The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Wed., May 1, 1996

Fourth Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Hon. G. Brown 1217
Health - Psychiatric Facilities Review Board, Hon. R. Stewart 1217
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Environ. - Solid Waste Management Strategy: Results - Favourable,
Hon. W. Adams 1218
Nat. Res. - Student Internship Employment Program, Hon. E. Norrie 1221
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 396, Educ.: Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month (May 1996) -
Proclaim, Mr. K. MacAskill 1223
Vote - Affirmative 1224
Res. 397, Tech. & Sc. Sec't. - Outer Space Research Project:
Participants - Congrats., Hon. G. O'Malley 1224
Vote - Affirmative 1224
Res. 398, ERA - Women Entrepreneurs: Contribution - Recognize,
Hon. R. Harrison 1225
Vote - Affirmative 1225
Res. 399, Sports - Softball: Hall of Fame (Can.)-Les Wilson Inducted -
Congrats., Hon. J. Abbass 1225
Vote - Affirmative 1226
Res. 400, Health: Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month (May 1996) -
Recognize, Hon. R. Stewart 1226
Vote - Affirmative 1226
Res. 401, Women - Entrepreneurs Awareness Day: Contribution -
Recognize, Hon. E. Norrie 1226
Vote - Affirmative 1227
Res. 402, Educ. - Oxford School: Student Volunteers - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Abbass 1227
Vote - Affirmative 1228
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 18, Financial Measures (1996) Act, Hon. B. Boudreau 1228
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 403, ERA - Junior Achievement (Mainland N.S.) Business
Hall of Fame: Izaak Walton Killam [1885-1955] -
Selection Applaud, Dr. J. Hamm 1228
Vote - Affirmative 1228
Res. 404, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Min. - Mandate Seek,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1229
Res. 405, Educ. - East Hants: School Construction - Support,
Mr. R. Carruthers 1229
Vote - Affirmative 1229
Res. 406, Educ. - East Hants: Schools Construction -
Commitment Confirm, Mr. T. Donahoe 1230
Res. 407, URB - Gasoline: Price - Regulate, Mr. J. Holm 1230
Res. 408, Culture - Arts Council: Creation - Applaud,
Mrs. F. Cosman 1231
Vote - Affirmative 1231
Res. 409, Fish./Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Coast Guard Stations
(Port Mouton/Yarmouth): Save - Intervene, Mr. J. Leefe 1231
Res. 410, Col. Musquodoboit Valley MLA - "Illegitimate" Children:
Reference - Apologize, Mrs. L. O'Connor 1232
Res. 411, Metro Food Bank Society (Hfx. Metro): Service -
Commend, Mr. G. Fogarty 1232
Vote - Affirmative 1233
Res. 412, Cape Breton Post - Hollinger Inc. Purchase:
Local Integrity - Maintenance Encourage, Mr. Manning MacDonald 1233
Vote - Affirmative 1233
Res. 413, Culture - Gaelic Council (N.S.): Heritage Promotion -
Commend, Mr. T. Donahoe 1233
Vote - Affirmative 1234
Res. 414, Gov't. (Can.) - Kent Commission Report: Action - Urge,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1234
Res. 415, Young Entrepreneurs (Atlantic Can.) -
Tara Young (Shelburne): Award - Congrats., Mr. C. Huskilson 1235
Vote - Affirmative 1235
Res. 416, Health: Allergy Awareness Month (May 1996) - Recognize,
Mrs. F. Cosman 1235
Vote - Affirmative 1236
Res. 417, Kids Sense - Safety Hero (1996): Kristopher Negus
(Eastern Passage) - Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 1236
Vote - Affirmative 1236
Res. 418, New Waterford Commun. Press - Edward O'Quinn:
Purchaser - Congrats., Mr. R. MacNeil 1236
Vote - Affirmative 1237
Res. 419, Gov't. (N.S.) - Decisions: Compassion - Show,
Mr. B. Taylor 1237
Res. 420, Educ. - Entrepreneur Teacher Award: Gordon Lewis
(Anna. West) - Congrats., Mr. E. Rayfuse 1237
Vote - Affirmative 1238
Res. 421, Nat. Res. - Woodlots: Sustainability - Owners Commend,
Mr. R. White 1238
Vote - Affirmative 1239
Res. 422, District 10 East, Oyster Pond-Jeddore Vol. Fire Dep't.:
Rev. Carson Baxter Service - Gratitude Express,
Mr. K. Colwell 1239
Vote - Affirmative 1239
Res. 423, Leader of the Opposition: Criticism (Gov't. [N.S.]) -
Continual, Hon. R. Mann 1239
Res. 424, Tourism: Shore Club-Hubbards (50th Anniv.) - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Barkhouse 1240
Vote - Affirmative 1240
Res. 425, Educ. - Prince Andrew HS: Project Operation Waverley -
Success Wish, Hon. J. Smith 1240
Vote - Affirmative 1241
Res. 426, ERA - Izzak Walton Killam [1885-1955]:
Economic Contribution - Recognize, Mr. R. Hubbard 1241
Vote - Affirmative 1242
Res. 427, ERA - Publication ("Knowledge is Power") - Commend,
Mrs. L. O'Connor 1242
Res. 428, Lbr. - Union Workers: Role - Commend, Mr. R. White 1242
Vote - Affirmative 1243
Res. 429, Eastern Shore - Sheet Harbour: Banking Serv. (24 hour) -
Opening Applaud, Mr. K. Colwell 1243
Vote - Affirmative 1244
Res. 430, Fin. - Pension Plans: Performance - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Carruthers 1244
Res. 431, Environ. - Beverage Containers: Tax - Recognize,
Mr. J. Holm 1244
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Justice - Halifax Co. Regional Rehabilitation Centre Closure:
CUPE Local 1028 - Concern, Mr. R. Chisholm 1245
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 194, Environ. - Sydney River: Lead Contamination - Solution,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1245
No. 195, URB - Gasoline: Price - Regulate, Mr. J. Holm 1247
No. 196, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Businesses -
Input Tax Credits, Dr. J. Hamm 1248
No. 197, Educ. - East Hants: School Construction - Status,
Mr. T. Donahoe 1250
No. 198, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Advertising Campaign -
Costs, Mr. R. Russell 1251
No. 199, ERA - Bluenose II Preservation Trust: Logo - Authorization,
Mr. T. Donahoe 1253
No. 200, Commun. Serv. - Small Options Homes: Report/Plan -
Table, Mr. R. Chisholm 1255
No. 201, Health - Blood Supply: Management - Meetings [Ottawa],
Mr. G. Moody 1256
No. 202, Nat. Res. - Natural Gas: Development - Areas Serviced,
Mr. G. Archibald 1258
No. 203, Environ. - Oil Refineries: Additive (MMT) - Support,
Mr. B. Taylor 1258
No. 204, Environ. - Stellarton: Strip Mine - Protection,
Dr. J. Hamm 1259
No. 205, Commun. Serv. - N.S. Rehabilitation Centre: Closure -
Plans, Mr. R. Chisholm 1261
No. 206, Environ. - Enviro-Depots: Jobs - Created,
Mr. R. Russell 1263
No. 207, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 104 Western Alignment:
Contract - Signature, Mr. B. Taylor 1264
No. 208, ERA - Tourism: Canada Select - Arrangements,
Mr. D. McInnes 1265
No. 209, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund: Deposits - Receipts,
Mr. R. Russell 1266
No. 210, Justice: Crown Prosecutors - Collective Bargaining,
Mr. J. Holm 1267
No. 211, WCB - Investment Procedures, Mr. R. Russell 1269
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 156, ERA: Jobs - Create, Mr. A. MacLeod 1269
Mr. J. Leefe 1269
Hon. R. Harrison 1271
Mr. R. Chisholm 1274
Mr. B. Taylor 1276
Res. 382, Mun. Affs. - Tax Increases: Downloading - Explain,
Dr. J. Hamm 1278
Dr. J. Hamm 1278
Mr. R. Carruthers 1280
Mr. J. Holm 1283
Mr. T. Donahoe 1285
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Educ.: Gaelic Cultural Awareness - Promote:
Mr. K. MacAskilll 1287
Mr. G. Archibald 1289
Mr. C. MacArthur 1291
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 2nd at 12:00 p.m. 1293
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 432, Agric. - Blueberry Industry: Research Partnerships -
Congrats., Mr. E. Lorraine 1294
NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS:
No. 1, Mun. Affs.: Fire Prevention Act - Changes, Mr. B. Taylor 1295
No. 2, Mun. Affs.: Rural Fire District Act - Changes, Mr. B. Taylor 1295
[Page 1217]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 1996

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Paul MacEwan

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House to order at this time and commence this afternoon's proceedings. Before we begin, are there any introductions of guests? If not, we will move straight to the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1994.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a report of the Psychiatric Facilities Review Board for the year ended March 31, 1996.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

1217

[Page 1218]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, today marks the end of the first month of a program that will provide Nova Scotia with a cleaner environment and a growing economy. (Applause)

The Nova Scotia Solid Waste Management Strategy is already having the desired results. More people are finding jobs in the recycling field, Mr. Speaker. Just as important is the growing sense that protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility.

As of today, there are 374 people working in 85 enviro-centres across Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, 171 of these people have been hired as a direct result of the strategy. These are new jobs. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is just the start of an entirely new field of employment opportunities in Nova Scotia. Those 374 people, as I mentioned, are just the people working at the enviro-depots. Let's not forget the jobs that are to be found in the processing centres in both Lunenburg and here in Halifax.

The Resource Recovery Fund agreements with those two municipal units will ensure a steady stream of recyclables and paycheques. The municipal units are receiving 7.5 cents per beverage container for each one picked up in their blue bags.

The Blue Bag Program, Mr. Speaker, is growing, rather than disappearing as had been claimed by some others. Some of the areas that have initiated Blue Bag Programs since April 1st include Victoria County, the Town of Canso, the Town and District of Shelburne, the Municipality of the District of Chester and most of the municipal units in southwest Nova Scotia, from Digby to Barrington. (Applause)

Colchester County has adopted a very ambitious four stream separation process that includes source separation of organics and bluebagging of recyclables, plus recycling paper and landfilling whatever is left over.

Other areas of the province including Port Hawkesbury are also getting municipal recycling programs under way.

All of these efforts will help Nova Scotia reach the target of a minimum of 50 per cent diversion rate by the end of the decade. Based on this pace, Mr. Speaker, we have every reason to believe that our five year target of 600 new jobs will be easily attained.

Mr. Speaker, this is good news. But even better news is coming for Nova Scotians and their environment. The strategy will mean fewer landfills, more recycling, less groundwater contamination and a cleaner and healthier province.

We have taken the first step along the path to a more sustainable future and already we are seeing the benefits. I take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to thank all Nova Scotians for their willingness to help their environment. I and most of us know that change, even when it is for the better, can be challenging.

[Page 1219]

To recap, Mr. Speaker, the Solid Waste Resource Management Strategy has created 171 new jobs and put this province on a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous road to the future. Based on the environmental and economic progress of the first month, I have every confidence that we will meet, and perhaps even exceed, the targets of 50 per cent diversion and 600 new jobs by the year 2000.

Incidentally, there are 30 new enviro-depots and/or satellites in addition to the existing 55 bottle recyclers in Nova Scotia. A stark contrast to the Opposition's claim of a week ago when we were told that no new jobs, no new enviro-depots would be created. Some claim, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier wishes to make an introduction before we hear the responses.

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to the House, Zas Piracha, who is the President and Managing Director of the Canada-Pakistan Business Development Board, who has been meeting with us here today.

Of particular interest is, I am sure, not the least to the Leader of the Opposition, his wife Cathy, who is actually from New Glasgow. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, this is one of those few occasions when I have not been able to stand and say that I welcome the announcement made by a minister, particularly the Minister of the Environment.

The minister speaks of 374 jobs in the 85 enviro-centres. It would be interesting to know, Mr. Speaker, how many of these enviro-centres, in fact, were up and running under other names in advance of April 1st? One would anticipate that it would be a very significant proportion of those. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, it seems that some of the minister's colleagues are not prepared to accord the same courtesy to me that we accorded to their minister when he made the statement, and allow me to reply to the statement without being interrupted by members, such as the member from Goodwood over here on my right.

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me something of a tragedy when we have a Minister of the Crown arise in this place and thump his chest and claim that he has done a wonderful thing for Nova Scotia by creating 171 jobs when, in fact, he told us at the first of the month it would be 600. I guess we will have to wait for the other 429. When we hear a Minister of the Crown claim that he is doing great things to the Nova Scotian economy when the jobs that he is creating, almost assuredly, are very low paying, probably minimum wage, in likelihood carry little or no benefits with them, and do not provide the opportunity for much future advancement.

It is very sad that these are the kinds of jobs upon which this government is hanging the hat of the people of Nova Scotia when, in fact, we are living in a high-tech economy and it is jobs at the other end of the economic scale that we should be looking to hang our hats on.

Mr. Speaker, the minister tries to take credit for the curb-side recycling opportunities that have been made available to Nova Scotia. They have not been available as a result of what this minister has done, they have been available to municipalities as a result of the hard work of the men and the women who provide good, solid municipal government throughout this province. It is wrong for the minister to try to recycle from the good efforts, the honest efforts of those municipalities into his own bag of goodies, the credit for creating [Page 1220]

those Blue Bag Programs. With respect to the recycling depots, I believe the two that he mentioned were well underway in advance of any thrust taken by this government respecting recycling. (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, the members do not seem to like my words respecting this, but I will share with them the words from two ends of our province. From the Bridgewater Bulletin, "Councillor Bea Larder said her constituents are angry about the speed of the program's implementation and what is perceived as a lack of information.". From the other end of the province in Pictou County, this is from Lonie Ferguson, Pictou County Solid Waste Supervisor, "Such a system will be hard on seniors and apartment dwellers . . . especially for disposing of food substances that would decompose if they could not be delivered to a compost site quickly.".

Mr. Speaker, it used to be that we associated gulling and crowing with landfills. It would seem that the gulling and crowing have now moved into the office of the Minister of the Environment. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East wishes to make an introduction.

MR. WAYNE FRASER: Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to the House, I would like to introduce two distinguished guests in our west gallery today, Councillor Rose MacKenzie and Ida Stalker. I would ask Rose and Ida to please stand and receive a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think that the minister's announcement of today points out how bankrupt this government is in terms of being able to make announcements and their desperate efforts to try to find something that they can announce that they want to pretend is positive news.

[2:15 p.m.]

You know, Mr. Speaker, the minister across the way stands up and I am sure his arms, just like his colleagues', are getting tired from whaling themselves on the back in terms of self-congratulations. The minister is talking about 171 new jobs being created. That will go a very small way to help replace some of the 8,000 jobs that have been lost in the Province of Nova Scotia since the start of this year. There are 8,000 gone and the minister stands up and brags about 171 jobs, minimum wage undoubtedly, short-term jobs, short hours. They are not full-time jobs, they won't have the benefits, and this minister stands up to try to congratulate himself on that.

This minister stands up and he does talk about the fact that there are 35 new depots across the province. Mr. Speaker, I heard that figure, but what the minister didn't say is that those depots have been given a monopoly, a geographic monopoly and that any business that

[Page 1221]

wants to set up a depot that can meet the criteria cannot get involved, they can't get a contract unless this minister's Resource Recovery Fund board decides that they are. That is in opposition to free enterprise in the Province of Nova Scotia and it is creating a monopoly which this government supposedly is opposed to. The Premier leads the cheerleaders in that regard.

Mr. Speaker, the minister also stands up and says, oh, we are going to meet our 50 per cent objective. Well, how unimaginative can you be? Setting a level at 50 per cent is such a low, paltry level that you can hardly do anything not to meet it. Nova Scotians are demanding a much higher rate of return than that and progressive countries and progressive regions across this country are striving for levels that actually create a challenge, somewhere in the range of 85 per cent.

We have, for far too long, been throwing resources away in landfills; that is a disgrace that has to come to an end. It is something that Nova Scotians and all thinking people, indeed, want. In addition, Mr. Speaker, this is the same minister who is congratulating himself right now, who runs around and tells people that the 10 cent fee imposed is not a tax. He runs around trying to pretend that it is not a tax because it is collected by his Resource Recovery Fund instead of by the Minister of Finance.

I say to the minister, let's get serious, let's increase the amount we are going after, let the province take some constructive leadership in this program and let's have the minister come back from the clouds. When you take a look and you are talking about job creation in the Province of Nova Scotia, maybe you can deal with your colleagues and try to get back the other over 7,829 jobs that were down as a result of this government's policies.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness, with an introduction.

MR. CHARLES MACARTHUR: Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I introduce to you and, through you, to all members of the House, the Gaelic Society for the Province of Nova Scotia. I don't have all their names, but I will name the ones I have: Ken Nilsen, Frances MacEachen, Jim Watson and their friends. I would ask them to please stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I hope this is received with a little more enthusiasm than the previous statement by a minister.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Student Internship Employment Program is being offered again this year by the province. (Applause) Under the program, approximately 260 forestry related jobs will be available to Nova Scotia students this summer. It will provide 10 weeks of employment for 260 high school and university students, from the middle of June until late August.

Under the Resource Enhancement Fund, the province, through the Department of Natural Resources, is providing $700,000 for this program. High school and post-secondary students who are residents of Nova Scotia and are age 16 or older are eligible to apply.

Application forms for these jobs will be available this week at the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources offices across the province and at Canada Employment Centres as well. Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, May 24th.

[Page 1222]

Students employed under the program will assist department staff in a variety of activities such as: forest renewal; wildlife research; forest protection; boundary line clearing and maintenance; and other forestry related work. The province is pleased to fund this program. It creates summer jobs for 260 students and demonstrates our government's commitment to assist young people in Nova Scotia.

In addition to the jobs provided under the Student Internship Program, my department will maintain another 130 seasonal jobs this year in our provincial parks system; $300,000 to help offset the cost of these seasonal jobs has been provided by the Economic Renewal Agency. These two programs demonstrate our government's commitment to help provide summer jobs for students as well as for the unemployed. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East on an introduction.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to all members of this House, I want to take this opportunity of introducing a number of people from the corridor area in my constituency of Hants East. These people are members of the HEET Task Force, that is the Hants East Educational Task Force. The purpose for which they are here today is to explain to all members of the House the serious need for the construction of schools in the corridor area in Hants East as quickly as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I support what these people are petitioning for. (Applause) I also want to make specific mention of a councillor from my area, the councillor for Lantz is here - that is in Hants East - Councillor Tingley, and I wonder if all members of this House would ask the visitors to rise and receive our most sincere and warm welcome. (Applause)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to welcome the visitors to our gallery. The HEET organization has been working extremely hard and we can't emphasize how important it is that an elementary school and a middle school be built in the community.

Mr. Speaker, on the statement by the Minister of Natural Resources, I am very pleased to rise and commend the minister and the government for coming forward with this Student Internship Employment Program. I hope that the government won't accuse me of being politically mischievous when I say that this is a carry-over of a program that was started by the previous administration and it is very encouraging that this government sees the need to continue programs in the forest industry. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I have stated on many occasions that forestry and the resource in this province is being harvested at an alarming rate. I am pleased to see that 260 jobs will be provided to our high school and university students. No issue is more important to the young people of Nova Scotia, once they get out of high school and university, than being able to go to work and finding a job. I think everybody in this House gets calls from students looking for summer employment. So I commend the government for coming forward with 260 jobs. I believe last year when the previous minister made a statement, I think it was relative to approximately 300 jobs, so we are seeing a decrease in the number of jobs, but nonetheless, I am pleased that this minister has come forward with the Student Internship Employment Program. Hopefully the 260 jobs will increase somewhere along the line to about 500 or 600 jobs. That would suit me better. Thank you.

[Page 1223]

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to welcome the guests here who are representing their communities and the desperate need that they face in trying to have a school built in their community. It has been a long-held promise by former governments, as well as this government, and we wish them well. We will assist them in any way we can to help them put pressure on this government to move forward.

With respect to the statement by the Minister of Natural Resources, clearly we support the Student Internship Employment Program. I don't have the figures with me now, but I do recall, Mr. Speaker, that there has been a significant reduction in the amount of money and the number of jobs that this government will be creating in the summer for students. That has happened each and every year, a combination of both the federal and provincial governments, there has been a significant backing off of the commitment to provide summer job opportunities for students. That, certainly, is a shame.

I would also say, though, that these jobs are not only important for high school and university students, the few jobs that are here, but they are important for the people who are doing this work on a regular basis because in the Department of Natural Resources, as in other departments across this government, there has been a significant reduction in the number of staff that are in place in order to complete these programs and certainly those regular staff will enjoy the assistance they will receive from these students. Again, these students will certainly learn a great deal about important activities, Mr. Speaker, including forest renewal, wildlife research, forest protection, boundary line clearing and maintenance and other forestry related work.

So, clearly my caucus, Mr. Speaker, supports the program. We do, though, want it to be placed on the record that we think that it is shameful, to say the least, that both the provincial and the federal levels of government are cutting back on their commitment to provide job opportunities for students every year since they have been in power.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria on behalf of the Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 396

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

Whereas the Gaels who immigrated to Nova Scotia from the highland regions of Scotland during the last two centuries have contributed greatly to the cultural diversity of Nova Scotia and Canada; and

Whereas the preservation and promotion of the Gaelic language and culture is fundamental to ensuring the legacy of our forbearers and preserving our cultural heritage for future generations; and

Whereas the Gaels whose language and culture has held great influence in our province and country will be celebrating the Feast of Bealltainn on May 1st;

[Page 1224]

Therefore be it resolved that I, Kennie MacAskill, on behalf of the Honourable John MacEachern, Minister of Education and Culture for Nova Scotia, do hereby proclaim the month of May 1996 as Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month in Nova Scotia. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I 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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of the Technology and Science Secretariat.

RESOLUTION NO. 397

HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Nova Scotia science and technology research continues to exhibit tremendous creativity as evidenced in a Nova Scotia research project to calculate calcium growth in mussels which will take place aboard a U.S. space mission in May; and

Whereas Dr. Dan Jackson, a researcher at Dalhousie University, is using the mussels in outer space to conduct tests on osteoporosis, a bone weakening disease that affects about 1.5 million Canadians; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia blue mussel from Aqua Prime Mussel Ranch Limited was a prime research choice because the calcium growth in its shell is similar to that seen in humans;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate all the participants in this outer space research project and acknowledge the world-class research in science and technology which is occurring within this province.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.

[Page 1225]

[2:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 398

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

Whereas today is Women Entrepreneurs Awareness Day in Atlantic Canada, a day organized by the Association of Atlantic Women Business Owners; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Government, through the Economic Renewal Agency, is in partnership with AAWBO in its efforts to promote entrepreneurship among women throughout the province; and

Whereas the growth in female entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia has doubled, rising from 20 per cent to 40 per cent since 1976, and including such success stories as Grace White of CanJam Trading; Liz Crocker and Ann Caverzan of P'lovers; Diane Crowell of Crowell Seafoods; Linda Beckett of Valley Cleaning Services; Eileen Reid of A.P. Reid Insurance, recent Nova Scotia nominees and winners of the Atlantic and Canadian Women's Entrepreneur of the Year Award;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the valuable contribution that women entrepreneurs make to the Nova Scotia economy, and that we congratulate them on their proven success within the business world.

Mr. Speaker, I 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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 399

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

Whereas Softball Canada held its annual meeting in Saint John, New Brunswick this past weekend; and

Whereas Les Wilson, Executive Director of Softball Nova Scotia, was inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame at that meeting; and

Whereas Mr. Wilson is one of only two Nova Scotians who have been inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame;

[Page 1226]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend to Mr. Wilson their congratulations and best wishes on his receiving this high honour, and thank him for his untiring dedication in the promotion of softball as a healthy form of competition, recreation and enjoyment for all Nova Scotians.

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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 400

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

Whereas multiple sclerosis, the most common neurological disease afflicting young adults in Canada today, has no known cause or cure; and

Whereas approximately 1 in every 500 Atlantic Canadians has multiple sclerosis; and

Whereas the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Atlantic Division, is a charitable organization dedicated to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and to enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize May as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, and commend the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Atlantic Division, for its ongoing efforts to raise funds and increase public awareness about this unfortunate disease.

I would ask for waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker, 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. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 401

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

[Page 1227]

Whereas May 1st has been proclaimed Women Entrepreneurs Awareness Day; and

Whereas the number of self-employed women in Canada has increased at a phenomenal rate in the last 20 years and women entrepreneurs have become a significant force in the Nova Scotia economy; and

Whereas the Atlantic Association of Women Business Owners, representing almost 600 women entrepreneurs across the Atlantic Provinces, with seven local chapters in Nova Scotia, is sponsoring special events today, including professional development seminars, speakers and networking events for women business owners; and

Whereas the enterprising spirit, hard work and confidence of small business owners, are the critical element in the economic renewal of this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the valuable contributions of women entrepreneurs to the economy and life of the province, and wish them well on the occasion of Women Entrepreneurs Awareness Day.

Mr. Speaker, I 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.

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 402

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

Whereas over 300 student volunteers at Oxford School in Halifax are actively involved in a program whereby they devote their own free time in performing numerous good works throughout their community; and

Whereas the students of Oxford School are assisting in ways which range from helping food banks to providing company for senior citizens; and

Whereas Sheila Fougere, a teacher at Oxford School, has played an important role in coordinating this important program;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations to Sheila Fougere and the student volunteers of Oxford School for their outstanding contributions to the citizens and associations in their community.

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

[Page 1228]

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 18 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Bernard Boudreau)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 403

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

Whereas Izaak Walton Killam is to be honoured posthumously by induction into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame; and

Whereas the head of the Selection Panel said, "Killam upheld the ideals of leadership and entrepreneurial initiative . . ."; and

Whereas the generosity of this native of Yarmouth to the people of Nova Scotia is remembered, among other ways, by the Killam Library at Dalhousie and the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the posthumous selection of Izaak Walton Killam to the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame and congratulate the members of Junior Achievement of Mainland Nova Scotia for their initiative in creating the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

[Page 1229]

RESOLUTION NO. 404

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

Whereas Sheila Copps has finally done the right thing and lived up to her promise to resign because the Liberal Government failed to abolish the GST; and

Whereas Sheila Copps is just the most obvious flip-flopper among hundreds of elected Liberals, federal and provincial, who have flip-flopped on the GST; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance in this government has flip-flopped on his pre-election commitment to a Fair Tax Commission Inquiry before any harmonization of the GST and PST;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Minister of Finance to follow the example set by Sheila Copps, resign his seat and seek a mandate from his constituents in a by-election, before proceeding with harmonization.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 405

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

Whereas the people of Hants East have long awaited the construction of two new schools which were promised by the previous Conservative Government but left without provision for funding; and

Whereas I stand with the people of Hants East in awaiting the construction of these much-needed schools; and

Whereas in my numerous discussions with the Department of Education and Culture, the department has assured me that these schools will be built in a timely fashion;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly support the efforts of the people of Hants East to have these schools built with due haste, for the benefit of all students in Hants East.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It appears to be agreed.

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

The motion is carried, unanimously.

[Page 1230]

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 406

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

Whereas the parents of elementary school children in Hants East have believed, for some time now, that a badly needed school construction program for their area was imminent; and

Whereas the construction program would replace old and outmoded buildings; and

Whereas the member for Hants East publicly reassured the parents of Hants East on January 10, 1996, that the middle school would be constructed in the 1996-97 fiscal year with the elementary school set to begin in the 1997-98 fiscal year;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education confirm the commitment of the construction of these two badly needed schools.

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

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 407

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

Whereas in less than three weeks gasoline companies have chosen to gouge Nova Scotians by increasing gasoline prices by close to 40 per cent; and

Whereas the Tory Government in 1991, with the support of the Liberals while in Opposition, removed the regulatory powers of the Utility and Review Board to protect vulnerable consumers against unjustified and usurious price-gouging practices by the gasoline companies; and

Whereas the Liberals must have fantasies of millions of loonies and twoonies dancing in their heads as they contemplate the massive tax grab that will result when the harmonized BST with its 8 per cent increase in provincial sales tax in imposed upon these already exorbitant gasoline prices;

Therefore be it resolved that the government protect Nova Scotians against obscene price increases like they have witnessed over the past three weeks aimed at fattening the bottom lines of gasoline companies by restoring to the Utility and Review Board the ability to regulate maximum prices based upon true costs and a fair return, instead of the current system which is based upon greed.

[Page 1231]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.

RESOLUTION NO. 408

MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Nova Scotia's first Arts Council has been created to function at arm's length from government and award grants to artists based on peer assessment and merit; and

Whereas the council's 15 members come from across the province and include Bedford resident, Ms. Ninette Babineau, a well-known arts education consultant, professional musician and adjudicator; and

Whereas the new Arts Council will help create a climate that fosters excellence, diversity and vitality in the arts, while providing necessary financial assistance for the development of arts and culture throughout Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly applaud the creation of Nova Scotia's first Arts Council and congratulate the council's 15 new members, while acknowledging the ardent leadership of Premier Savage and Education and Culture Minister John MacEachern in the establishment of Nova Scotia's first Arts Council.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 409

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 Canadian Coast Guard continues to move marine safety related personnel and facilities out of Nova Scotia ports; and

Whereas Port Mouton is on the federal Liberal Government chopping block; and

Whereas the Yarmouth Coast Guard radio station is also on the federal Liberal Government chopping block with personnel already being transferred to Saint John;

[Page 1232]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature request the Nova Scotia Ministers of Fisheries and Transportation to intervene with the federal government in an effort to save Coast Guard operations in Port Mouton and in Yarmouth.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 410

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 Canadians were shocked by the racist and homophobic remarks of Reform MP Bob Ringma when he said that he would fire people who were homosexual or Black if it cost his business money; and

Whereas in a similar fashion to Mr. Ringma's remarks, the MLA for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley referred to children born to single mothers by using the pejorative and outdated term illegitimate; and

Whereas the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has often expressed Reform Party-like views, while press reports indicated that he was flirting with a Reform Party membership;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley apologize for his reference to children of single mothers as illegitimate or join the Reform Party, who may be more open to his outdated views.

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 411

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

Whereas the Metro Food Bank Society held its annual volunteer recognition dinner on April 22, 1996, at Fairview United Church; and

Whereas during the last year, more than 200 volunteers contributed 6,929 hours helping in the office, warehouse, transportation and special events; and

Whereas the society provides food for more than 35 member agencies, assisting more than 12,000 families per month;

[Page 1233]

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Metro Food Bank Society for its ongoing service to the greater metro community.

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

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 412

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

Whereas yesterday, it was announced that Hollinger Incorporated, a Conrad Black corporation, is buying the Cape Breton Post; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Post is staffed by a group of hard-working professionals who produce a quality product day in and day out; and

Whereas the Cape Breton community relies on the Cape Breton Post for local news, local events and entertainment;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House encourage the new owner of the Cape Breton Post to maintain the local integrity of the newspaper and to maintain the high quality, professional staff at current or expanded levels.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 413

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

[Page 1234]

Whereas May has been designated the first ever Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month in Nova Scotia, with May 1st marking the observance of Bealltainn, an important Celtic feast day; and

Whereas the Gaelic language and culture has been influential in the development of Nova Scotia and Canada, with both Angus L. Macdonald and Sir John A. Macdonald fluent in the Gaelic language; and

Whereas the purpose of Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month is to promote the Gaelic language and culture through newspaper submissions, information seminars, workshops and, of course, the ceilidh - the Gaelic word meaning a gathering;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia for their efforts and wish its members the best of luck in promoting such an important part of Nova Scotia's heritage.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 414

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 Hollinger media octopus owned by Conrad Black has extended its tentacles into our province, with the acquisition of three newspapers in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Conrad Black has made no secret of his opposition to federal equalization and transfer payments, and has said that if Atlantic Canadians want the same standard of living as Albertans they should move to Calgary; and

Whereas it is a matter of grave concern when a proprietor with such views takes over three-fifths of the daily newspapers in this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Chretien Government to dust off the Kent Commission Report and take action to prevent further concentration of newspaper media ownership in this province and this country.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 1235]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 415

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

Whereas the 1996 Young Entrepreneurs Going Places Trade Fair and awards ceremony took place April 27, 1996, with up to 550 delegates and over 180 business people; and

Whereas notable entrepreneurs were presented with awards in six major categories, including the Customer Service Award given to a business for going above and beyond the mere servicing of clients; and

Whereas this year's recipient for Outstanding Customer Service is Tara Young, from the Shelburne Regional High School, who offered an exceptional option to parents who were unable to secure care for their children during March Break;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly extend congratulations to all the participants and award winners, including Tara Young for her creativity in caring for children at Tara Young's March Break Day Camp and to extend to all Nova Scotian entrepreneurs success in their business futures.

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 Bedford-Fall River.

RESOLUTION NO. 416

MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas May is designated as Allergy Awareness Month; and

Whereas one in five Nova Scotians suffer from allergies; and

Whereas the Lung Association of Nova Scotia provides assistance and information on allergy-proofing homes and work areas to help people who suffer from allergies;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize May as Allergy Awareness Month and encourage and support the Lung Association of Nova Scotia for all its efforts to improve the lifestyle of people with allergies.

[Page 1236]

Mr. Speaker, I request 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.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 417

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

Whereas the Kids Sense Week is a national program to familiarize young people and their families with everyday safety; and

Whereas the Kids Sense Program sponsors the Safety Hero Award to children who demonstrate strength of character and common sense in a crisis situation; and

Whereas Kristopher Negus from Tallahassee Community School in Eastern Passage was recently honoured with the 1996 Safety Hero Award for knowing how to alert the fire department during a recent fire in his home;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations to Kristopher for learning his lessons well at the Learn Not to Burn Program offered during Fire Prevention Week and commend Kristopher for using his common sense in saving his home from serious fire damage.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 418

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 people of New Waterford, as in other communities, enjoy seeing their reflections and concerns brought forth in the media; and

[Page 1237]

Whereas the New Waterford Community Press is a local newspaper; and

Whereas the newspaper was recently bought by Mr. Edward O'Quinn;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Edward O'Quinn on his acquisition of the New Waterford Community Press and wish him every success in the future.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 419

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 Mayor of Oxford recently said, "We are dealing with a government without a conscience and a government without a conscience is without a soul and a government without a soul is sure to die"; and

Whereas it is obvious the present government is running the province without a conscience because of decisions such as the tolling of Highway No. 104, a thirst tax and the addition of $80 million in extra taxes after campaigning on a promise not to raise them; and

Whereas it is obvious the present Liberal Government is lacking a soul when decisions such as a lawsuit against Debra Stevens are initiated and public sector employees are told they are out of a job without any advance warning;

Therefore be it resolved that this government begin understanding the resolve of Nova Scotians and begin making decisions on issues such as health care, unemployment and education that show compassion and understanding of the needs of Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 420

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

[Page 1238]

Whereas the 1996 Youth Entrepreneurs Awards were given out on April 27, 1996, recognizing exceptional high school students and teachers committed to entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas the Entrepreneur Teacher Award, sponsored by the Department of Education and Culture, is given to a teacher who is extraordinary in motivating and assisting students to recognize entrepreneurship as a viable career option; and

Whereas this year's award recipient is Gordon Lewis from the Annapolis West Education Centre who is able to bring his own unique experiences into the classroom;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly commend the Department of Education and Culture for promoting this celebrated initiative and extend congratulations to Gordon Lewis for his significant role in a number of successful ventures.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for waiver 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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 421

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

Whereas Natural Resources Minister, the Honourable Eleanor Norrie, has announced $6.4 million in provincial funding for forestry development on private woodlots in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas these funds will sustain vital silviculture programs across the province, including site preparation, planting, thinning, shelterwood cuts and other approved silviculture treatments; and

Whereas in addition to these projects, the Department of Natural Resources is sourcing new approaches to sustainable forest management in cooperation with the Coalition of Nova Scotia Forest Interests;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the efforts being undertaken by the Department of Natural Resources and private woodlot owners to ensure sustainable forest management throughout Nova Scotia.

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

[Page 1239]

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 Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 422

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

Whereas the Reverend Carson Baxter, Rector of St. Stephen's Anglican Parish in Ship Harbour and surrounding communities, is well known in the community for his many volunteer activities and is presently recuperating from an illness; and

Whereas the Reverend Baxter has been an active volunteer firefighter in Nova Scotia for 42 years and is currently a firefighter in District 10 East, Oyster Pond-Jeddore Volunteer Fire Department and Chaplain to the Sackville Volunteer Fire Department; and

Whereas volunteer firefighters such as Reverend Carson Baxter exemplify the great commitment that so many Nova Scotians have to their province and local communities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House express its gratitude to the Reverend Carson Baxter for his 42 years of dedicated service as a volunteer firefighter throughout Nova Scotia and extend its best wishes for a speedy recovery to Reverend Baxter as he continues to recuperate.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver 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 Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 423

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

Whereas the Leader of the Official Opposition, during his ascendancy to the Tory throne just several months ago, told Nova Scotians that when the government does something right, I will be the first to applaud that action; and

[Page 1240]

Whereas since becoming the Leader of the Tory Party, the member for Pictou Centre has done nothing but berate, criticize, downplay, dismiss or ignore any accomplishments of the government; and

Whereas to that member, a balanced budget is easy, Bernie is just lucky, tax reductions are insignificant and everything else is doom and gloom;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that the Leader of the Opposition has quickly become just another typical Tory, criticizing everything in his path and demonstrating not one original thought or alternative of his own, making his Party difficult to distinguish from the NDP. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries.

[3:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 424

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

Whereas the Shore Club in Hubbards is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 1996; and

Whereas the Shore Club is renowned world-wide for its warm hospitality, fine entertainment and sumptuous lobster dinners; and

Whereas it was opened in 1946 by Roy Harnish, building the dance hall floor using lumber surplus to the military and is today operated to Rhys Harnish, a dynamic and dedicated leader in Nova Scotia's tourism industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate the Shore Club as a model of a family owned and operated business, hosting Nova Scotians and visitors from around the world through memorable occasions of entertainment and enjoyment.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 425

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

[Page 1241]

Whereas between May 1 and May 3, 1996, 75 students from Prince Andrew High School's Geography 431 class will be surveying homes, schools, businesses along the Waverley Road/Main Street in Dartmouth East, to determine community safety needs; and

Whereas Project Operation Waverley is unique to Nova Scotia and Canada and the third major survey project undertaken by Prince Andrew High School over the past two years; and

Whereas this contribution by students to the betterment of their city is an excellent example of classroom knowledge being enacted into positive practice;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of the Prince Andrew High School students and their teacher, Mr. Greg King, in wishing them well in this very important community project.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 426

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

Whereas Yarmouth native, Izaak Walton Killam, began his business career working with Lord Beaverbrook at Royal Securities, an investment firm, and went on to purchase the company; and

Whereas Mr. Killam established Mersey Pulp and Paper, controlled Nova Scotia Light and Power, Moirs Limited, Acadia Sugar Refinery and the Avon River Power Company; and

Whereas Izaak Walton Killam will be this year's second inductee into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly recognize the late Izaak Walton Killam as a business leader who contributed greatly to the economy of Nova Scotia and Canada.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

[Page 1242]

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

The motion is carried.

