The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Thur., May 16, 1996

Fourth Session

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ. - Mainland North: School - Construct, Mr. G. