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is evident these islands have the potential to become a popular tourist destination with the ability to attract a large share of the international tourism market.

Madam Speaker, in Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, there is a small community known as South Woodside. The residents of South Woodside are proud of their heritage and have a strong sense of community identity. Home to the oil refineries in this area, South Woodside is a favourable location for further development. I have conducted ongoing communications with Imperial Oil regarding business development and we have been working closely to help support future development initiatives.

Madam Speaker, many communities have begun to realize the important part they have to play in their own destiny. As a result, we have seen an increase in community organizations designed to identify the needs of communities and work towards effective solutions. This trend has also reached the Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage area in the form of the Halifax County Regional Development Agency. This agency has provided the catalyst required to motivate the people of Halifax County to work together to find innovative answers to their own needs and concerns. The participation level from Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage is a strong indication of this commitment.

Madam Speaker, it is very encouraging to realize that the constituents I represent are active participants in their communities. As stakeholders, they recognize the need to look within our communities and maximize the resources available so that they may work with governments to create improved service delivery, real solutions for debt management and the effective use of our essential services.

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to note that the Speech from the Throne recognized the importance of regional development authorities. This government's commitment to encourage the creation of more community development is a crucial component in the rebuilding of Nova Scotia. I am proud of what this government has achieved over the past three years. I am especially proud that the struggle to control spending and manage the debt has not resulted in the devastation of our essential services. This has not been the case in other provinces and our efforts are a true testament of our government's commitment to the people of Nova Scotia.

One example of this has been evident in our new health care system. Health care reform has been an ongoing process by which many pieces were tailored to create a complete health care system designed to provide Nova Scotians with the best possible care. The decentralization of health care has meant improved access for many Nova Scotians and I was delighted to attend the recent opening of the Nova Scotia Hospital's [Page 65]

Mental Health Services Offices in Cole Harbour. Health care has become more humane under this government's efforts. Nova Scotians can recuperate in the comfort of their own homes and find treatment centres located within their communities.

Seniors have universal coverage for prescription medication and a provincially standardized fleet of ambulances assures each Nova Scotian of the same level of care regardless of where they live. Madam Speaker, it is this type of comprehensive reform that has allowed this government to rein in our finances without losing sight of our responsibilities to the health and well-being of Nova Scotians.

I am proud to be part of this government that recognizes the need to protect our most precious resource, our children. Madam Speaker, as a member who represents a very large rural area, children become a very common connection between the electorate and those we have to represent. As a father of three children myself, I realize how important it is to do everything possible to make sure that our children are provided with all of the necessary and essential services.

The increase of subsidized child care by 50 spaces, as announced in the Speech from the Throne, provides new insights and initiatives for many working mothers and children in our communities. New child welfare standards, a tough stand against family violence, will create a great deal to the physical and emotional well-being for Nova Scotia's Children. We must continue to press forward with these measures, if our future is to hold anything for any of us, children must be a critical piece of our government's agenda.

Change is not always easy and the people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage have weathered many changes over the past three years. They have begun to adjust to these changes and are beginning to realize the many benefits that come from living within our means. Increased employment, business development and a reduction in the amount of money required to service the debt will result in a better quality of life for all Nova Scotians.

It is important that we never again find ourselves in the dire financial state we were just three years ago. The Speech from the Throne indicated that measures will be taken to keep this government accountable for its spending, to prevent us from returning to a disastrous financial situation and to ensure that we recoup the $1 billion lost each year to debt service charges. When we think about that amount of money, it becomes a staggering example of just how poorly this province was managed under the previous administration.

A little over a week ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Grade 9 students at Astral Drive Junior High School. These students were astounded when I showed them that $1 billion amounts to more money than we bring in in provincial income tax, more than the money we collect in provincial sales tax and when they saw how much that money was with regard to how much we spend on education, they were astounded, they couldn't believe it. They said, what are you doing about it and when I explained the efforts of our government,

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they were pleased to see that we weren't going backwards but we were going very much forward.