An introduction now? Go ahead.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. RICHARD HUBBARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to introduce two people seated in the west gallery, two prominent Yarmouth citizens, Liz and Jack DeGooyer. They are the owners of Bonda Textiles in Yarmouth but, having said that, they are also very active as community volunteers in the Y and hospital boards and so on. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask them to stand and receive the applause of this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 427

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 Economic Renewal Agency's yearly publication is Nova Scotia - Open to the World; and

Whereas the recent edition, titled Knowledge is Power, profiles the 12 outstanding institutions of post-secondary education and the diverse community college system in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is fast becoming the choice of a growing number of students who demand excellence in higher education;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly commend the Honourable Robert Harrison, Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, and department staff for providing this notable publication highlighting the programs, facilities and the quality of life to be enjoyed when choosing to study in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 428

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

[Page 1243]

Whereas union workers in Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury and throughout Nova Scotia are making a positive contribution to the economic growth and well-being of this province; and

Whereas as an example, union workers at Seafreez Limited in Canso have worked responsibly with management to create a skilled, dependable production team that has created renewed optimism in the region; and

Whereas in another example, union workers at Stora Forest Industries Limited have worked collaboratively with management to produce appropriate solutions and strategies resulting in a stable, reliable workforce which generates confidence for continued growth in the resource sector;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly acknowledge the significant role of responsible union workers in creating a highly skilled and dependable workforce in Nova Scotia that is second to none.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 429

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

Whereas today a bank machine is being officially opened at the Scotia Bank branch in Sheet Harbour, an event of great economic consequence for the entire Eastern Shore; and

Whereas until today, there has been no banking machine along the Eastern Shore from Musquodoboit Harbour to past Sherbrooke, forcing residents, businesses, merchants and tourists to drive more than 40 miles to obtain after-hours banking services; and

Whereas my efforts to have a bank machine in Sheet Harbour have been supported by tourist operators, local businesses, community organizations and residents alike;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the importance of 24 hour banking services for the economic growth and well-being of non-urban regions of the province, such as the Eastern Shore, and applaud Scotia Bank's decision to open a banking machine in Sheet Harbour.

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

[Page 1244]

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, unanimously.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 430

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

Whereas public servants and teachers have good news regarding funding for their pension plans which had previously been in a difficult position; and

Whereas for the first time in its history, the Public Service Superannuation Plan is 100 per cent funded; and

Whereas the Teachers' Pension Plan, which had been in disarray under the previous government, is today estimated to be 78 per cent funded;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the efforts made by officials in the Department of Finance and the good management of the Minister of Finance in bringing these pension plans to good health and financial security.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 431

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 Minister of the Environment, in writing Nova Scotians who complain about the 10 cent per beverage container deposit system, persists in telling them it is not a tax; and

Whereas the minister says this is not a tax because the Liberal Government decided to have its 10 cent per container non-tax collected by the Resource Recovery Fund instead of the Department of Finance; and

Whereas instead of charging the producers of waste, the government has chosen to force consumers, many of whom will be unable to return their containers for the 50 per cent rebate, to pay double his new consumer tax;

[Page 1245]

Therefore be it resolved this House acknowledges that despite the government's lack of faith in the intelligence of Nova Scotians, people are smart enough to see through the Liberals' hocus-pocus and recognize the Liberals' new tax on beverage containers for what it is, and that is another consumption tax.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader has asked me to revert to the order of business, Presenting and Reading Petitions.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and to the Government House Leader. I have a number of petitions here submitted by Local 1028 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, these are staff members at the Halifax County Regional Rehabilitation Centre. These people are concerned about plans to shut that institution down, without a plan and they have had a petition signed among people in the communities and elsewhere.

I have and will be tabling 143 pages containing 3,854 signatures, Mr. Speaker. I have also affixed my signature to these petitions.

MR. SPEAKER: The petitions are tabled.

That would appear then to conclude the items that are under the daily routine. I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 o'clock. The winner this afternoon, actually there are two names on this - Charles MacArthur and Kenneth MacAskill - is it a joint submission? The two honourable members jointly and severally have won the draw and their topic is:

Therefore be it resolved that during Nova Scotia's first Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month we the members of this Legislature promote awareness of the Gaelic culture and language.

So we will hear the honourable members, perhaps they may be singing a duet, but whichever one of them wishes to go first may have the floor first at 6:00 p.m.

Now, we will advance to Orders of the Day. The Oral Question Period today lasts for 90 minutes, from 3:12 p.m. until 4:42 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

ENVIRON. - SYDNEY RIVER: LEAD CONTAMINATION - SOLUTION

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of the Environment. If I could, before I start, I would like to make an introduction in the west gallery?

[Page 1246]

MR. SPEAKER: Your time.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to call to the attention of this House, two individuals who are seated in the west gallery who are residents of the constituency of Cape Breton West and are also people who have been affected by the situation of the lead contamination in the Sydney River area, and that would be Gordon and Dorothy MacKenzie. I would ask this House to give them the normal warm welcome. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, again, my question through you is to the Minister of the Environment. As we have talked several times in this House regarding the situation in Sydney River that has affected a number of families and last night the late debate here was about this very situation. There had been a ministerial order issued involving the home of the MacKenzies, and as of 1:55 p.m. today their lawyer has told me that they have never had any communication with PetroCanada and they certainly have got no cheque in their hands. Last night during the late debate, I challenged the minister to bring forward any information he had saying that the ministerial order had been complied with and if it hasn't been complied with, I had asked and challenged the minister if indeed he would put the full force of his office behind his ministerial order.

I would like to ask the minister if, indeed, that order has been filled or if he could explain to us why it hasn't?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the question so that I can repeat what I said last night during the late debate for the benefit of others, that the deal was offered on April 16th. I can tell you that on April 26th the MacKenzie family made a formal acceptance, according to my documents, and that was a reply to my correspondence of an earlier date.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that PetroCanada is or has, I don't know in what state it is, but indeed they have honoured the ministerial order and have issued instructions to the lawyers, both in my department and PetroCanada, and I am sure to the MacKenzies', that a settlement has been reached.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister would mind tabling that document that he just read from?

Mr. Speaker, it is very obvious to me, and I think to other people, that what is going on here is not right. Now, the minister says that he has confirmation that a deal has been reached yet the family affected by this has no knowledge of that. They have had no communications from PetroCanada. None.

[3:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, fair is fair; the ministerial order was supposed to be complied with by April 30th, which was yesterday. My question to the minister is, seeing how much mis-communication has taken place, knowing that there have been major mistakes made by the Department of the Environment - in this case, letting it drag on for four years - I would like for the minister to get up and tell this House today that he is going to have a full inquiry into this cover-up that has taken place?

[Page 1247]

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the member has asked for a full inquiry into the cover-up that has taken place. I made it clear last night, and I repeat today, that it is not a cover-up but a clean-up that we have performed in this regard. (Interruption) Indeed, PetroCanada did get the lead out, for the member for Queens' information. The lead is out. The management cleaned up, not covered up, and I do stand by my commitment that my ministerial order has been executed. PetroCanada has responded, and I can only refer the honourable member and his associates to the lawyer who represented the case.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again my question is directed to the Minister of the Environment. The people involved in this case - the MacKenzies and the other people in the Parkdale area of Sydney River - are not satisfied that the proper things have been done. The minister has had ample opportunity to exercise the authority of his office.

I have one more request, Mr. Speaker. It is that the minister contact the families personally and inform them what he has just informed this House, because I can tell you that the people in that area, the people who have been directly affected by this matter, take little comfort in those words. Will this minister speak with the MacKenzies at the end of Question Period and will he contact the other people in that area?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I will take the member's request under advisement. I would like to point out, when I say that, that I just had a hand-delivered note here that PetroCanada is delivering a cheque to the MacKenzies on Monday. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

URB - GASOLINE: PRICE - REGULATE

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you, sir, to the Premier.

Back in 1991, the former government removed from the Utility and Review Board the powers to regulate the maximum price that can be charged for gasoline to retailers here in Nova Scotia. Over the last number of weeks we are certainly starting to see the consequences of that. Today, the prices were cranked up another 5 cents, on top of the huge increase that just took place a couple of days ago, and that amounts to close to a 40 per cent increase in approximately three weeks. That is something that is going to costing Nova Scotians literally hundreds of extra dollars a year.

My question to the Premier is quite simple, through you, Mr. Speaker. Will the Premier assure Nova Scotians that he will restore to the Utility and Review Board the powers to monitor and to regulate the maximum price that they can charge - that is that the gasoline companies can charge to consumers - so that the kind of usury prices that we have been seeing charged now will, in fact, cease?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, no.

MR. HOLM: Well, here is the Premier and the government that says they are so intense on providing to Nova Scotians these huge tax and great savings, yet this Premier is unprepared to step in and return a regulatory power that will ensure that Nova Scotians are not going to be ripped off to the tune of literally millions of dollars and hundreds of extra dollars to the individual families.

[Page 1248]

My question to the Premier is quite simply this. How high is the Premier prepared to allow those companies to go? How much gouging is he prepared to allow to continue to go on before his government will step in and ensure that there is a proper regulatory regime in place that would make sure that the price is not going to be usury, and that it will actually protect Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I do hope that Hansard is able to distinguish insinuations from questions. We never get a straight question from this person, but it is couched with insinuations and larded with what one must call literature. We have a free economy; we have a Utility and Review Board that has done its duty in the past and, under the circumstances, I am quite sure that the market economy will restore the price of gas. There will be ups and downs but I do not believe that in the kind of ham-fisted way, with all due respect to the Opposition, that is urged by the speaker over there who would like the kind of controlled society that his Party normally supports, I don't believe that it is necessary.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I can certainly understand and see the compassion that this Premier has for Nova Scotians. In a few months, as a result of the Minister of Finance, the Premier and the Liberal colleagues, harmonization under this new BST, the new blended sales tax, there is going to be an additional 8 per cent imposed upon those gas prices. That is going to bring the price up to approximately 69 cents a litre for consumers. My question to the Premier is quite simply this, is the reason you are refusing to take any kind of responsible action because you have loonies and twoonies dancing through your head and you see this as a great opportunity for the greatest tax grab in the province . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Now that question is not properly posed at all. Questions have to be addressed to the Chair. You haven't addressed the Chair, you have been shouting across the way and I ask you to please address the Chair.

MR. HOLM: My question through you, Mr. Speaker, I believe I prefaced it through you, is the reason that the government is refusing to take action because the government sees this as a major way to increase the tax grab that they are going to be getting from that BST harmonization?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have now the ultimate prognostication. He knows what the price is going to be, one year from now, when the harmonization process will occur. What kind of genius is there lurking on that bench that knows these prices, that is able to look forward? (Interruption) As usual, they are inconsistent in what they want controlled and what they don't want controlled. That is nothing new but I would like to use his great power some time, perhaps I could use it for my RRSPs or something. It might be very useful.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

FIN. - PST & GST HARMONIZATION: BUSINESSES - INPUT TAX CREDITS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance. Now it has been almost two weeks since the Minister of Finance confirmed to Nova Scotians that his government is contemplating harmonizing our taxes. He was able to make some projections that would create some 3,500 new jobs and he talked about a very significant growth in the Nova Scotia economy. Yet, businesses that are involved in selling services say, this new harmonization will tax our product. I think the minister would confirm that the blended tax will be accrued by services provided by these businesses. Yet the minister tries to pacify business in saying, look it is going to be all right because you will get input tax credits.

Now my question for the minister is - because I can't find any other Nova Scotian who knows anything about input tax credits other than the minister, so I am seeking the opportunity to ask - those businesses that will now have their services taxed, will they receive a 100 per cent input tax credit for all of the money they pay in doing their business? Will they receive a 100 per cent input tax credit for all their payments of PST they incur in doing their business?

[Page 1249]

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I would hate to believe that I was the only one in the province who knew anything about input tax credits. I would suspect that there are a great number of people in the Department of Finance alone who know much more about input tax credits than I do. As a matter of fact, I rely on them daily, dedicated civil servants who are quite expert in this field. I suggest there is a pretty intelligent and well-informed group of accountants around the province who understand it as well.

In any event, let me try to put the approach as simply as I can, that, in effect, if people want a quick read on how things will be dealt with, they might, indeed, review how the GST is presently dealt with in respect to their companies and assume, unless they have reasons to believe otherwise, that the same treatment will be afforded the national sales tax.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer. What the minister now is saying is that the tax credit will be based on the same formula whereby those businesses recapture a portion of their GST payment. That is what the minister has seemed to say to me. Therefore, there will not be a 100 per cent recapturing of PST payments but it will be on the formula which is used in recapturing the GST payment? I am talking now about businesses and the recapturing of GST.

MR. BOUDREAU: Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will indicate to me, by way of example perhaps, what business recaptures a portion of their GST?

DR. HAMM: Well, the minister had said, and he is going down a path I didn't want to go because I was looking for information. What I simply want to know, because I have called accountants in the province asking them to explain it to me and they say that until the minister tells them what the method will be whereby they can calculate input tax credits, they cannot indicate to their clients what this new tax will mean to those businesses.

All I am asking the minister to do is to provide the information to clarify exactly what he means by input tax credits and how it will affect businesses that now recapture their GST payments? A simple question.

MR. BOUDREAU: Well, perhaps I may handle it by way of example, that is perhaps the easiest way to deal with it. But let me say that one of the reasons we have a lead time from now until April 1, 1997, is to ensure that businesses of various kinds and in various sectors will know exactly how it is applied. In fact, we will be dealing with issues of administration as we move forward and we ask businesses of various sectors to make their contributions to us in dealing with issues of administration.

You talked about a service, let's talk about an architect, an architect now who produces plans and, in the process of producing plans, needs to buy a plan machine. In fact now he purchases the plan machine, pays full provincial sales tax in purchasing that and, obviously, when he produces his plan and sells it to a client, the cost to him of that machine, including tax, is included in the price he gives to his customer. He has to recover it. So there is tax, even though up to this point that architect, engineer, consulting engineer or whatever,

[Page 1250]

even though he is not charging tax to the client, if you, the honourable Leader of the Opposition, are the client, he is not charging you tax on his service but, imbedded in that charge to you, is the tax he has paid on inputs to producing that product for you. In those cases that tax, those embedded taxes, will be removed and rebated to that architect, 100 per cent.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

EDUC. - EAST HANTS: SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION - STATUS

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. I understand in his absence that the Government House Leader is functioning in that capacity, in an acting capacity, and hence my question then to him. The Acting Minister of Education will be aware that just a short time ago here in this place a resolution sponsored by our friend and colleague from Hants East was soundly and roundly applauded and Cabinet Ministers all over the place were approving it and it was passed without debate. It called upon the government to proceed with promised school construction in Hants East. I think my recollection is that the resolution said that the construction would take place in a timely fashion.

Well, that was roundly and soundly supported by, I saw all kinds of ministers clapping and so on and everybody patting themselves on the back. The member for Hants East has, in fact, said publicly, Mr. Speaker, through you to the acting minister, in reassurance to the parents in Hants East, and he said it on January 10th of this year, that the middle school, which has been promised to be constructed in Hants East, construction would, in fact, begin in 1996-97 and the elementary school construction would begin in 1997-98. I introduced a resolution to ask the government to confirm the construction of those two schools within that time-frame.

[3:30 p.m.]

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, as will the acting minister, that my resolution was defeated. My question to the minister is, may I, therefore, assume that the result of that little exchange here earlier today means that the government has no intention of building the middle school in 1996-97 and no intention of commencing the elementary school in 1997-98 in Hants East?

HON. RICHARD MANN: No, Mr. Speaker, I don't think the honourable member can assume that. In fact, requests for proposals have already gone out for the middle school in the East Hants corridor. There have been several responses to those requests for proposals and, in fact, the members of the community, some of whom I assume were the ones here today, have been invited to sit on the selection committee to select the successful consortium or developer of that and that process is well under way.

MR. DONAHOE: By way of supplementary, if the process is well under way, and we are now relatively early in this calendar year, with the community involvement and the community having known for some time the kind of school facility most appropriate to their community, may I assume - and may they, more to the point, the community - that we are probably looking at a commitment of something like a couple of months, that over the next few months, a commitment would be able to be made by the government and the Department of Education in particular?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite will know, having been a Minister of Education in the Government of Nova Scotia, and having been a Minister of Supply and Services - Government Services, I believe, at that time - that the traditional methods of building schools, going out and seeking a design and designing a school, and then calling a tender, in the conventional way, to construct a school, used to take probably a minimum of two years. What this government has done, it has embarked, again, on initiatives of public/private partnership where they are seeking the private sector involvement to develop things such as schools and roads. That is what has happened here.

[Page 1251]

As is the case in my own department with Highway No. 104, going for a design/build as opposed to a design and then a build will shorten the process. To put a specific time-frame on it, I cannot do that today, only to say that it will be done as quickly as possible. The process is under way. The representatives of the community are involved with the Department of Education in looking at the proposals that are coming forward, or will be, and in making the selection.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary, I realize that the minister is serving in an acting capacity and may not have a briefing note in front of him but I will ask him nonetheless. If he does not, perhaps he might be prepared to give me an undertaking to provide it to me here, perhaps tomorrow. Since he tells us that the community representation is involved and that the call for proposals has gone out, would the acting minister be prepared to give an undertaking to me today that he would cause to be tabled here tomorrow a timetable, a document indicating when the call for proposals went out, to whom they went out, what the return date is for the proposals, so that the community could have perhaps a little better fix on just what kind of time-frame they and their community - and most important, their children - really are facing here in relation to the school construction questions?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I certainly will take that under advisement and talk to staff at the Department of Education to see what information can be provided to the honourable member and whatever is available and suitable for tabling or passing over to him, we will certainly attempt to accommodate him.

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say one thing here. I am struck by the irony of what happens in these situations. We have been under seige, if you will, in this Chamber at times by the members of the Opposition who have told us to go out and abandon the public/private sector method of building highways, for example, abandon the toll method and put an additional $55 million or $60 million of taxpayers' money, capital budget, into the project and forget about the tolls and do it that way. Then they come in and they say they want more money for schools. The members opposite are fully aware of the competition for capital money between education, highways, health and justice buildings, and yet they come in and they want it both ways. I can't help today but to really be struck by the irony of that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

FIN. - PST & GST HARMONIZATION: ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN - COSTS

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. First of all may I say to the Minister of Finance I don't quite follow his reasoning with regard to input tax credits but, however, we will argue that on another day. The question I would like to put to the minister is that over the past few days we have had a media blitz, both on the radio and in print - and no doubt coming very shortly to television, as soon as they can get

[Page 1252]

a video put together - advising us of all the great things this government has done with regard to the blending of the GST and the PST, such things as: soon your life will be simpler, the government has a plan, the largest tax break in history, et cetera. I was wondering whether or not in this advertising campaign prior of the next election, is the poor beleaguered taxpayer of Nova Scotia footing the bill for this stuff that we are personally getting delivered to us via the radio and, as I say, through the written media?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, first of all on the question of input tax credits, if I didn't explain it well enough let me make an offer here in the House of Assembly to both Opposition Parties, if they want I will certainly make available senior staff from the Department of Finance to sit down with them and discuss the issue of input tax credits. If that request comes to me we will certainly make those people available and they can probably explain it better than I can.

On the issue of the public ads that have appeared, I want to apologize to the Opposition for raising their electoral anxiety level with the measures. Certainly, we didn't institute the only tax cut on the personal side in Nova Scotia history, just to make them nervous, electorally, that wasn't the purpose at all. We didn't reduce the sales tax by $120 million simply to unnerve them, with respect to their political strategy and agenda, that wasn't the case. What we were attempting to do, both by radio and by ads in the newspaper, is to indicate to people that there is a way that they, personally and directly, can contact the Department of Finance through the 1-800 number and have their questions answered. Now since when did that become a problem for the Opposition?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I take it from the minister's answer that the Liberal Party is not making any contribution toward this advertising campaign. I was wondering if the minister would advise the House how much he intends to spend with this kind of advertising to create his own fan club across this province? (Interruption) I am not speaking to the Minister of - well, this is the minister, don't forget, that diverted $50 million from - that is the guy. Anyway, I wonder if the minister would stand and advise the people of Nova Scotia how much he is billing the taxpayers to put out this rubbish?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is putting out an ad that says, if you have any questions please call us at this 1-800 number and have your questions answered. Now I don't know why that is so disturbing to the Opposition, apparently it is. I will give the undertaking that we will, when the campaign is complete, indicate what the cost of that campaign was.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I was wondering whether this was coming out of the 1995-96 budget or whether it is coming out of the 1996-97 budget or whether we are going to have an extra appropriation somewhere along the way? It is fine for the minister to say, give us a phone call and we will give you the answers but I have had people around this province phoning these 1-800 numbers, you have one for Health, one for Transportation, one for Justice, one for the Premier and the Minister of Finance and when you phone, you get through and you don't get anybody to answer your questions, you get a bunch of numbers to punch in. Punch 1 if you want to get some Lotto results, punch 2 if you want something else. That isn't what is required. Isn't what we need information regarding the 1996-97 budget which is in place right now and which people are being taxed under, rather than empty promises by the minister for things that are going to take place in fiscal 1997-98?