These are the seeds we must sow today so that, in the future, we may reap the harvest that will come from a balanced budget and a shrinking debt. It will result in stronger social programs, a reduced tax burden for all Nova Scotians and a future that our children will be proud to inherit, not the devastation that we were left with as a government, but a bright strong future, a future that says, we will live within our means but we will protect all of the essential services and guarantee a brighter future for our children.

I wish to thank you, Madam Speaker, for this time and encourage all members of the House to visit my community and especially those viable parts that are there to be received by people not only from Nova Scotia but people throughout all of Canada as a major tourism area, a major component in the metropolitan area and a vital and active community. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. ALAN MITCHELL: Madam Speaker, it is with genuine pleasure that I rise today before you and the members of this Legislative Assembly to respond to the Speech from the Throne.

This is the fourth time in less than three years that I have responded to a Speech from the Throne and I regard it as a wonderful opportunity to share with my colleagues the achievements, needs and concerns of my constituents in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

I would like to take a moment to express my sincere thanks to the constituents of my riding for the continued assistance and support they have provided since I was elected. Through phone calls, letters, e-mail messages and public meetings, the people of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour have kept me aware of their needs and concerns. I have worked to bring these needs and concerns to caucus, to government and to this House and I owe a debt of gratitude to the many constituents who have helped me to become a more effective representative.

[1:30 p.m.]

Madam Speaker, as I listened to the Speech from the Throne, I was struck by the mention of some notable Nova Scotians. It occurred to me that Dartmouth-Cole Harbour is not without our own notable Nova Scotians, some of whom I feel deserve special mention.

On January 10, 1995, Aaron Bouchard, a seven year old Dartmouth-Cole Harbour area Cub, saved the life of young Justin Blair who had fallen through the ice into a local pond. Using an overhanging branch to secure himself, Aaron reached out to grasp his friend's hand and pull him to safety.

After the rescue, the young Cub took his friend to a safe home to receive medical attention and care. It was an honour to be present when Aaron was awarded the Bronze Cross Emblem, one of the highest awards conferred by the National Council of Scouts Canada. (Applause) This November, Aaron and his family will attend a formal investiture in Ottawa, where he will receive the Bronze Cross Medal from His Excellency, the Honourable Romeo LeBlanc, the Chief Scout of Canada.

The Scouting movement is one example of the scores of community organizations which instill the principles of caring, selflessness and responsibility in the young people of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and of Nova Scotia.

Madam Speaker, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. Earlier this year, many retailers found themselves at a loss when they were faced with a large influx of new $2.00 coins and nowhere to place them in their existing cash registers. Paul Denton and John Bateman, two young residents of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, set out to find a Nova Scotia solution to this new Canadian problem; thus the invention of the Bear Bin, a mini cash register insert which fits into the existing two dollar bill [Page 67]

compartment, converting it into a coin bin. This mini insert costs considerably less than a new cash drawer, and by enabling businesses to use existing cash drawers provides an economic and environmentally responsible alternative.

Madam Speaker, our next Nova Scotian was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. Ira Settle, a former Warden of the Municipality of the County of Halifax, passed on earlier this year. Mr. Settle bequeathed the amount of $50,000 to the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society for the support of the Cole Harbour Farm Museum, an important community institution in my constituency. This gesture is characteristic of a man who gave so much of his time, talents and resources to his community.

It is important to understand, Madam Speaker, that at times, the most notable contributions made are those that occur through great loss and tragedy. I speak for all residents of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour when I say I was stunned, saddened and deeply touched by the death of two young sisters, Danielle and Renee Orichefsky in July 1995. While this tragic accident touched the hearts of all of us, we were inspired and humbled by the strength, character and faith of the Orichefsky family. As they struggled with the painful loss of two beautiful young girls, our hearts and prayers went to this caring, loving family and the terrible loss they have endured.