[Page 1253]

MR. BOUDREAU: I am not sure I understood that question, Mr. Speaker. I can tell the honourable member that the response has been good to the 1-800 number. People are calling in with questions and those questions are being responded to by knowledgeable people who are delivering the answers. I think most people appreciate that when they get the answers. This is a dramatic tax reform, both on the personal income tax side and the sales tax side. There are a lot of questions attached to it and, in fact, these questions are being asked and being answered.

The honourable Opposition critic can't resist referring constantly to the additional appropriation that we passed and was debated in this House earlier in the session. That was an additional appropriation that the Opposition said was absolutely illegal. Well, Mr. Speaker, we challenged them, if they believed it was illegal, to take it to court and they went and hid on the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

ERA - BLUENOSE II PRESERVATION TRUST: LOGO - AUTHORIZATION

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. The minister will recall that in questioning from my colleague about the Bluenose II Preservation Trust in yesterday's Question Period, April 30th, there was discussion back and forth about mail that went out, indicating that an artisan down in the Valley was apparently somehow running afoul of some legal rights held by Wilfred Moore and the Preservation Trust and so on.

The minister did his best to distance himself from the letter saying that he had nothing to do with the letter, that he didn't authorize the letter and he didn't seem to really know anything about the letter. Am I right in understanding that the minister hasn't really been involved at all in any letters relative to telling people what they can and can't do with the Bluenose II and depictions of the Bluenose II and the use of the word Bluenose and so on and that the whole deal in that connection is being handled by Wilfred Moore and the Bluenose II Preservation Trust? Is that the situation?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, in answer to a question yesterday, the question was direct, I thought: did I authorize the letter? I responded by saying no. Is the question, has the department been involved in letter writing or issuing letters on this issue? Not to my knowledge. The letters have been issued by the Preservation Trust.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, I would like to table - and perhaps the Page might be kind enough to send over copies, as well, to the minister - because, in fact, Mr. Speaker, the Department for the Economic Renewal Agency has been all over a business, not very far from this building, the Bluenose II Restaurant and Grill Ltd. They have received two pieces of mail talking to them about the use of Bluenose II registered trademark logo, signed by Terry Degen, Solicitor, on Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency letterhead. "People Working Together to Grow Together": they sure are.

Mr. Degen, the solicitor employed by this Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, is all over the men and women who are trying to run their business, who have, if I may say so, run this business successfully on the corner down the street for something like 30 years. They are now being pushed around by this government relative to the use of their name and their logo, which they have been using, which is similar but not identical and, in fact, is

[Page 1254]

similar but in no way, shape or form is a representation of the materials provided to Willie Moore and his Bluenose Preservation Trust by the Roué family.

[3:45 p.m.]

I ask the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency if he will give a commitment today that, first of all, a letter of apology and retraction will be written to the Bluenose Restaurant, and that he will confirm to me that no such letter from his department will be issued to the other 169 businesses registered in this province that use the name, legally, Bluenose. Will he give me that commitment? (Applause)

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, again, having just received these letters, what I will do is take the matter under advisement and check with the legal people in the department. (Interruptions) You know, it is interesting that the Opposition raises issues of trademark and royalties and presents letters and expects a legal response. (Interruptions) We will provide them with a legal response. There are issues of copyright and protection here, about which I am not schooled but the honourable member is. But the issue will be taken under advisement and we will attempt to analyze what his information just presented and I will be glad to report back to this House. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order!

MR. DONAHOE: I know the rules in this place, Mr. Speaker - and when I forget them you remind me quickly of them - and I know that I am not to ask this minister for a legal opinion and I didn't come within a mile of asking him for a legal opinion. I asked him if he would give an undertaking that he would not be dunning 169 businesses in this province who are, as far as I am concerned, just simply being harassed by this government for no good reason whatsoever.

The minister attempted to leave the impression earlier that, no, he didn't know anything about any letters. Well, it is passing strange that this minister has letters leaving his department over the signature of his departmental solicitor, telling people they are in deep trouble with the Heritage Preservation Trust, and the minister leaves the impression that he knows nothing about it and had nothing to do with the letters.

I ask by way of final supplementary, it occurs to me that it would be possible for the minister to be in a position to respond fully, in written form, by the time the House convenes tomorrow afternoon. I ask if he would be prepared to do exactly that, to make appropriate inquiries between now and tomorrow afternoon, and to table a document in this House, tomorrow, indicating whether he will make good on the commitment that I ask of him, that his department will not have anything to do with the 169 businesses which are registered under the name Bluenose, and that a letter of apology will be written to the Bluenose II Restaurant and Grill Limited? (Applause)

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite is extremely skilful in confusing issues and overlapping issues. In the answer to the second supplementary question, I already indicated that we would take this under advisement and provide a response, but let's assume that the other 169 businesses in the province do not necessarily constitute the same specific concern that was raised in this issue. But we will provide a full accounting to the member opposite, as committed to in the answer to the last question.

[Page 1255]

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

COMMUN. SERV. - SMALL OPTIONS HOMES: REPORT/PLAN - TABLE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question, through you, to the Minister of Community Services, and it is on the issue of small options homes. The minister knows that through the 1980's and 1990's, we saw a virtual explosion in this province of two and three person residential settings, with upwards of 800 individuals who had mental handicaps and mental disabilities living in supervised apartments or small options. The matter has been under some discussion now over the past year, at least, by this government; there were two discussion papers presented in February 1995 and consultations happened throughout 1995.

The minister, under question in the House about one month ago, indicated that he had a report that had been pulled together as a consequence of the discussion papers and the consultations, as well as an implementation plan relative to standards and regulations for small options homes. I would like to ask the minister if he would agree to table this report and the implementation plan here in this House, if he would agree to table these two documents today?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I followed with interest the member's review historically, and I think that was pretty accurate and I think he has outlined the issues before us today.

I have a copy of that report with me. I will be tabling that report tomorrow, at the proper time of the House procedures.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that from the minister. I hope that report also involves the implementation plan that the minister talked about, in terms of when the province can expect to see some firm guidelines being put into place, including regulations.

Mr. Speaker, the tragic death of Eddie Sheppard brought to light, I think, perhaps for many Nova Scotians, just how desperately needed standards and regulations are for small options facilities. We also talked about the Eddie Sheppard case a month ago. The minister indicated at that time that he had initiated an internal review of that event and I asked if he would table the terms of reference.

Mr. Speaker, I would again ask the minister, not only will he table the terms of reference of the investigation into the Eddie Sheppard disaster, but given the severity of that situation, given the fact that the details of that event will lead very much into a further examination of standards and the need for guidelines, will the minister commit here today to not only table the terms of reference but also ensure that the family of Eddie Sheppard will receive a full copy of the report into the investigation?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think I followed most of it, it was quite a long question. I did make a commitment to table the terms of reference. I have those, it is just a matter of getting them together. The review is in progress as we speak and there will be a report available.

I will make no commitment, as I have said in the House previously, to make that available in its entirety. We would make available what was possible. Some of this involves confidential matters and relative to the police investigation as well. So I wouldn't be able to make a commitment to table that in its entirety but I certainly would make information available that would be appropriate.

I think these events are particularly disturbing, Mr. Speaker, but I think as the member was speaking in terms of the events that have taken place in the last few days in Australia and the killing of children in Scotland and other matters, I think a lot of these are very difficult to predict when, in fact, they will happen.

This government has had a plan, we have had a process in place and we have a timetable and we are proceeding on that particular initiative and I think we will see results. There are guidelines in place now, [Page 1256]

the municipal units with their placement officers are responsible for the placement in the small options homes. They have guidelines in place. We want to formalize those, either in the licensing and/or a registration matter. Thank you.

MR. CHISHOLM: All involved in the small options issue, whether that be residents, families of residents, people who deliver the service and staff, Mr. Speaker, agree that whatever guidelines might exist are simply not good enough. That is why we need action from this government.

I want to ask with respect to the matter of the report into the Eddie Sheppard fatality. I want to ask the minister because we have now seen a whole host of issues involving fatalities of people, family members who have been concerned at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, the suicides, the Nova Scotia Hospital, Mr. Speaker. This is a matter of the fact that we have to respect the wishes and the right of the families to know what happened to their loved ones when they were in the custody and care and control of this government and its agencies and departments.

I want to ask this minister if he will commit today to ensure that the family of Eddie Sheppard, the people who are most concerned about the details around the tragic death of Eddie Sheppard, that they will receive, in its entirety, the details around his tragic death, will he commit to that here today?

DR. SMITH: The review that is in process involving people outside of the Department of Community Services, part of their initiative will be to meet, coordinate and communicate with friends and relatives of the person mentioned, and that would be part of the process.

As I said earlier, and I am not sure if I understood the question clearly whether it was the report, I said I could make no commitment that that report of the review committee would be tabled in its entirety to the House. I think parts of that, any that could be communicated to clear, that would facilitate an understanding and an explanation of what did happen in these unfortunate events will certainly be done. That will be part of it and it will be done in a sensitive and caring manner and that is the commitment that I would make.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - BLOOD SUPPLY: MANAGEMENT - MEETINGS [OTTAWA]

MR. GEORGE MOODY: My question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. I think, last week, the Minister of Health was in Ottawa to meet with the federal Health Minister Dingwall about the management of the Canadian Blood Supply. In light of the fact, the delay in the Krever Inquiry - I know there has been some discussion and meeting with the federal minister and his counterparts across Canada - I wonder if the minister could tell

[Page 1257]

us, and all Nova Scotians, what decisions were taken at that meeting, if any, with regard to any change to the Nova Scotia blood supply and how it is managed, were there any decisions taken at that meeting in that regard?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question on the part of the honourable member. The federal, the provincial and territorial Ministers of Health met last week at the invitation of the federal minister. The main item on the agenda, as reported in the press and as reported through a press conference held by the minister, was the issue of the blood system in Canada. A wide-ranging discussion took place. I think a productive discussion, particularly as regards a national controlling body of that blood system and the changes that might be made.

The decisions at that time were to act as quickly as possible, but within the possibilities of recommendations of the Krever Report. The desire was - and it was expressed, I think, quite clearly in the press release and press conference - to streamline the authority and the governance of the blood system and to do it as quickly as possible. To that end, the deputy ministers were directed to, within the next month or month and one-half, come up with options and a design of a streamlined and accountable system which we would further consider at our next meeting.

MR. MOODY: I thank the minister, I assume what he is saying, that the decisions made could have an effect on the management of the blood supply in the province after these decisions are made.

I wonder if the minister could indicate whether any of these decisions that he sees happening in the next number of months coming out of this meeting will have any effect on the blood fractionation plant that is going to be built in Bedford. Will any of those decisions have any effect on those plans?

DR. STEWART: No, that was not a subject of discussion. The plans are ongoing and the progress that has been made is impressive in this regard and we would anticipate that that would be the case, continual progress.

MR. MOODY: I assume this was a fairly urgent meeting called by the federal Minister of Health and one that I felt was very important, and I am sure the minister felt was very important. I understand most ministers were there and the deputies are getting together right away; in other words, something is going to be done very soon.

I wonder, given that, can the minister assure Nova Scotians that he is completely confident that the current blood supply that we have here is safe and is being well managed. In other words, since we had that meeting called, where there some concerns about the management of the blood supply in the province and about its safety or can we be assured that it is safe and well managed?

[4:00 p.m.]

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would say that it was rather not as urgent as may have been portrayed rather that the new minister needed to be updated and also had a desire to act quickly in terms of the governance of the structure, because it has been discussed over the last year in terms of the rapidity of response of the structure in order to adjust to any problems in the system. In fact, it was clear and clearly stated around the table and by those whom we consulted that the blood system in Canada is as safe in fact as it has ever been because of new tests, for example, and certainly because of the awareness, both public and so on. I am sure the honourable member opposite is aware as he pays very close attention, as I do, to these issues.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES. - NATURAL GAS: DEVELOPMENT - AREAS SERVICED

[Page 1258]

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you, to the Minister of Natural Resources. I would like to ask a question regarding the pipeline which her government has given over to some multinational companies to develop the offshore of Nova Scotia and exclusive rights to the natural gas on our offshore. When the government gave exclusive rights to the offshore and to the transmission of natural gas, was there any thought by this government given to servicing areas throughout Nova Scotia with natural gas, so that all communities would be serviced?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ARCHIBALD: At the present time, there is a pipeline being considered for construction that will travel from Quebec to the Boston market. This is the same market that the Nova Scotia gas is supposed to be delivered to. With a pipeline delivering western Canadian gas to Boston, will that adversely affect the proposed construction of a pipeline from Nova Scotia to New England?

MR. SPEAKER: I don't know if this question is in order, but if the honourable minister wishes to answer it, she may.

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think if the member opposite has been reading the paper recently, there was an announcement made just last week that there is a very positive and a very good response demonstrated by the people all over Atlantic Canada and the Eastern Seaboard of a huge market for the potential of gas sales in those areas. We are very hopeful that the offshore gas from Nova Scotia will be able to flow right through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick down into the Eastern Seaboard.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Can the honourable minister, through you, Mr. Speaker, give us any indication of what the price of Nova Scotia gas would be delivered in Boston compared to the price of natural gas from Alberta in Boston? Those numbers are available, whether you have them or not I don't know.

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think this member opposite has the same crystal ball that the member for the NDP had earlier in the day. I can't predict what the price of gas will be tomorrow let alone four or five years from now. There is a world price that is set and there are a number of variables that set the price of gas. If the member opposite can tell me what the price of gas will be five years from now, I would really appreciate him telling me that.

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

ENVIRON. - OIL REFINERIES: ADDITIVE (MMT) - SUPPORT

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the honourable Minister of the Environment a question. During the last legislative session, I raised concern with the Premier relative to the future of the Esso refinery in Dartmouth and the federal government

[Page 1259]

recently introduced legislation, Bill C-29, that would forbid the sale of MMT. MMT is an additive that the refineries use to develop high octane levels in their fuel. Oil refineries across Canada are seeking the support of provincial governments to back them in their fight against the federal government. It is my understanding that this government is supporting the refineries, or so it was stated in the business section, yesterday, of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

I wonder if the Minister of the Environment could inform Nova Scotians as to what form his support will take?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member opposite that it is not a matter of what position we will take, but I can tell him about the one that we have taken. We do not, indeed, favour the federal position on the removal of MMT from gasoline because we see many consequences that do not fit our economy and do not see the major impact positively on our environment. I have to stand by our first position, it will be our lasting position as I see it.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, with the situation relative to the Esso Refinery in Dartmouth has the Minister of the Environment had any discussion with the management of the Dartmouth refinery respecting this very serious matter?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the short answer is yes and I will give credit to my predecessor, both he and I in succession have had meetings with the management of the Esso Refinery.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment for this province has stated that his government, the Savage Government, is opposed to the position of the federal government in Ottawa relative to the position that they have taken on MMT, the additive to octane. Do I hear the minister correctly, this government, the Savage Government is opposed to the federal position relative to the MMT additive?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I suppose we won't know the federal position until after the bill goes through. We certainly have written to the federal member under my signature, advising that they proceed very cautiously and recognize the ramifications that we have identified in proceeding.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ENVIRON. - STELLARTON: STRIP MINE - PROTECTION

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. On Monday the Premier was visiting in my community and in the course of that visit the Premier did meet with some concerned residents of the Town of Stellarton, particularly residents who live in the area of the Stellarton Strip Mine and also he met with a councillor and the Mayor of the Town of Stellarton. The Premier agreed to be briefed on the problems surrounding that particular operation. The Premier expressed some sympathy for the information that he received, in that the residents who live in the immediate neighbourhood of that strip mine are not protected by the requirements of permitting. They have been treated most unfairly and have no protection and their environment and their neighbourhood has literally been destroyed. They are reacting in a way that each and every one of us in this House would react if we were exposed to the same kind of intrusion in our neighbourhood.

[Page 1260]

My question to the Premier is what is he now prepared to do now that he has listened to the story of the neighbourhood members from Stellarton and now that he has had an opportunity to be briefed? What is he prepared to do for those who are living in the neighbourhood of the Stellarton Strip Mine?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I did indeed have a great day in your home town and enjoyed the visit to the fully employed Trenton Car Works where we have 1,100 people working. I also had a brief opportunity because they did not have a prior appointment, my schedule was pretty tight but I generously said that I would talk to them and listen to them for a few minutes and made the arrangements to do it at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. I didn't have a lot of time because I did have a tight schedule. I met with the mayor, that is true. What I said was I would listen to their requests and their complaints and I would pass them on to the minister and that they would be hearing from us.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I gather from the Premier's remarks that the residents of the neighbourhood of the Stellarton Strip Mine will be hearing from either the Premier or the Minister of the Environment. In addition to the concerns of those that live in that neighbourhood and those that have been severely impacted by that project in their neighbourhood, there is the question of compensation to the Town of Stellarton. The Premier will now know, since he has been briefed, is that Mr. Charles, Chairman of the Environmental Review Board, that sat last July in Stellarton, recommended a compensation package to the Town of Stellarton of $2.00 a ton which would result over the course of the project in a payment to the Town of Stellarton of $5.4 million. Will the Premier tell the House what he plans to do to ensure that a compensation package that is at least comparable to that recommended by Mr. Charles of the Environmental Review Board? What is the Premier prepared to do to make sure that that recommendation is carried out?

THE PREMIER: Thank you once again, Mr. Leader of the Opposition, for the question. Mr. Speaker, I have not been briefed. I arrived back late on Monday night and yesterday I went to Ottawa, so I have not had much opportunity to discuss it, even with the Minister of the Environment. What I have said I will do, I will do. I will repeat, they will be hearing probably from my office, in response to the requests that I have had. They will be hearing. I think that is the important issue.

DR. HAMM: The Premier has indicated that his office will be making the communication. By way of final supplementary, there is a third issue here to be addressed, the issue of monitoring dust and noise in the area of the strip mine operation, which is currently being done by the company itself. That approach to the monitoring was not successful or adequate and did not protect the neighbourhoods in Westville and it will not protect the neighbourhoods in Stellarton. Is the Premier, as well, prepared to address the issue that independent monitoring of noise and dust be carried out by someone other than the company doing the mining?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to stand up here and make policy in this House. What I have said I will do, I will do. I will respond with a letter to the people who saw me in the Heather Motel. That I agreed to do. I am not going to stand here and say, A, B, C and D are policies that will be made. Policies have been made by a department, following a lot of discussion and a three day hearing. The point I expressed when I said I would meet with them was that they may have legitimate complaints, they may or may not, but that I would listen to them.

[Page 1261]

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

COMMUN. SERV.: N.S. REHABILITATION CENTRE CLOSURE - PLANS

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Community Services. It is regarding the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre.

Mr. Speaker, in January it was officially announced that the Rehab Centre would be phased out of operation over the next few years and that residents would be moved into small options residences. In view of the government's failure, to this point, to bring about standards, regulations for the operation of those small options and in view of the concerns of the families of the residents and the staff, I wonder if the minister would indicate whether his government has a plan for the transfer of those residents and for the winding-up of the institution?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of developing this full plan. There have been identification of areas, of course, where the residents will be returning to. Many are from outside the metro area, many of them seem to have no family that visit them, so there are some of those judgment calls to be made as to where the best placement would be.

There have been standards that have worked very well, Mr. Speaker. I, like others, have been working toward the registration and licensing of community-based options but I wouldn't want the impression that there were no standards. I think that generally things have gone very well. Part of the planning, of course, has been to match people with similar needs and special needs in the same group home or the same community-based option, so that is all part of it. So that is the process that is developing. There will be an initiative within the organization itself and with timelines that are being developed.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ with the minister in that there effectively are no standards and guidelines existing out there. That is why we have such a problem. That is why there is such unanimous concern being expressed by people in the community - parents, residents themselves, people who are delivering the service - that we desperately need to not only have standards and guidelines, we need to have enforcement mechanisms to ensure, in fact, that people moved into these community residential facilities, small options facilities, are protected. Even now, we have people going into facilities where staff are not adequately trained, the numbers of staff assigned are not good enough and the facilities themselves are below any standard that could possibly be brought in mind.

[4:15 p.m.]

Let me say to the minister that some people have some significant concern. In the evolution, for example, of the Home Care Program, the government is cutting money out of the institutions, out of the hospitals, and not shifting it into the community to ensure that the provision of home care is appropriate. The government is motivated more by saving money than by ensuring residents get the best possible care available.

I want to ask the minister if he, in fact, would assure the residents, the families and the staff that in this move that he will guarantee, he will assure them that the standards will be put in place, that enforcement guidelines will be put in place, to ensure that the best possible care is put in place for these residents?

[Page 1262]

DR. SMITH: Yes, certainly, Mr. Speaker, that is the initiative and the promise and the commitment that I would make. That honourable member is really making it sound, I think it is very negative as to how he has just worded that last question, to say there is absolutely low standards. I will have to check Hansard. That is just not true.

Assessment and placement of persons is going into community-based options are the responsibility of the municipal units. That involves a settlement as to where the residence will be. There are guidelines in place and we are formalizing those guidelines, so make no mistake what the initiatives are here. What can be done through strengthening those guidelines, we will do that, we will do regulations where it is possible and we will bring in legislation as is necessary. That is the commitment and we are dealing with that.

I think deinstitutionalization with children and other adults has gone very well generally throughout this province. There have been some problems and we recognize that. Relative to home care and others, we are working very closely and closer as months go by in trying to formalize between Community Services and Health and we are working and we are making good progress in that area.

MR. CHISHOLM: The family of Eddy Sheppard; the family of a resident from the Rehab Centre that I talked to last week, who had their father move into a nursing home where the care was absolutely, completely inadequate, would be prepared to differ with the minister.

I would like to ask him then if in fact he is prepared to commit that the standards will be maintained at the level, at least, that exists within these residential facilities when the move takes place. Will he commit, for example, for 1996-97, that the $13 million that has been earmarked for the Rehab Centre will form the base for a rejuvenated community-based options program to ensure that residents receive and go into facilities that are properly staffed and to ensure that there is a labour adjustment package so that the staff move into the community and are properly dealt with?

DR. SMITH: I do not want to be defensive on this, but if there is an issue in a nursing home, such as the member has mentioned, I think that should be brought to the attention of the proper people and I am sure that would be dealt with. I would not want to leave the perception today that the quality of care in either the nursing homes of this province or the small options are inferior. There are some areas at times, temporarily, that have to be sorted out (Interruption) But I think that is the wrong message for the people out there. That is not true. I have received many letters from families and from some residents that have been moved from larger institutions into smaller units and this is what we are trying to do.

People who have slept with their shoes on for years in institutions now have places of their own, that they take their shoes off and outside the bed. Those are the types of letters, I do not want to be too simplistic in this, but there has been a good move and it has worked out well (Applause). At the same time, I would compliment the member for bringing this before the House. I think this is a very important issue.

We have committed money in the municipal service exchange, several millions of dollars, $6 million, others that we have done in addition. Also, I might add, the appropriations that were made extra for our budget in all fairness, Mr. Speaker, was for the community-based options, I think $4.5 million. So this Premier and this government have committed to the quality of care and the strong guidelines and services that we will deliver to people who require even the smallest based options as we know them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

ENVIRON. - ENVIRO-DEPOTS: JOBS - CREATED

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Earlier today, the Minister of the Environment advised the House that there were now 374 persons employed in the enviro-centres. I was wondering if the minister would confirm that this is 374 additional people employed in enviro-centres, since many of these enviro-centres were already in business as bottle exchanges? Are these 374 new jobs or are they 374 recycled jobs?

[Page 1263]

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I am almost puzzled by the question because it was in the full lay-out of my announcement today that I broke it down and told the difference rather clearly. In fact, I have two messages here from people who want further information for their private publications. Let me repeat that the 374 jobs is the total number of people working in the enviro-depots across the province, 171 are new jobs. We get back to the mathematical problem, it is out of the 374 that we get 171.

MR. RUSSELL: Well, the minister thinks that is pretty good, I guess. He came in here with a program, Mr. Speaker, that said he was going to create 600 jobs. I think everybody, every Nova Scotian, thought that this was 600 brand new jobs. Now I am not surprised that there are some new jobs created within the enviro-centres and I will tell you why. The other day I was up in my apartment here in Halifax and I had a green garbage bag full of returnable containers, so I put them in the trunk of my car and I went down to one of the enviro-centres. There was a small line-up there. I knew I might have to wait a minute or two, but I did just happen to check my time when I arrived. Finally I got to the head of the line and in this enviro-centre the chap said, just dump your stuff on top of this counter. Then he sorted them all out. He had different chutes that he put the cans in, the green bottles, the plastic.

MR. SPEAKER: Please, is there a question in this?

MR. RUSSELL: There is a question, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: I want the question.

MR. RUSSELL: Then he said, six cans aluminum, and a lady sitting over in the corner said, six cans aluminum, check.

MR. SPEAKER: This is not a question. This is out of order. Ask a question or sit down.

MR. RUSSELL: Well, okay. I am coming to the question. The question is, Mr. Speaker, the system that has been set up for the return of containers is not cost-efficient, is not very effective and I would say that for an elderly citizen to go to the enviro-centre and spend approximately 17 minutes there and get back $2.20, is no bargain. Would the minister confirm that indeed some of these enviro-centres are going to be checked to ensure that they are handling the material that is being returned in the correct manner?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, yes. The enviro-depots are checked on a regular basis by those responsible directly for them, to make sure they are learning the process more fully every day of what is recyclable, what is separable, and for what values. I am glad to hear that the honourable member did mention that he, himself, is using enviro-depots, to take his

[Page 1264]

returnables back. I am sure he got paid 5 cents per container as the program recommends. And by now he understands that there are 10 Mini Sips in a bag.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to point out that Nova Scotians are calling this minister, and I trust other people, to express that they are getting used to this program. They are complimenting the program. We are getting calls of embracement, contrary to what we hear from the opposite side. There are seniors who are saying that they find it a place where they can converse with their friends and neighbours, which they haven't had in the past.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, I personally called four depots at random and found out all four that I called would offer delivery pick-up service for seniors. (Applause)

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I doubt very much what the minister is saying applies in certain constituencies outside of this city. However, I was advised this morning by a very reliable source that there was an enviro-truck proceeding down Quinpool Road, going by blue bags, and looking in the blue bags and finding cans, et cetera, and tossing them in the back of the truck and leaving any bags there that did not contain anything in the way of returnable beverages. Is that permissible?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I understand from a recent news release from the Regional Municipality of Halifax that they had issued a warning to those who would pilfer blue bags or any other garbage bag, that they were liable to a fine of $500. That is not our doing, that is the City of Halifax and the Regional Municipality. I commend them for taking the action, to protect the resource which is no longer recognized as waste or garbage.

Mr. Speaker, in regard to what the truck did on Quinpool Road, I cannot be accountable for at this time.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 104 WESTERN ALIGNMENT:

CONTRACT - SIGNATURE

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question would be directed to the honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Relative to the Highway No. 104 western alignment, the scuttlebutt or the rumour is that because contract negotiations are taking so long, they are very protracted, that many, and I might add well-connected Liberals, are having a financial feeding frenzy.

During the last legislative session that minister told this House that negotiations should be - he didn't say they would be but he said the negotiations should be - completed with the Atlantic Highway Corporation, relative to signing the contract, by the end of January.

Mr. Speaker, this is some three months later. Now that appears to be just a wild guess by the Minister of Transportation. Will the minister tell this House and, more specifically, the residents of Colchester and Cumberland County, when the final contract will be signed relative to the Highway No. 104 western alignment?

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, did I say what year? I don't know what he is referring to as a financial feeding frenzy. All the work that is going on is being done in accordance with prices that have been set out and agreed to in advance, so there is certainly no opportunity for a feeding frenzy, financial or otherwise.

[Page 1265]

The agreements with the Atlantic Highway Corporation have all been initialled off. I made that announcement a month ago in this Chamber. What is not finalized, but I understand is very close to being finalized, is the final agreement with the lenders. The lenders could not proceed in finalizing the contract until all the other agreements were signed off on. In fact, they were and it was announced a month or so ago.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, when the request for proposals, the RFPs, were called and received by the minister's department, the minister indicated that three companies, a consortium, had applied and once they decided - "they" being the Department of Transportation - who the successful proponent would be, the minister would table the other requests for proposals and then all Nova Scotians could see just how captivating and enticing and attractive the requests for proposals were and then we could make our decision as to whether or not we felt the successful proponent was perhaps preferable. Would the minister commit today to table the other two RFPs?

MR. MANN: No, Mr. Speaker, I don't believe I said I would table them. I believe what the honourable member opposite might find in those proposals is that the consortium that submitted the bids may take extreme exception to some of the information contained, that it would be proprietary and giving away some trade secrets, if you will, or some competitive advantages. However, I will look into that and see if such is the case.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, in spite of the minister's wordsmithing, I appreciate his response and hope he will give us that undertaking.

Will the minister tell Nova Scotians, and again, more specifically, the residents of Colchester and Cumberland Counties, where the workers will come from relative to the jobs relating to the collection on Highway No. 104 and who will pay for the funding of those workers?

MR. MANN: The funding, Mr. Speaker, would be included as part of the project but paid by the corporation out of the toll revenues just as the maintenance will be and everything else associated with the operation of the Highway No. 104 western alignment project. Where the workers come from, I would assume the workers will come from the area, however, there will be a competitive process, fair hiring put in place to deal with that as there are for other jobs in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[4:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

ERA - TOURISM: CANADA SELECT - ARRANGEMENTS

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. It is my understanding that it has been nearly a year since the bed and breakfast operators met with you here at Province House and yet, 12 months later they are still being dangled around as to whether the province will join Canada Select to provide an inspection and rating service. I also understand on March 14th you sent a letter to President Bernard Mason, outlining a proposal being examined by Canada Select and Tourism Nova Scotia. Will the province be proceeding with some type of arrangements with Canada Select?

[Page 1266]

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member, or he may not have in his possession the follow-up letter to Mr. Mason indicating that in fact we already have struck a relationship with Canada Select. The issue being dangled around for a year, we might correct that notion because in fact, for the entire year since that meeting there has been extensive consultation with all sectors of the tourism industry to make sure that if Canada Select is a rater of choice, then the operator has the choice to do that and if not, Tourism Nova Scotia conducts the work.

MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer and I am glad that he has met with them and that they are going to proceed. My understanding also is that 78 per cent of the bed and breakfast properties across Nova Scotia are not happy or are not willing to participate in Canada Select and that 40 per cent of the small inn owners are also not willing to participate, so why is he proceeding with that?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, those who are not happy with Canada Select do not have to use Canada Select as a rating agency, that has been made clear to them and clear to the industry. What he is talking about is a long-term concern that Canada Select does not sensitively and precisely enough rate those that are rather unique tourism experiences. Again, throughout the year of consultation we have attempted to resolve that for all sectors of the industry and options are available to the sector to which he refers.

MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer. I wonder if the minister could explain some of the options that are available to the other operators that won't be covered by Canada Select?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to provide the detail for the honourable member. There is considerable work that has been done and the tourism industry is getting on with what they hope will be and I am sure will be, a bigger and better season.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND: DEPOSITS - RECEIPTS

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to return to the Minister of the Environment and return to my saga at the enviro-depot. I dumped my bottles out on the counter and they were put in different slots by category. The gentleman counted up and he said, there were six aluminum cans there and he yelled out, six aluminum cans. The lady sitting over in the corner wrote down something which I presume was six aluminum cans, took out a calculator, tapped in the numbers and wrote down a figure. Then she said, six aluminum cans, check, and the chap that was sorting the bottles said, check. Then he said, two glass bottles, green. The lady over there took up her pen and wrote down two bottles, green, out with a calculator and added up the 10 cents, added that to the list and said, two green bottles, check . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I am going to have to intervene. This is an abuse of Question Period. If the member doesn't have a question he should sit down.

MR. RUSSELL: I was coming to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: There are only eight minutes left.

[Page 1267]

MR. RUSSELL: Yes, right, Mr. Speaker. My question is this, at the end of this exercise is the person who is returning the recyclables getting a receipt or some document to show what was returned?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear all of the question, it was rather involved. I do believe he is asking if you take your cans and somebody counts them, do they multiply by 5 cents and give you the money? If that is the question, the answer is yes.

MR. RUSSELL: I have a simple question. At the end of this exercise, is the enviro-depot required, under the Act or the regulations, to give you a slip of paper to say that you have returned so and so and they have paid you so much money?

MR. ADAMS: I am not aware of that, Mr. Speaker. I will take it under advisement and get back to the member.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, this is a legitimate, serious question. When those cans come in, they just go to the side of the desk, what is to stop them recounting the cans again because they are just piled back in the corner? There is no system that the minister has in effect, I believe, at the present time, to ensure that, indeed, what goes in finally finishes up at the Enviro Recycling Centre, where the cans are crushed, et cetera.

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member keeps showing that he has not taken the time to study the program, but he makes accusations. There is a control system by way these containers are packaged and bagged and they contain a certain number of quantities. When the bag is full, it is locked.

Now, what he is suggesting is someone is going to take a knife, cut the bag open and take some cans out and regenerate them back into the system. That is mischievous, at best. I don't think that we have anybody in the business that is out to do the public in. These people are participants in a program to clean Nova Scotia and to drive the economy further upward, with 171 new jobs.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

JUSTICE: CROWN PROSECUTORS - COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The minister and his government, of course we all know, has recently chosen to deny to Crown Prosecutors the basic and fundamental democratic right to collective bargaining, something that, had they been provided with it, it would have enhanced the independence of the prosecution service.

My question to this minister is quite simply this. Why did the minister and his Liberal Cabinet colleagues decide to deny to Crown Prosecutors the fundamental democratic right to have collective bargaining rights?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, if collective bargaining is a fundamental democratic right, eight other provinces, approximately, in the country do not provide that democratic right. The decision was made - it was a matter of government policy - we considered all the factors and the decision was made, along with eight other provinces in Canada, not to provide legal collective bargaining rights.

MR. HOLM: So the minister is saying that he and his colleagues want to be lemmings.

MR. SPEAKER: Want to be what?

MR. HOLM: Lemmings; followers.

MR. SPEAKER: What is that?

[Page 1268]

MR. HOLM: Followers.

MR. SPEAKER: Followers, I thought that was some kind of an animal. In any event, continue with your question.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, in other provinces, whether it is two or whether it is 10, the minister has said that they are going to deny to the Crown Prosecutors in the Province of Nova Scotia democratic rights to collective bargaining. The minister has not given a single reason as to justify why those rights are being denied other than to say that we, in our wisdom, have decided to make that our policy.

My question to the minister, and I think it is a very legitimate one. What are the reasons why this government decided not to give these employees that democratic right to have collective bargaining rights?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I have already answered the question, but I think the honourable member should be reminded what the Government Lawyers Association has said through their president, that they are not so much concerned with money as they are with working conditions. The fact is, under Mr. Pitzul, who took over as Director of Public Prosecutions last October, there have been many changes, many improvements, consultation with the rank and file Crown Attorneys. They have an average salary of $64,000 per year; we are providing more staff; we are providing office space; and we have provided computers. So we are getting on with answering the problems. I think, when they step back and look at the matter, they will realize that we are moving on and making improvements in the prosecution service. (Applause)

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister, of course, will know - as does his Minister of Labour colleague who applauded him - that in the collective bargaining process, a major item of concern, and a matter for discussion is working conditions, not just wages. That has been the major thing that the Crown Prosecutors have been talking about, working conditions. The minister still has not provided an answer.

Is the minister saying that he and the government do not believe that the employees who work in his department as Crown Prosecutors, who supposedly are independent, have a right to negotiate with the employer to try to improve the working conditions and to increase the efficiency at which they are doing their job? Is that the position, that the government doesn't believe that they have a right to negotiate on those other matters with the government?

MR. GILLIS: Legal collective bargaining rights is a matter of government policy. I explained by the way of government policy, eight of the other provinces in the country have not granted legal collective bargaining rights. On the other hand, he mentions independence. Independence has been stressed. It has been mentioned in the Ghiz-Archibald Report, Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Petzul has been pursuing that and has made many of the changes: working on new office space when the lease expires in terms of the head office; separating the files;

[Page 1269]

a separate communications spokesman, as I said earlier; additional staff; more computers; new office space. We are making progress and we are delivering a better service.

MR. SPEAKER: There are only 15 seconds left. (Interruption) A short snapper.

The honourable member for Hants West.

WCB - INVESTMENT PROCEDURES

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I was wondering if the Minister of Labour has spoken to the Workers' Compensation Board regarding their investment procedures when he looked at the results of the teachers' compensation in the Teachers' Superannuation Act and the Public Service Superannuation Act?

HON. GUY BROWN: I am glad I finally got a question. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, we have talked many times. In fact, I have talked to the Minister of Finance because I am not happy with the return from the WCB. I don't think anybody is. As you know, that is set up separately from government. We are looking at it and working on it and the report (Interruption) will be tabled, hopefully, in the House by the end of this month.

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 156.

Res. No. 156, re ERA: Jobs - Create - notice given Apr. 10/96 - (Mr. A. MacLeod)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak this afternoon, albeit for an all too brief 10 minutes, respecting the importance of the resolution that is before the House, and that is the need of this government to meet its election commitment, move forward and create new meaningful and value-added jobs for Nova Scotians.

While the resolution speaks to Nova Scotia generally and uses examples from Cape Breton with respect to unemployment, I am going to dwell a little bit more on my part of the province, Madam Speaker, that is the southern or southwestern region. As a framework, I would like to remind members - and these statistics are not mine, they come from government statistic gatherers - that in March 1995 in southwestern Nova Scotia, there were 7,000 persons unemployed with an unemployment rate of 14.7 per cent. A year later, in March 1996, there were 8,000 persons unemployed, a rate of 15.4 per cent.

[Page 1270]

Madam Speaker, we should not think that that statistic paints the entire picture. For beyond that are men and women who simply have given up looking because there are no jobs out there to look for and who, as an evil consequence of a faltering economy in southwestern Nova Scotia, have had to turn to municipal social assistance. While I don't have the numbers of dollars that have been paid out in municipal social assistance, I think we should take a look at caseload growth in a couple of the counties - and I have not done this selectively, I assure you - just to get an indication of how unemployment is impacting on our communities.

In the case of my own County of Queens, in 1993, the caseload of persons on municipal social assistance was 442. Virtually all of those would be persons who simply could not find work and who had fallen off unemployment insurance benefits if they were eligible in the first place. In 1995, we find that has increased to 461.

[4:45 p.m.]

Lunenburg. I am pleased that my next door neighbour has fared a little bit better than we have. In 1993, there were 882 caseloads on municipal social assistance and in 1994, that had dropped to 772, an improvement of a little over 100. I am pleased to see that. I never believe in a beggar thy neighbour policy.

Shelburne County, the caseload in 1993 was upwards of 175; in 1995, it was upwards of 350. That certainly leaves municipal social assistance as a growth sector of the economy, if I may reference it as that.