An example of the courage and resiliency of this family occurred earlier this year, Madam Speaker. The Orichefsky's eldest daughter, Michelle, was instrumental in organizing the Befriend a Wolf program at Cole Harbour District High School. This initiative by Michelle and her fellow Cole Harbour High students was integral in securing necessary funds from the private sector to save the Canadian Centre for Wolves Research located at Shubenacadie. (Applause)

As you can see, Madam Speaker, the people of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour are part of a unique and diverse community. This young, vibrant, growing constituency is comprised of many families with deep concerns regarding education, health care and social services, not unlike those of all Nova Scotians.

In my three years as the member of the Legislative Assembly for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, I have found that this young constituency has profound concern for the state of our province's finances. It is no longer acceptable for the government to spend money wildly and expect the taxpayers to pay the devastating price. The constituents of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour are committed to deficit reduction measures and have a great understanding of the need to control our own fiscal destiny before it becomes an even greater burden. Recently every constituent in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour was given a chance to reply to the Department of Finance's White Paper, Shaping Our Future. I was pleased to ensure that each household received a copy of the questionnaire. The response was very encouraging. Nova Scotians are beginning to understand and realize the benefits of establishing an economically healthy

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climate and are eager to take part in the decision-making process that will enable us to balance the budget, reduce the deficit and lessen the tax burden for all of us.

As you know, Madam Speaker, it has not been an easy road, but I believe that this government has proven that it is possible to attain fiscal stability without losing sight of our social responsibilities. It has been challenging to find new ways of conducting business in Nova Scotia. It has been equally challenging to find new ways to provide the essential services on which Nova Scotians have come to depend. Pharmacare and Home Care are two examples of how health care reform has stepped away from the exclusive treatment of illness and focused on the overall good health and well-being of Nova Scotians. By providing and equitable drug program for seniors, finding new ways for Nova Scotians to recuperate at home, producing state of the art ambulance services here, in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, with the recent opening of the Nova Scotia Hospital's mental health services offices, the government has formulated a health care system that will allow Nova Scotians to attain improved physical and mental health.

Madam Speaker, the role of government is changing. Our pockets are no longer deep. It has become necessary to look at our part in business development and find other ways of encouraging growth in Nova Scotia. I was pleased to see that the Centre for Entrepreneurial Education Development will open regional Venture Centres around the province. These centres will bring entrepreneurs together with young people, in and out of school, to help them start their own business or to gain the skills they require to do so.

Programs like these are important, Madam Speaker. They enable government to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit without traditional dependence on financial handouts. Public/private partnerships are helping us to provide the best possible service to Nova Scotians at a price we can afford and improved highways and state of the art schools which would be impossible for government to build alone are becoming a reality through partnerships with the private sector.

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased with the steps that the government has taken to restructure itself and the way government delivers services. This restructuring will modernize government and greatly improve its ability to deliver services in an efficient and timely manner to all Nova Scotians. A good example of this is the newly created Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. By making government services more accessible, this department will prove to be an effective way of offering convenient, quality services to Nova Scotia.

Madam Speaker, it will be of no surprise to you or to my colleagues in the House that I was particularly pleased to see the creation of the new Technology and Science Secretariat. As the first Member of the Legislative Assembly to have a wireless connection which enabled me to make contact with my constituency office in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, the government caucus office, as well as the many government departments on the government e-mail system, right here from my desk in the House, I am excited at the limitless potential of the technology available today and proud that I am part of a government that has embraced that technology and is ready to use it to become more effective as we start the new millennium.