Where are the job losses? We have seen a decline in jobs associated with fish harvesting and we see a decline of jobs associated with fish processing. Now one cannot fault the provincial government for all that has happened there by any stretch of the imagination. However, I think even the Liberal members of this House will agree with me when I say that the policies which are being pursued by the federal Liberal Government, particularly with respect to fishing policies, are proving to be very detrimental to the fishing economy in southwestern Nova Scotia.

It is not generally known that, in fact, one of the reasons that the fish processing industry is suffering is because something in excess of 80 per cent of the fish which is landed in Nova Scotia is being shipped out whole without being first processed here and therefore providing jobs in Nova Scotia. In fact, in some areas I am told that may be 90 per cent. Also, this fish is being sold in the Boston market place at lower and lower prices, while the processors are continuing to compete for product on the wharf and are trying to maintain high price levels in order to acquire fish that is landed in Nova Scotia, so that margins are ever shrinking. We all know that when the margin shrinks to the point where loss overtakes profit then we start to lose companies. If that happens in southwestern Nova Scotia we are going to be in deep trouble because it is the small processors who provide the lion's share of the employment within the industry.

The new federal regulations which are proposed to be put into effect with all kinds of new charges are going to have an even greater negative impact on the processing sector. Last week I spoke to one gentleman in Nova Scotia who applied the proposed fee increases to the licenses and the export certificates he had to have to operate in his business last year and the cost would be a whopping $25,000 more just solely to stay in business. The federal fisheries policies are having a tremendously negative impact and we must hold our provincial government to account to stand up and to fight on behalf of people in both the harvesting and the processing sectors. In fact, it is absolutely a terrible thing to have to say that the people

[Page 1271]

who are going to benefit most, the people who are going to be hurt least by the new federal fees with respect to processing are the fish packers, who buy the fish at the end of the wharf, put it in the truck and take it off to Boston.

I think it is true to say that it is the general consensus of all people in southwestern Nova Scotia that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has come to the conclusion that big is good, that we have to get rid of as many of the small fishermen as possible and as many of the small fish plants as possible because they prefer to deal with as few clients as possible. The future for the industry, indeed, looks bleak. Let me say that one of the reasons that we have not seen or heard many protests with respect to the future of the fishery and its current condition respecting workers in it arises out of the fact that a significant number of them are still on unemployment insurance benefits and others are on the TAGS Program. Once the unemployment insurance benefits run out and once the TAGS Program shuts down, there are going to be, I predict, and I am sad to say this, thousands of more people in southwestern Nova Scotia who are going to be unemployed.

Some who are old enough to remember John Diefenbaker will recall, I think in the 1958 campaign, when he talked about roads to resources. He knew then, and it is as true today, that transportation routes are a very vital key with respect to economic development.

Yet what do we see in southwestern Nova Scotia with respect to transportation? We see the winter service of the MV Bluenose shut off; we see the Bay of Fundy service threatened, with CN saying that they may be shut out in just two or three years' time; we see our highways incomplete with respect to the 100-Series Highways; we see the airport closing down in Yarmouth; and on and on it goes.

Madam Speaker, what we find is that in southwestern Nova Scotia our hospitals are too frequently being downsized, they are being closed. I have no doubt that our schools will be closed as a result of decisions taken by unelected super-boards. And what could be more important to building our communities than our health care and our schools? Justice is being centralized. Transportation infrastructure is often in collapse. The municipalities are facing increased burdens as a result of shifts from the provincial government to the municipalities. If that were not enough, the men and the women who sustain their families in southwestern Nova Scotia now know that in a year's time they will be paying a 15 per cent tax through the blended sales tax on gas, fuel, electricity, clothing and housing.

Madam Speaker, for a government that promised jobs, jobs, jobs, this is a government that has denied the people's rights and it will be held to account by the people of Nova Scotia, when the people of Nova Scotia are given that opportunity. Thank you.

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Madam Speaker, the honourable member has used the resolution to discuss areas in his part of the province but clearly the resolution refers specifically to Cape Breton, specifically to sustainable economic prosperity. As such, the few minutes that I have to speak will reflect that.

Madam Speaker, the solution to economic prosperity for Cape Breton lies in the same resilience that newcomers to this land brought to Canada. They arrived in a land and they forged links from Cape Breton throughout the country, based on coal, steel and on rail. What is happening in Cape Breton right now is an unprecedented level of community-based planning that looks at the strengths of a region, that takes those strengths and attempts to articulate them in terms of economic prosperity well into the next century.

Let me read, for a moment, from the Economic Summit Plan that has been developed on the eastern side of Cape Breton Island, the following statement: Coal and steel have long been the backbone of the economy of Cape Breton. Several of the communities of this region owe their very beginnings to these two [Page 1272]

cornerstone industries. Tens of thousands of Cape Bretoners have earned their living, fed their families and educated their children because of these hard and demanding jobs.

Madam Speaker, the report goes on to speak of the shift that is occurring, that in 1961, 5 out of 10 Cape Breton workers were in goods-producing sectors. In 1994, 2 out of 10 Cape Bretoners worked in goods producing sectors, while 8 out of 10 Cape Bretoners at the same time worked in the service sector. Clearly there is a shift occurring when we discover that there are 90 high-tech firms in Cape Breton in the technology sector, in the information technology sector. We would contrast that with even the most recent history of the industrial base of Cape Breton.

Let me suggest to you that what the Minister of Finance introduced a few short moments ago into this House has a simple enough name, its name is simply An Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures, a rather innocuous title that describes what, in fact, is the cornerstone, the foundation if you like, of sustainable economic growth for our entire province, including Cape Breton. There must be solid financial footings on which to build a house. In this case, getting our fiscal house in order has been the prime function, if you like, the prime focus of this government, along with many other attributes of government measure.

We have just come through an era where the first trustees in the history of the province, Madam Speaker, did not pay their own way. The legacy of 15 years of mismanagement of the previous government is one of having spent their children's and their grandchildren's money.

When we came to power, and to this day, we are spending $300 million more on interest payments to service the debt of that 15 year period than we are using to educate all of our children in the Province of Nova Scotia.

When I think of workers' compensation and the fact that when we arrived, had we not taken measures, the fund literally could have been bankrupt within 18 months. Pension funds were in disarray. The shambles of government mega-projects were all part of the legacy left. It is a small wonder that this government has spent considerable time, discipline and effort in ensuring that the underpinnings of future economic growth, whether it be in Cape Breton or in Queens County, be a solid financial base.

The rewards for that kind of discipline, Madam Speaker, are announcements in the last eight to nine months of $1.2 billion in investment for Nova Scotia. There have been announcements from the private sector, from one end of the province to the other, about the importance of getting, as a fundamental principle, simply a basic tenet of good government, our fiscal house in order.

Let me quote, Sharon Salter, the owner/operator of Salter's Insurance Agencies in North Sydney as part of her endorsation of the economic plan for Cape Breton. The private sector will take risk and invest when a climate exists that fosters the acceptance of entrepreneurship and a pro-business attitude. Madam Speaker, there is no possibility for any

[Page 1273]

area of the province to grow economically. It is hubbled by the debt, their legacy, if you like, of the mismanagement of the first 15 years in the history of the Province of Nova Scotia when the trustees did not pay their own way. Fortunately, literally within the last week, the first balanced budget in the 25 year history of this particular era has been tabled. In the tabling of that budget, what we have are the underpinnings of good, healthy economic growth. (Applause)

This government is also committed to a balance between the natural attraction of a metropolitan area like this, now unified through amalgamation, also, the Sydney area, now unified through amalgamation, to balance between rural and urban development in this province. Two fundamental principles underline the plan for prosperity. One is a healthy fiscal house in order that attracts investment and inspires confidence and, secondly, steps to ensure that there is a balanced recovery from the previous recession, a balanced economic growth in both rural and urban areas.

In order to strike that balance, in order to make sure that we have strategic planning in place, the first key word is partnership. We must have the federal-provincial governments working with communities in the private sector, incorporating the strategic strengths of our post-secondary system, in order to have the kind of growth that we all want and wish for our children.

What we have in the 14 RDAs is the commitment to regional development. What we have in at least one of the RDAs, the Cape Breton County Regional Development Authority, is, in fact, a strategic plan that targets 2,100 jobs over the short term; another 500 jobs over the long term and medium term; and, Madam Speaker, a plan that is being worked on daily by the community leaders of that area.

Let me suggest that John Coleman, who represents the private sector in Cape Breton, speaks this way of the plan. The action plan is one of Cape Breton's best opportunities to pull itself out of the economic doldrums, in which it has languished for many years. Economic development in Cape Breton has been an elusive goal, but the goal can be realized to that end. The Industrial Cape Breton Board of Trade calls for widespread community involvement in fine tuning the plan. Cooperation from all sectors of the community will be necessary if Cape Breton is going to turn the goal from being elusive to one that is being achievable. John Coleman, President of the Industrial Cape Breton Board of Trade.

The partnership that functions between the federal government, the provincial government, the private sector, the non-governmental agencies and organizations and, most importantly, the communities with their embedded university infrastructure and community college infrastructure is well under way in Cape Breton.

Let me just suggest to you that the cornerstones of the economic prosperity identified in that plan and the plan and its partners are committed to the following. First of all we are going to build on strengths in this province, and we are going to do so in Cape Breton, as well. There are gold medal opportunities in Cape Breton in the IT sector that have been identified throughout this particular document as key sectors for development in Cape Breton. The negotiations with the federal government on a new economic diversification agreement have already targeted the same strategic areas for growth identified by the community groups in Cape Breton who are in fact analyzing their own strengths.

[Page 1274]

[5:00 p.m.]

We talk about developing a competitive business climate and in fact, making a commitment that Nova Scotia will simply become the most competitive business climate in the country. And what have we done about that? We have partnered with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, to look at the way in which business deals with three levels of government and to unravel the tangles of regulatory approvals to ensure that one-window access to both approvals and permits is devoid of regulatory maze that is non-productive.

We talk about strengthening transportation and communication. There have been many funds committed to that effort in Cape Breton, all again with the strategic input of the community and the federal government. The Cape Breton Regional Development Authorities, the tourism initiatives, have taught us about the importance of marketing Nova Scotia and in this particular case, Cape Breton and are full partners and in fact, are winning international accolades for their marketing ability. The strength of the tourism sector in Cape Breton last year alone, its growth and the jobs produced by that growth, were second to none in the province, certainly in the area of Louisbourg, an unprecedented marketing achievement and tourism venture.

The two final elements of the plan for prosperity - are we are working with companies to develop new products and to establish new markets. There are Cape Breton companies heading off to Iceland within a few weeks to establish trade and investment ties, to establish links for products, to make sure they have a solid foothold in new markets. Finally, the plan for prosperity reinforces the concept of strengthening viable communities. The provincial government, the federal government, the communities on the ground in Cape Breton are all committed to the same thing, utilizing local strengths to build jobs for the future. Thank you.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, I am happy to participate in this debate this afternoon about jobs and the need for jobs in the economy. I listened to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency and the rhetoric and the platitudes and the jargon just simply takes my breath away. Here we have a government that has been in power for three years and they have projected economic growth in the Province of Nova Scotia at a little over 1 per cent for this year. They are projecting employment growth under 1 per cent this year. That is both private sector and I mean that is the economy, right, that is everything, that is all jobs.

In the first three months of this year we lost 8,000 jobs in Nova Scotia. What is this government doing about it? They are continuing to contribute to that unemployment by laying people off in the public sector, in hospitals and in departments throughout the province. Have they stepped in in areas where we are losing jobs, where jobs are bleeding away from our communities? Did the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency take the opportunity when trouble began to rear its head in North Sydney, on the Northside, when IMP said we are going to shut her down and walk away? Did the minister step in when the workers and the community put together a venture company in order to try to ensure that that facility stays there and those jobs? Not a thing was done.

After persistent pressure here in the Legislature and probably in other parts of the province, including North Sydney, they finally sent a staff person in there to talk to the workers. Even though today is the last day of the deadline set by Mr. Ken Rowe, President of IMP who has done very well, thanks to the taxpayer of Nova Scotia, very well, even though today is the last day for the ultimatum, has the Economic Renewal Agency got in there with

[Page 1275]

its accountants and its financial advisors, to try to sort out how they can assist that worker community venture project, in order to make sure that facility can stay? No, they didn't. All we hear from this minister, Madam Speaker, with respect to that project is that he says to the workers, well look, I will try and find you jobs elsewhere. At the same time he delivered another I think it was $5.5 million to the aerospace industry, money going to be invested in other parts of the province, not on the Northside.

I wonder why the government didn't take advantage of the $5 million-plus that they have invested in IMP in preferred shares, that we still have after we assisted Ken Rowe to go in and pick up the Amherst Aerospace facility and all its equipment, Madam Speaker, back in 1992. Did the government, did the minister, has he done anything at all to intervene, to be able to assist and to be able to stop the bleeding in some of those communities? He can stand up here and talk about tourism, what a great job and what great things are being done. It is important and there is a great deal of economic activity as a result of the tourism industry, in Louisbourg and elsewhere, but let's not forget that a lot of the jobs created in the tourism industry are seasonal and minimum wage. The fact that they are seasonal, combined with the changes in UI, means that those workers and those communities are going to be seriously affected in the coming years. What do we hear from this minister?

What we need is for that minister and his Cabinet colleagues to come up with a strategy to ensure that there is secondary processing of our natural resources, controlled by the community, that is taking place in many of our coastal communities around the province. What we need to do is ensure that the government makes use of the aggregate demand at its disposal, because of its size and economic power, to create jobs and distribute jobs around this province in a more fair and even way, Madam Speaker, to fulfil the promise they made back in 1993 that they would decentralize jobs into areas of the economy and areas of the province where unemployment is so chronic and so outrageously high, but no, we listen to the minister go on about the global economy and sending people off to Iceland and so on.

I had a gentleman in my office this morning who has a Victorian moulding restoration manufacturing facility just down the road, on Gottingen Street. He has made a significant contribution to that community by restoring dilapidated buildings in that community. He has trained people to do that manufacturing. For the past two and one-half years, this government, this minister and the minister before him in the Economic Renewal Agency, in Housing, in Consumer Affairs and his own MLA have basically turned their backs on him, Madam Speaker. That is five jobs he created, as well as his own, as well as the commitment he made to the community. He got bogged down in and wrapped up in the red tape that this minister so rhetorically stands up and says he is doing something about getting rid of.

Madam Speaker, the point here and the discrepancy that exists for all to see between this minister's words and his actions is that when trouble arises, when workers, when communities are in trouble, this minister is off somewhere else, on some kind of a trade mission somewhere or he is off meeting with his corporate buddies, socializing and telling them what a great job they are doing. These are the same people and corporations that for the past 20 years in this country have received unprecedented tax breaks as the burden has been shifted off corporations on to individuals. That is continuing in this budget.

Have we seen an increase in employment? No, we haven't. What we have seen is the development of a very severe case of chronic unemployment, Madam Speaker, and a prolonged recession that we have not seen in the past 50-odd years in this country. All the while that the private sector - MT&T, Nova Scotia Power, IMP - are registering, in some cases, record profits, we are seeing them shedding hundreds and hundreds of workers. That is the contribution that those big corporations are making to Nova Scotia and to the Nova Scotia economy and yet, this minister and his Cabinet colleagues are prepared to basically hand over responsibility for job creation to them. I say shame on that minister and his colleagues.

I remember sitting in this House back in 1993 and seeing the memorandum and the directive that went out from the Premier's office to all ministers about Ted Gabler's book, "Reinventing Government". All members of the Liberal Government read that book about reinventing government, doing things new. I want to make this suggestion.

[Page 1276]

There is a book out now by John Kenneth Galbraith entitled, "The Good Society". It talks about the responsibility that government has to contribute to that good society. It talks about the impact of high unemployment and it talks about ways that governments can use their aggregate demand to contribute to relieving the pain and relieving the instability that is created by the down cycle in the economy, something that this government should be doing right now.

I recommend that read to all members of the Liberal Government and maybe it will stir a bit of conscience and a bit of responsibility to actually do something about jobs and about unemployment in this province instead of throwing off platitudes and blowing smoke to Nova Scotians, which they do not deserve.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon again and talk about jobs. This issue is important to the people of Nova Scotia and it is extremely important to our youth. I know all individuals, be it families, older individuals or what have you, are very concerned about jobs and job creation. More importantly, they are concerned about the establishment of an economic climate that stimulates growth.

I had a call from a young person who is attending the Port Hawkesbury Community College, individuals completing their first year in the stationary engineering course. The student, who hails from the Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury riding and lives in Guysborough, in the second term had marks of between 80 and 95 per cent. The young individual applied for enrolment at the I.W. Akerley College because it is the only community college in the coming school year that will provide the stationary engineering course. The young person was informed that the class was full. What is that young person supposed to do, put his life on hold? He successfully completed year one of his stationary engineering course and applied, like I said, with marks of between 80 and 95 per cent.

When we talk about young people, our youth and jobs, we should take a look at the Supplementary Expenditure Detail book. When we look at it we find that the Annapolis campus, for example, is seeing a $400,000 cut in their budget. The Lunenburg campus is seeing a $0.5 million cut in their budget. The Shelburne campus is seeing a $600,000 cut in their budget. All told, the Nova Scotia community colleges are seeing a $5 million cut. They are going to receive $5 million less than they did last year. We are trying to provide jobs and create an economic climate that truly stimulates growth and we are ripping away money out of our community college system.

Let us look at the public school system. Let us again look at the expenditure detail. From the public school we are ripping out $9 million, this Savage Government is taking out $9 million from the public school system. That is reprehensible because it is incumbent upon

[Page 1277]

us to provide some level of comfort to those young people who are graduating, who are working hard and trying to better themselves and go on to a career. Then we go over in the Supplementary Expenditure Detail book a little further and we look at the Technology and Science Secretariat.

We look at that budget and we find, under Services and Operation, that a meagre $89,000 is being provided. I dare say that the minister's salary is more than that. Services and Operation under the Technology and Science Secretariat is $89,000. The minister's salary could probably be a few dollars more. But my question, again, and I asked it yesterday, Madam Speaker, is simply this. How committed is this government to creating economic growth? We are not saying, go out and make superficial jobs. That is not what we are talking about. Today, I was pleased to commend the Minister of Natural Resources for continuing the student internship program. I think that is important that students do have some opportunity. For that, I congratulate the government.

[5:15 p.m.]

Madam Speaker, is this government fresh out of ideas? Does this government have an ability to develop policy deficit? Does this government have an idea deficit? Does it have an intellect deficit? Surely to goodness, with all the staff and all the government departments, more can be done to stimulate true economic growth. Jobs and lasting employment are the things that provide fundamental security to individuals, families, communities and, of course, it provides prosperity to our province. We have got to look to the future.

I was pleased, and I cannot stand here and say that I was not, when the government again, if you will, reinstated the 30 per cent tax credit for equity investment. I congratulate and commend the government for continuing that initiative. We also saw a 20 per cent guarantee on community economic development, investments for communities that qualify.

Madam Speaker, those are small positive steps, but taxes and tax incentives alone will not create true economic growth. We have got to go further and look at the regulations. A lot of regulations are strangling and choking business. Regulations are often effected. By this government, regulations have been enacted many times, but rarely, if ever, have we seen this government lift and rescind a regulation and something along those lines can be done.

People want less intrusive government. Go out and talk to the small business people in your community, Madam Speaker. But we could focus if we wanted to and engage in some of the rhetorical conversations that the Savage Government likes to engage in. We could talk about the focus of the election campaign. Remember going into the May election when this government talked about job, jobs, jobs? This government continues to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs in every Speech from the Throne. Remember, they were the focus of the 30-60-90. Remember that initiative? Does anybody here remember the 30-60-90 initiative? A gentleman the other day stopped me on the street, a well connected Liberal, he said, I agree that it should be called 90 minus 60 minus 30. It equals zilch, absolutely nothing.