This technology is not limited to communicating with government departments or educating Nova Scotia's youth but offers numerous possibilities to improve many aspects of our daily lives. Medical teleconferencing gives rural patients access to the best medical care available, without the inconvenience and expense of travelling to large urban hospitals. Madam Speaker, the recent announcement of enhanced 911 services in Nova Scotia will ensure

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that by December 1996 all Nova Scotians will find immediate assistance by dialling 911. This joint initiative of the province and Maritime Tel & Tel is the most advanced comprehensive system in the country. When a call is made to 911, the computer screen in front of the trained call taker, displays the caller's name, address and phone number. It will enable the trained call taker to immediately forward the call to the appropriate fire, police, ambulance service closest to the emergency scene. This technology will improve the speed at which help can be provided to those in emergency situations. This technology, Madam Speaker, will improve the speed at which help can be provided to those in emergency situations. This technology will save lives.

Madam Speaker, Nova Scotia is on the brink of being recognized as a world class location for technology research. With our highly educated workforce, ideal location and unlimited potential, Nova Scotia has a tremendous opportunity to become the home of the world's most innovative companies on the leading edge of technological development. One of these companies, Newbridge Networks Corporation, a worldwide leader in communications networking, has recognized our potential. Their recent announcement of their new research and development location coming to Nova Scotia is one of the first steps to increased growth in this exciting field.

Madam Speaker, it must be pointed out that this announcement came as a result of the motivation and forward thinking of our Premier, the Honourable John Savage. Through his leadership, the government is committed to the new and innovative ideas that we need if we are to remain a competitive force in the information technology field. I feel confident in this government's ability to keep abreast of the latest technology and to embrace those leading edge companies who wish to take advantage of all we have to offer in Nova Scotia.

We are living in exciting times. While it is imperative that we never lose our control of the finances of the province, we are ready to plot a steady course that will lead us to continued economic development, job creation and a better way of life for all Nova Scotians. Madam Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity of making these few brief remarks. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to make an introduction of some youthful members of our society who are located in the gallery today. They are members of the Mount Allison University Young Liberal Association. (Applause) This group is in to watch the proceedings of the House of Assembly this afternoon and to spend a couple of days in Halifax, a bit of a break, before the final cramming for exams. I want one young man to rise first before the rest, Joey Burke from St. Peters, Richmond County, Nova Scotia. (Applause) Joey is the President of the Mount Allison Young Liberals and was instrumental in the electoral success of the member of the House of Assembly for Richmond County. I want to introduce Joey (Interruption) and would ask all the members . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . Richie and he left the province. (Laughter)

MR. MANN: He will be back, probably to seek a seat in Halifax. The picking will be easy. (Interruptions) So I would ask all the members of the Young Liberal Association of Mount Allison to rise and receive the warm welcome of the members of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

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MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, could we adjourn debate on the Throne Speech for today and revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.


MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Madam Speaker, in accordance with the provisions of the Provincial Finance Act, I beg leave to table the Public Accounts for the Province of Nova Scotia for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1995. I would ask the Chief Messenger to provide members with copies of these accounts and I might add, for the information of all members, the Supplement to the Public Accounts which usually draws some interest, will be distributed in the House, hopefully, by the end of next week.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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


MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.


HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Expenditure Control Act was enacted by this House as Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1993 to limit government expenditures to a specific predetermined level; and

Whereas a program operating expenditure that exceeds the level authorized under the Expenditure Control Act may only be made after a resolution has been passed by this House, authorizing such an expenditure; and

Whereas it is necessary to exceed the program operating expenditures authorized by the Expenditure Control Act for fiscal 1995-96 in order that this province honour its undertaking to compensate victims of institutional abuse;

Therefore be it resolved that a sum not exceeding $32,037,900 be granted to the Lieutenant Governor to defray expenses in respect of the Department of Justice respecting compensation for victims of institutional abuse.

[1:45 p.m.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, we have heard a balanced representation in response to the Speech from the Throne and, therefore, I would recommend we adjourn proceedings for this afternoon. On Monday we will be sitting from the hours of 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and the order of business following the daily routine will be the resolution introduced today by the Minister of Finance and perhaps some debate, again returning to the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

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

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is carried in order. We stand adjourned until 7:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 1:47 p.m.]