The 30-60-90 consultations were a joke. This government tried and, to a reasonable degree, were successful in pulling the wool over Nova Scotians' eyes. Now, Madam Speaker, Nova Scotians came forward and they took part in the 30-60-90 initiative in good faith. But what has happened since? The silence, I submit, has been deafening.

[Page 1278]

Last week we listened very carefully to the Budget Speech from the Minister of Finance and, as I would subscribe and put to you, this government has given a future promise. What about the young people of today who are having trouble getting admitted into the second year of some of their course in the community colleges? What about the young person down in Guysborough who has to put his future on hold? He had marks in the second term of 80 per cent to 95 per cent and unbelievably, he was told the class was all full. What is the young Nova Scotian to do and I suggest he represents many, many Nova Scotians out there?

One only needs to talk to the workers at Devco, to the people of Yarmouth who are dependent upon the Bluenose ferry to get the idea that people are dissatisfied with the efforts. Again I say, this government has an idea deficit.

In closing, rather than read the Therefore be it resolved at the start of my contribution to this debate, I again want to reiterate what the honourable member for Cape Breton West has said. I daresay with reading very quickly I could read the first whereas, perhaps. "Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his government begin doing something constructive and begin offering Nova Scotians sustained economic growth and the prospect of more jobs, not less.". Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 382.

Res No. 382, re Mun. Affs. - Tax Increases: Downloading - Explain - notice given Apr. 29/96 - (Dr. J. Hamm)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to discuss Resolution No. 382. This is an important resolution because it allows us to review the relationship that is being developed between municipal governments and this provincial government. It also, I think, allows us to briefly review what the government seem to be intending to do in the spring of 1993 when it was electioneering and talking about its different approach to dealing with the municipalities.

For the benefit of the members, I will just review what the Liberal Municipal Reform Policy said in 1993, "A Charter of Rights and Responsibilities to distinguish provincial from municipal responsibilities and to prevent the province from `downloading' or deferring costs to the property taxpayer will be put in place by a Liberal Government after consultation with the municipalities.". That same reform policy of the Liberal Government said in 1993, "Municipalities with low commercial assessments could suffer unduly if they assumed secondary road maintenance costs. With Liberal leadership they will find a suitable solution.".

I cannot help but be impressed by what the Premier was saying back in 1993, bearing in mind I think all of us are tired of being reminded that the Premier was, in fact, at one time the President of the UNSM and as well that the Premier was the Mayor of Dartmouth and had a broad municipal background, as did Madam Speaker, I may hesitate to add. I can't help but be impressed by the fact that reports at the time and reports dated in late 1992, " . . . discriminatory two-tier social service systems would disappear from the province, as would grants in lieu instead of full taxation on provincial properties within the boundaries of the municipality.". What Dr. Savage is saying is that the municipalities would have more say at the table and not just be children of the province. Well, that is the background of the platform and the promise of this government to the municipal units of the province.

We remember in 1994 when we had the municipal service exchange which was designed to guarantee to the municipal units that there would be a stabilization between the province and the municipalities and, remember, it was all supposed to be revenue-neutral. Well, if we are to accept the fact that it was revenue-neutral and that it was stabilized, then so much has happened since the fall of 1994 that [Page 1279]

destabilizes the relationship between the provincial and the municipal governments of this province and, as never before, the municipal units are so conscious that they are, in fact, children of the provincial government.

Let's look at roads. Just a minor item, perhaps, but not a minor item if, in fact, you are affected, because there was not supposed to be any downloading and the municipal service exchange, which was brought forward by the present Minister of Municipal Affairs, was to be a stabilization of responsibility. But we look in our Budget Estimates this year and we find that $1.4 million that last year was provided for cost-shared agreements - and this was in relation to the arterial roads through certain urban centres - and snow and ice removal grants have been eliminated totally, a downloading of $1.5 million from the provincial government onto the municipal government; so, a downloading situation.

Then remember the accommodation of Class J roads by the Minister of Transportation, when Class J roads were to become the responsibility of the municipal units, and it was part of the service exchange package in 1994. The Department of Transportation said that they will look after those roads at $3,500 per kilometre. But now, in response to a question on April 9th - a question by the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley - the Minister of Transportation says, aha, but if you add any more roads, it is not going to be at $3,500 per kilometre, it might be $6,000 or $9,000 per kilometre. We don't know how much it is. There, again, the cost-sharing is changing again. It makes you wonder what we were talking about in the fall of 1994 when we were doing the municipal service exchange.

In policing, do you remember when we got those flowsheets about the costs of municipal service exchange? One of the columns was policing costs; it is going to cost so much for the municipalities to take over policing but it is going to be revenue-neutral. It was revenue-neutral in policing up until February of this year when 10 units had additional costs downloaded by the provincial government. For example, the Town of Antigonish got an additional bill for policing of $122,000. The Town of Pictou got an additional bill of $53,000; and the Town of Port Hawkesbury got an additional bill of $84,000. There are 10 towns that now are going to pay more costs for policing than they had agreed to in the municipal service exchange in the fall of 1994. Almost $1 million of additional downloading. On and on it goes.

Remember we talked about a single-tiered, social service delivery. That was going to be the cornerstone, the backbone of the municipal service exchange. So what has happened? We came to an agreement, it seemed, in 1994, that suggested very clearly that while the province could not afford to take over a single-tiered system, in fact the cost-sharing would continue but, lo and behold, what happened?

I will tell you what happened. The Minister of Municipal Affairs suddenly said, well we are going to cap the payment. It doesn't matter what the cost is, we are going to cap the payment; in other words, we are going to change the ground rules. It doesn't matter what we signed in the fall of 1994, we are going to cap general assistance sharing with the towns, the rural units, and the cities, at 1994-95 levels. We are going to cap the shared funding with

[Page 1280]

community-based residential options, because that was another one that was clearly in the cost-sharing arrangement in 1994.

That is producing serious additional costs for our municipal units. They have no control over these costs. The difficulty they are having is saying that we thought that we had an arrangement, that we had an agreement, that we had an understanding in the fall of 1994 with the provincial government. The government that promised us a Charter of Rights, a government that promised through its Leader and said, we are going to consult with you and you will not be the children of the province. In fact, they are finding that consultation consists no more of letters from the departments indicating that additional cost-sharing will not take place in either community-based residential options or in social services and you will be capped regardless of your costs. You must remember and you will understand this far better than most, Madam Speaker, that property taxpayers in this province in many instances are being taxed to the limit. We cannot afford provincial property taxes.

[5:30 p.m.]

In conclusion, I would also like to provide my final bit of information and that is the fact that with the new harmonized tax the municipal units which were exempt from PST will now pay some 42 per cent of PST from which they were formerly exempt. In the Town of Canso this will cost an additional $20,000 in operating costs, the Town of Windsor $23,000, the Town of Lunenburg $20,000 and the Town of Trenton $25,000, additional costs, additional downloading from a government that promised a stabilization and gave us the municipal service exchange.

I would like to conclude by saying, simply, what municipal units are telling me is that the situation between the provincial government and their government has deteriorated dramatically since the spring of 1993. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Madam Speaker, I take quite a bit of pride in entering debate on this issue because it is one that I find quite interesting. It is interesting in watching it because of the dynamic of the political methods that are used by all levels of government and this a prime example of politics working in interesting ways.

I want to deal with the resolution as it has come forward before us. Instead of going in reverse, I would like to deal with the whereas clauses as they come. The first one says, "Whereas the proposed harmonized sales tax will have a severe detrimental impact on the financial health of municipal units across Nova Scotia;". Now that is the first whereas clause, that is the lead-in. That is to strike everyone's attention, that one says pay attention, that is what they say. The Minister of Transportation says, well, how would one know that there is going to be a severe detrimental impact. I certainly agree with him. How would anyone know there is a severe impact, but I can tell you this, I think one can say quite firmly that the evidence is that there will not be any detrimental impact.

I hear the Opposition member look up and say how can that be? The first thing I have to tell the Opposition members first, you are provincial politicians and you are elected to represent provincial ridings. Now if you wish to have the municipal people tell you the spin that they want you to have and then you come in here and repeat exactly the scenario that some municipal people would have you believe, well, then you should be running for the municipal government. You should clear out of here and run for the municipal government. You see, I did it in reverse. I used to be a municipal politician and I know how that works and now I have come here to learn how this works. (Interruptions)

No, I do not have the letter that Dr. Hamm wrote before the budget to the municipalities. I did take the time to research some facts, I did take some time and we are dealing with harmonization. The first thing that I checked out was to find out that basically there is $1 billion out there in budgets in the municipal units [Page 1281]

province-wide and we are the provincial government, we must understand, about $1 billion. Worst case scenario, what could be affected here, about $10 million? Now that is 1 per cent, a severe detrimental impact on the financial health of municipal units across Nova Scotia - 1 per cent. That is a worst case scenario because I have some facts to offer the honourable Leader of the Opposition and I have some facts for the Third Party also.

Let us look at what happens in the business world and let us look at what happens when you have a merger of sale taxes and the resulting numbers move from 18.8 per cent down to 15 per cent. Unless new math has changed this, 18.8 per cent down to 15 per cent seems to me to be a reduction. That is the way I went to school, that 18.8 per cent to 15 per cent is a reduction.

Here is what is interesting, watch this one, anyone who has been in business will know this. If you were in a business and you did not have a credit against your provincial sales tax -this is a real simple one - if you are paying GST out and you are collecting GST in, you are allowed to set off the GST you pay out against the GST you take in. That is really not all that dramatic. But you can't do that with PST under the old system; if you paid PST out you could not credit the PST against the PST you collect, you couldn't do it. Now you can.

So guess what? Businesses that now are paying out PST and GST, collecting the merged 15 per cent, they will be able to write off both of them; the PST they pay out and the GST they pay out, both of those. Now what does that mean? Back to the municipal government here, what do municipal governments do for services? Here we go, what do they do? The first thing they do is they say, they have to get a pipeline put in for sewer and water. Municipal governments do that, they do a lot of it; sewer and water, that is a big thing in municipal government.

The Leader of the Opposition named four towns when he talked about the $20,000 that this was going to cost and $23,000 was the second one. They put in sewer lines, they put in water lines and they hire contractors to do that. Now the contractor who does that is one of those businessmen I just told you about, he gets to write this off. I would hope that a municipal government or any negotiating government that knows that his costs have gone down would expect perhaps a saving of 1 per cent maybe. I would expect so, I know I surely would, I know I would demand that.

That is not all the benefits. For instance, any tax on business is going to be a tax on people, it is going to be a tax on the municipality. So when the average tax goes down, 18.8 per cent to 15 per cent and there is a tax credit, businesses do better. If businesses do better, what does that mean? If businesses expand, what does that mean? That should mean something on the revenue side, shouldn't it? I mean they do have a tax rate, don't they?

Now I am saying to you, the preamble into this, a severe detrimental impact, is foolish in its basis. But let's move on to number two, shall we? Downloading, "Whereas other examples of this severe . . .", well, I would skip the harmonization tax because it said the same thing; ". . . other examples of this severe downloading include the service exchange program

[Page 1282]

. . .", ". . . the capping of social service payments . . ." - here's a good one - ". . . cost-shared agreements for snow and ice removal and road maintenance . . .".

I want to ask you this, Madam Speaker, just as a logical person. When our government and the federal government come into the awareness that there has to be some fiscal responsibility, we ask all our departments to tighten the belt, every department, every minister, we ask them to tighten the belt, cut out the fat, be cost sensitive, deliver the best bang for the buck. We tell our Minister of Transportation that you have to cut back, sir, you have to make sure that you get the best bang for the buck.

Would that be sensible, that we would turn to the Department of Municipal Affairs and say, but not you. Now, Health has to be more sensitive, more reactive, cut out the fat. Community Services is the only department that actually we did not cut. Why? Because we have a social conscience, we have to look after the poor, we know that. That is why we didn't. But Health, Education; now, were we going to turn to the Department of Municipal Affairs and say, not you, how much of an increase would you like? We are going to ask our Department of Transportation to cut back on ice and snow removal but when it comes to giving money to the municipality to cut back on snow removal, we'd say, no, how much of an increase would you like. Nonsense. All three levels of government must be cost sensitive and efficient in their systems.

I can tell you something else, I was a municipal politician for quite some time. I know my municipal government is sensible and I know they are still sensible. They have a balanced budget and they will have a balanced budget and they still will. (Interruption) Now, no choice, says the Third Party, they have no choice. There is legislation that says they must balance, I think that is what he meant, I assume that is what he meant. Sure. Now explain this to me. The previous government passed legislation that said they have to balance. But guess what they forgot to do? They forgot to do it for themselves. Sauce for the goose clearly is not sauce for the gander. They said, they have to balance.

I have to tell you another thing. You have all heard that three letter joke. Remember the three letter joke. The new government comes in and the first letter says, blame the previous government. The next letter says, blame the federal government and then the third letter says, write three letters. Well, you have to remember, municipal governments, they have four letters. It is not just blaming the previous government, not just blaming the federal government, but they can blame the provincial government, too, before they get to the fourth letter. They do it very wisely.

This harmonization is a very smart move in the long run for business. What is good for business is good for the municipal governments for sure. Ask any municipal politician, they will tell you that. They need the commercial base up, the residential base is costing them money, but the commercial base must go up. It is good news in that regard. Wait a little while and we will see. As far as downloading, there is no downloading other than any other department in any Liberal Government. Municipal governments will handle it and I can tell you, if the provincial government in the last 10 years ever ran their government the way the Hants East government did, we would be in great shape today. I thank you for your time, Madam Speaker. (Applause)

[Page 1283]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, I want to commend the previous speaker in that he not only delivered, but much of the content or most of the content provided a great deal of comic relief. Unfortunately, the topic that is before us for debate is not one that Nova Scotians consider to be a laughing matter.

Madam Speaker, what this government is doing unashamedly, unabashed, is very clearly offloading and downloading its responsibility on to the municipal taxpayers. The previous speaker said in his remarks that we shouldn't exempt the Department of Municipal Affairs. Well, I didn't believe that the municipal units across this province were part of the Department of Municipal Affairs. I didn't know that they were to dance to the tune of the Premier, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Transportation and the other Liberals who are in charge of the government.

I didn't know that they had strings attached and they were puppets that were to dance. I thought that they were considered to be and were to be treated as a respected level of government, one where every time when we have municipal week, politicians at the provincial level run around introducing resolutions commending municipal governments for the excellent job that they are doing in meeting and dealing with the people on the local community basis.

When I listened to the previous speaker talking about all the wonders that are going to occur and how all these cost savings are passed on, I thought I was listening to Brian Mulroney. Isn't that what he said when the GST was introduced?

AN HON. MEMBER: Don't insult Brian Mulroney.

MR. HOLM: Now he says, don't insult Brian Mulroney. I am sorry if comparing the Liberals to Brian Mulroney, he considers it an insult to Brian Mulroney. Madam Speaker, the same malarkey was given then and the same malarkey is being recycled by the Liberals.

Madam Speaker, there are all kinds of areas and ways that this government, quite honestly, like the former government, whenever they wanted, whenever they chose, would offload increased costs on to property taxpayers. Let's face it, municipal taxation is a regressive form of taxation. It does not take into consideration at all the ability of an individual to pay. Now, this government, for example, which says that it wants to help to maintain seniors and others on low and fixed incomes in their own homes, that says that is their policy, this government, which, of course, removed the tax rebate for seniors who had not been on it before, this government is now offloading its costs to municipalities which will mean to provide the basic services, municipalities will have to increase their costs.

Yes, Madam Speaker, this is a government that according to the President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the headline in the newspaper said, very clearly, stop passing the buck. What the government is doing is not actually passing the buck. The government is actually passing the responsibility, and meaning that the municipalities have to come up with the bucks to provide for the basic services.

[Page 1284]

[5:45 p.m.]

The Leader of the Official Opposition talked about some of the costs. He mentioned four small towns, important towns in Nova Scotia and the cost that harmonization of this GST and PST to create the new BST is going to create for those towns. Those are significant amounts for those towns.

In the metropolitan area here it is expected to cost around $6 million. Of course, the new metro super-municipality that came about courtesy of this Liberal Government without any consultation, without any plebiscite, without asking, they are going to get this $6 million additional bill passed to them. Anyway, the mayor asked, where are the Liberal MLAs who represent this area? Why aren't they standing up? Why aren't they speaking out? Well, Madam Speaker, one member did, the member for Timberlea-Prospect. He spoke out in this House. He told the municipal councillors, who are worried and concerned about the taxpayers and the businesses in their community, to stop whining, to the loud applause of the Liberal members of this House. That is speaking out on behalf.

In Cape Breton, somebody who is not unknown to the Liberal benches, is well familiar with Liberal members, the Mayor of the new Regional Municipality of Cape Breton, maybe he is whining, too. He said that $1.5 million is what they predicted in terms of that.

Service exchange was supposedly to be revenue neutral, cost neutral, Madam Speaker. The government was going to be taking over, not only having a one-tiered social assistance system across the province, but was going to be taking over responsibilities for that. Yes, indeed, they did set up a one-tiered social assistance system in metro. But you know what they did, too? They set it up and said, we will be responsible; yes, indeed, we agreed on service exchange; and yes, indeed, we agreed that we are going to take over this cost; but, municipal taxpayers, here is a $22 million bill for providing that service.

Also, Madam Speaker, in this area the cost for amalgamation is going to over $22 million, on top of the BST, on top of the cost for the community services, on top of the added costs that they are now going to have to pay to upgrade and repair the roads that have been neglected, that have been under the Department of Transportation's responsibilities for the last number of years, but where they have not been putting the money in to do proper repairs over the last number of years, knowing that they were going to shovel it off to another level of government.

The government says, oh, we have to share the pain. They did it again. Do you know there once was, not too long ago, last year, government-provided assistance to municipalities so they could help small farmers and help keep land in farm production? This year, they ripped another $1 million out of that and they said, now, municipalities, you start taxing the farmers; you can go up to $2.10 an acre for the farmland, if you want, because we are cutting out our subsidy of $2.08 an acre that they used to provide so that they would not have to pay that tax. So those municipalities, if they want to help to maintain the productive farms in their areas, either have to increase the tax on those lands now, or they are going to have to try to find another way to eliminate that amount of money out of their budget, come up with it another way.

School boards, Madam Speaker. I don't know how much the government is going to impose upon municipalities again this year in terms of mandatory increases. This is a government with a Charter of Rights that said they respected municipalities and that level of government and was going to be bringing forward a Charter of Rights for municipalities which, of course, they forgot.

School boards are also going to be hit with the BST. The children in this province who already don't have textbooks, who are in classrooms that are ever increasing in size, where there are decreasing resources, where there are fewer specialists providing those specialist needs that have been identified, just hit again with a $10.4 million reduction in the education budget, the BST is imposed and yet more dollars are ripped out of the children's education in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1285]

I have never been prouder to say I am not a Liberal. I have never been prouder than to say that now because what this government is clearly doing is trying to pretend that it has good fiscal management, it is playing a shell game. It is trying to treat the people in the Province of Nova Scotia as if they are fools. It is trying to hoodwink people by believing that they have good fiscal management when what in reality they are doing is they are taking their costs, they are sliding them off onto private companies' partner's books, whether that is for building the new schools, building new prisons, whatever the case may be and in addition to that they are slipping these costs off to municipal taxpayers so the municipalities will take the heat when they have to increase their tax rate in order to provide the basic services so that this government can pretend that they have a balanced budget or a surplus. To me, that is the complete opposite of being a responsible and a democratic form of government.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have a chance to address a few minutes of remarks to this particular resolution. The resolution addresses the matter of the downloading of costs from the provincial government level to the municipal level. It occurred to me that it might be a reasonable starting point to go to the document which John Savage and all of those who are now his Liberal MLA and Cabinet colleagues took door to door in May 1993.

The Liberal Municipal Reform Policy, so-called, in the last provincial election said among many other things, you vote for us, vote for John Savage and the men and women who are candidates with him on the Liberal banner and we will do this, said they, we will produce, "A Charter of Rights and Responsibilities to distinguish provincial from municipal responsibilities , . . .", and note these words in the context of the resolution we debate tonight, and to prevent the province from, " . . . `downloading' or deferring costs to the property taxpayer will be put in place by a Liberal Government after consultation with the municipalities.".

The Liberal Government, the Savage Government is now in place three years and there is no Charter of Rights. The Liberal Government is in place three years and we have had three years of constant downloading of cost and expense from the provincial level to the municipal level and we have a Liberal Government in place for three years and we have, as I have seen it and as the Union of Nova Scotia Municipality leadership over the last three years has indicated vociferously over that three year period of time, we have not had the consultation with the municipalities which was promised by Dr. Savage and this current Liberal Government.

I think I would just simply ask if there are those - I am most intrigued, I love people who get into these histrionics and they get the GST output is going this way and the GST input is going this way and the PST is going to collide with Mars and suddenly it will be

[Page 1286]

nirvana. (Interruption) Only if your stars line up, that is exactly right. Well, I have no stars and a pretty modest line-up, I will tell you, so the likelihood of me reaching nirvana is about zero, but the likelihood of Nova Scotians believing that the PST coming in and the GST going out is anything but hokey theatrics, then I think the honourable member, whom I like very much, should go back, get a new mirror and practice a new set of moves for his next speech here in this House because, Madam Speaker, all the inputs and all the outputs and all the swings don't, if I may, stand up against - in the context of this resolution - a damning statement from municipal leader after municipal leader about the way in which this provincial government has treated them at the municipal level.

Capping by the Department of Community Services. The budget announcement places two new caps on provincial contributions and so the municipalities are under the gun in that regard. In July 1995, the Municipality of Kings writes to Dr. Smith and they describe the addition of a second-level capping, after which the municipalities will pay 100 per cent of the costs and so on. Clearly a case of downloading, a practice that was to be eliminated through service exchange.

We can do GSTs in and GSTs out. What is going on is that the service exchange isn't taking place anything like it was promised by Premier Savage and his colleagues in the election. GST/PST harmonization. GST/PST with the inputs and the outputs and the windmill going. The Town of Canso expects to pay approximately an additional $20,000 in operating costs; The Town of Windsor, $23,000 in added operating costs, $137,000 in added capital expenditures as a result; and the Town of Lunenburg $20,000 additional in operating costs, roughly $85,000 in capital. These towns are going to experience increased expenditures, increased costs.

The problem is, and it is the same problem that we are seeing here at the provincial level, as they download to the municipalities, that we see with the distinguished Minister of Finance when he talks about the fact that his new, blended and harmonized PST and GST is going to result in him taking in $120 million less in taxes from the Nova Scotia taxpayers. He says, what a good boy am I. I am going to take $120 million less from the Nova Scotia taxpayers but, don't worry, I am going to get it made up because Paul Martin, who is probably now signing up as campaign manager for Sheila Copps in her election . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: That's where Bernie . . .

MR. DONAHOE: Well, Bernie is probably there, too.

Well, the problem, Madam Speaker, is that the money Paul Martin will send down here is your money and my money and the Nova Scotia taxpayers' money; it is not Paul Martin's money.

The mayor is worried about RCMP policing costs. The Minister of Justice has decided on a new administrative process relative to RCMP policing. It is going to result in Antigonish - Madam Speaker, I have half a minute - 65 cents on the tax rate in Antigonish, 18 cents in Digby, 13 cents in Oxford, 13 cents in Pictou, 85 cents in Port Hawkesbury, 30 cents in Windsor, and 50 cents in Yarmouth. These are tax increases at the municipal level as a result of the Minister of Justice changing the administrative arrangements relative to RCMP contracts.

So I say, Madam Speaker, we can have all the histrionics we want about inputs and outputs and . . .

MADAM SPEAKER: We have reached the moment of interruption, honourable member.

MR. DONAHOE: . . . but the hard, cold reality is that this government is downloading like crazy on the municipal property taxpayer and it is time that it came to an end. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1287]

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, we will be sitting tomorrow from 12:00 noon until 6:00 p.m. Following Question Period, we will be moving into Committee of the Whole House on Supply and continuing with the estimates alphabetically in the Red Chamber and continuing with the Minister of Health in this Chamber.

There has been a lot of interest in Friday's hours. They will be from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

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

MADAM SPEAKER: We will stand adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

We have reached the moment of interruption. The resolution this evening is with the member for Inverness and the member for Victoria.

[6:00 p.m.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable for Victoria.

EDUC.: GAELIC CULTURAL AWARENESS - PROMOTE

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Madam Speaker, if I may read the resolution:

"Therefore be it resolved that during Nova Scotia's first Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month that we the members of this Legislature promote awareness of the Gaelic culture and language.".

Madam Speaker, it is certainly an honour for me to have the opportunity to say a few words this evening on what I consider a very important resolution. Comhairle Gaidhlig an Alba Nuadh and the Province of Nova Scotia have dedicated the month of May as Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month.

Madam Speaker, I did have the opportunity to represent the Minister of Education with this group of individuals in releasing the press release downstairs. I want to read a portion of their statement this morning. "In October of 1995 a group of people met to discuss the status of Gaelic in Nova Scotia. It was a long meeting where many ideas were put forth which would focus attention on the state of the Gaelic language here today. Many proposals were put forth but every one kept coming back to one central fact: the need to educate people

[Page 1288]

about the language and the heritage of the Gael. That's why we're here today launching the first ever Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month in Nova Scotia.".

It is truly fitting that the Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month begins on May 1st, as it is the ancient Celtic feast day of Bealltainn. Madam Speaker, you corrected me on that pronunciation of Bealltainn already today and I am going to try and pronounce it correctly.

Madam Speaker, we have come a long way from the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden when all things Gaelic were suppressed by the British Government of the time. The subsequent emigration as a result and the Highland clearances ensured that the Highlands of New Scotland have been settled by the former masters of the old. Despite government oppression, the Gaelic language was able to survive and thrive in the Maritimes of the 19th Century. In fact, the 19th Century made the Maritimes the home of the largest Gaidhealtachd in the world.

Eastern Nova Scotia abounds in many of the Gaelic traditions lost in the Scottish Highlands. Cape Breton in particular still holds the last concentrations of first generation Gaelic speakers in Nova Scotia. Madam Speaker, their numbers have declined to less than 1,000, but while this is sad, there has been a Gaelic cultural revival in eastern Nova Scotia.

Today, the Gaelic language is spoken fluently by less than 1,000 people, most of them over 70 years of age. That statistic and the history of the decline of the Gaelic language are important issues and the fundamental reasons we are launching this project this month. However, it is not our intent to spend the next 30 days lamenting the perilous state of the Gaelic or the regrettable actions of the last 250 years.

It has not taken hold to the same extent as the many Celtic traditions revived in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but it is nonetheless significant. The gift of Gaelic culture to Nova Scotia is a rich heritage upon which we can draw our strength. Our Gaelic cultural traditions must survive and thrive in the coming century for both its cultural and economic impact.

The traditions of bagpiping, fiddles, step dancing and the language itself is a great draw for tourists. The Gaelic culture also has a humorous side which is echoed in some of the many comedic acts which have originated from Cape Breton. Preserving and promoting the language must be a priority.

There has been great progress with regard to Gaelic education in our universities. The Celtic Studies programs at St. Francis Xavier University and the University College of Cape Breton stand as a testament to this fact. History, however, tended to work against the language. Gaelic was shunned in our public education system for years while English cultural influences worked against the every day use of Gaelic. From a generation between World War I and World War II Gaelic experienced a dramatic decline.

While the growth of university programming in Celtic studies is important, no greater achievement occurred in the preservation of Gaelic than the creation of the Gaelic College along the beautiful shores of St. Ann's Bay. The Gaelic College was an idea and a creation of Angus W.R. MacKenzie, who during the Great Depression was able to raise the money to build a Gaelic College. Today's Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts is a centre dedicated to the Gaelic traditions. Today was a great day for the college in that there will be a full-time director of Gaelic programming on the staff at the Gaelic College.

Mr. Hector MacNeil, a Gaelic instructor, has been nominated to that post. Mr. MacNeil is a graduate of the Celtic Studies from the University College of Cape Breton and holds a Master's Degree in Celtic Studies from St. Francis Xavier University. Mr. MacNeil's appointment marks an historic turning point in the college's role in the maintenance of the Gaelic language and culture.

It is with great pleasure that I welcome Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month. It is the result of a small group of hard-working people dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Gaelic language and [Page 1289]

culture. Our language is the mark of a people and I encourage all members to do their best to promote this rich heritage.

Madam Speaker, it would be an honour for me to share the remainder of my time with my colleague, the member for Inverness, who I am sure, will debate this resolution a bit further.

MADAM SPEAKER: Would the member for Kings North like to proceed next and then I will go to Inverness.

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Then we will have more time if he does it later.

MADAM SPEAKER: No, the rules say you have 10 minutes apiece.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I want to thank the MLA for Inverness and the MLA for Victoria for bringing this very important subject to the late show debate this evening.

I think each and every one of us can appreciate the importance of Scottish heritage to the very lifeblood and the development of Nova Scotia. My family has been part of Nova Scotia for generations and generations. My mother's side of the family are Muggahs from Cape Breton, from Sydney, from Baddeck. It means a great deal to all of us to have roots that go so deep into Nova Scotia. My father served for many years as Chairman of the Gathering of the Clans and Chairman of the Scottish Societies of Nova Scotia.

Those associations help to remind us of the importance of our history. Our history, New Scotland goes back so many years. Our flag is the flag of Scotland with the colours reversed. It is the Cross of St. Andrew, the patron Saint of Scotland. The reason the cross goes the way it does is when St. Andrew was crucified, he said I do not want to be crucified on the same shaped cross as Jesus, so they put him on an x-shaped cross and that is the reason St. Andrew's cross is the shape that it is.

In Halifax, we have the monument to Sir William Alexander to remind us of the importance and the contribution that the early settlers made. Nova Scotia's early settlers went beyond Nova Scotia. They left, they settled in Waipu and they took part of Nova Scotia to Waipu and many Nova Scotians make a pilgrimage every year to Waipu to see part of Nova Scotia on the other side of the world.

In Pictou County, they are building the Hector. Now many people are so proud that their ancestors arrived on the Hector. Well, my ancestors didn't arrive on the Hector but they were there to greet them when they landed on shore. We have so much to be proud of in Nova Scotia. When you look at all the cultural activities that we owe, in Canada as a nation, in North America, in Europe, the cultural events that take place that started right here in Nova

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Scotia. About 20 years ago, a film-maker named Ron MacInnis made a film about the last Cape Breton fiddler. From that film that Ron MacInnis made, so many other people said, my gracious, let's get rolling. I think from that humble beginning, and those few ceilidhs that they held so Ron could make the film, our culture has been enriched immensely.

We have the Rankins, John Allan Cameron, the Barra MacNeils, and probably many people's favourite is Natalie MacMaster, probably one of the greatest entertainers that Nova Scotia has ever seen. Perhaps you can't put a dollar sign on the culture that we have. Perhaps it is even more valuable than money. It is more valuable to Nova Scotia. It is so valuable we can't put a price on it, but we can all feel it when we go and we listen to some of the entertainers or we read the history of Nova Scotia and we learn of the hardships that our early settlers, our forefathers, put up with so they could eke out a living in Nova Scotia and make a future for us.

The Gathering of the Clans is a relatively new celebration for Nova Scotia. It started in Scotland and I think the first one was held in Nova Scotia in 1979. It is an annual event and every three years it is an international event, with people of Scottish ancestry arriving from all corners of the world to come to Nova Scotia, which is really and truly the heart and the soul of Gaelic and Scottish culture.

The Tattoo. Is there any Nova Scotian who hasn't seen the Tattoo and marvelled at the Tattoo? It is truly a celebration with deep roots to Nova Scotia and deep roots to the Scottish traditions. It has grown and it has changed beyond simply what the Scottish tradition can offer. Nobody can resist the sound of the bagpipes and the drums. You immediately know, you associate those beautiful tunes with Nova Scotia.

The Antigonish celebration every year of the Highland Games; the New Glasgow gatherings, Iona, the College at Ste. Anne. All of these things are part of each and every one of us who live in Nova Scotia. They are to be celebrated. They are to be remembered and they are to be studied because Joe Howe told us a long time ago that a country that cannot remember its past and honour it, has no future. So in Nova Scotia, our past is truly worth honouring and remembering and worth building upon.

[6:15 p.m.]

There is no better example of culture than the gatherings that are put on around Nova Scotia. I think in each and every region of the province at some point in the year there is a celebration of our Scottish heritage, whether it is the Burns Dinner held in Halifax with the North British Society, or the Burns Dinner that we hold every year in Port Williams. It is amazing the number of people you will see at these gatherings in Highland dress, with their kilts and all the other Scottish paraphernalia that goes along with those special events.

The great poet Bobbie Burns - I think each and every one of us remember at least part, if not all, of one of his poems - in his short life, he made a great difference. To show respect and admiration for Robbie Burns, we have his statute beside the Public Gardens in Halifax.

The heart of Scottish culture is Cape Breton Island. We are fortunate that the Cape Bretoners allow all of us in Nova Scotia to share that culture. They are not trying to say that only in Cape Breton can you honour the Scottish tradition, but all over Nova Scotia we have the Scottish traditions and the families who remember all the past greatness of the heritage.

[Page 1291]

So during the Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month, it is a great time for us to pause and remember the contribution that our forefathers made and the contribution that Cape Bretoners and Nova Scotians of Scottish descent have made and continue to make to the life of Nova Scotia, of Canada, and, truly, Nova Scotians of Scottish descent are making a contribution around the world. So I commend the members of this Chamber for saluting Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month, because it is truly a month we can all be proud of. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. CHARLES MACARTHUR: Madam Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to rise and say a few words about the Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month, as have other members of this House. I want to assure you that one thing I regret - and I suppose I will regret it for the rest of my life - is, that I never took from my mother and father the Gaelic language. I didn't spend enough time at home.

Sometimes they spoke Gaelic at home when they didn't want us to really know what was said. Certainly I didn't have an opportunity when I went to school to learn Gaelic, but I am really pleased that there are some institutions, especially in Antigonish, at the college, and in the Gaelic Society that my comrade comes from, where they are learning it now. I have known a lot of people in the last number of months who have come from all over the United States to take the Gaelic language and to learn the violin and to learn step-dancing in Inverness County.

Certainly we have been blessed with a lot of people in the last number of years who are taking the violin and step-dancing. I, and Kennie MacAskill one time in 1988 made a trip to Scotland, and we looked for a ceilidh all over the country, or most of the country. We didn't find one. Of course it was late in the fall, in October.

The first function that I attended in my own community, at the first ceilidh, I mentioned that we had travelled for 10 days in Scotland and never found a ceilidh and I had to come home, back to Inverness, to find one. It certainly was a great pleasure for me to come back home and find that the Scottish culture was still very much alive. I know that one of the great violin players in Scotland, Alister Fraser, has invited Buddy MacMaster and a good many more people, as well as Harvey Beaton, to go back to Scotland and teach them the old traditions of how to play the violin and teach them to step-dance.

Fiddling styles of all types have evolved over the years that are unique in Cape Breton and if you listen to the tape and I lent it to the member for Queens one time and he certainly enjoyed it, I hope he did. Buddy MacMaster and Alister Fraser had met and Fraser had invited him back to Scotland to teach Cape Breton styles. In his talk to his people he said, they have lost that real tradition and he was glad to have Buddy MacMaster come back to Scotland and revive the old fiddling and step-dancing and certainly they enjoyed it. Anybody who wants that tape, I have it and I am prepared to give it to anyone on loan and it certainly was a great pleasure for me to watch it.

Truly one of the great turning points in the revival of Cape Breton fiddling was the revival known as the Glendale Fiddlers in 1973. I must commend the late Father John Angus Rankin for his efforts in reviving the music. I think later on, he did have 100 fiddlers or so, all in one group, playing at the Glendale concert.

[Page 1292]

Pride in our music and language is a key to our future in Inverness and throughout eastern Nova Scotia. I could go on and try to name all of the young people that are involved in the Gaelic culture and its violin fiddling from Port Hawkesbury to Cheticamp and I don't want to miss anyone so I won't even try. I can tell you, that any night of the week you want to come to Inverness County all summer long and you want to enjoy the Scottish culture and the Scottish music, we have something going on almost every night of the week from one end of the county to the other. Certainly, I would be glad to take you to some of the dances, I try to attend them all and do my share of the Scottish culture and I invite anyone from this Assembly at any time if they want to come to Inverness County and enjoy some of the culture and some of the music, I will be prepared to take them to wherever it goes on. You can go from Sunday evening to Saturday evening and every night there is something going on in some community.

There is a long list of Gaelic talent, and not only Gaelic but the violin and step-dancing and you have to be able to shuffle your feel like I can a little bit if you go to some of the dances in West Mabou or in any part of Inverness County because they will shame most people. Certainly, the people that come there enjoy it. I go to almost every one and some of my other buddies usually try to see if there are any strangers in the hall that would like to try to dance or to learn the music. We have been very lucky and most of those people do enjoy the music.

Certainly, in the last year or so, I will just mention a couple of them, the Cape Breton music became Celtic music in the last year. Fiddler Ashley MacIsaac and singer Mary Jane Lamond recorded a song entirely in Gaelic. While this is not unique in Cape Breton, what is remarkable is that their recording reached number one on radio stations all throughout Canada and possibly into the States. Certainly, it is not just something that has remained in Cape Breton, we are willing to share it with anybody in the world and that is what has happened over the last number of years.

It is very difficult for a non-English song to play on English language radio stations and enjoy success. This kind of success sparks interest in Gaelic among our young people. Through our music and cultural traditions, we can promote Gaelic throughout our province as a symbol of our diverse heritage.

Our Gaelic traditions can also promote tourism along the western side of Cape Breton. The Ceilidh Trail along the coast speaks to our historic past and our future. It also symbolizes our Gaelic heritage. I believe that through our work today we can stop the erosion of Gaelic culture and promote it in the influence of the modern age. Its vibrancy will be ensured by the members of this Chamber who have an obligation to our heritage.

I want to say that it goes right through Cheticamp because they have two or three concerts in Cheticamp, especially at Cap Le Moyne and St. Joseph du Moine, where you will get most of the French and the Gaelic people meeting together and putting on a great program, usually on a Sunday afternoon and usually runs from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., as long as people will volunteer their talents.

I once again want to invite any member of this Assembly or anyone who wants to come to Inverness County and enjoy the culture, come and see me. I would be glad to take you at any time. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak.

[Page 1293]

MADAM SPEAKER: The House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 12:00 noon.

[The House rose at 6:26 p.m.]

[Page 1294]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 432

By: Mr. Edward Lorraine (Colchester North)

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

Whereas new research projects at the Agricultural College in Truro have been established in partnership with industry partners to assist the flourishing Nova Scotia blueberry industry to continue its growth and development; and

Whereas the various partners include the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Oxford Frozen Foods Limited, the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing; and

Whereas the Kentville Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have also developed a series of collaborative blueberry research projects with both industry research dollars and agriculture and Agri-Food Canada funds;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the collaborative efforts of the research community and industry partners in establishing these significant research partnerships which will be of great assistance to the blueberry industry of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1295]

NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

Given on April 30, 1996

(Pursuant to Rule 30)

QUESTION NO. 1

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

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs)

(1) Concern has been raised to our caucus about Nova Scotia's Fire Prevention Act. We have been told that it needs to be revamped in the worst way and that the present legislation is very weak. Can the minister provide me with any detailed information as to plans by her government to change the present legislation?

QUESTION NO. 2

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

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs)

(1) Concern has been raised to our caucus about Nova Scotia's Rural Fire District Act. Can the minister provide me with any details concerning proposed changes being contemplated by the government or if consideration is being given to the elimination of this Act?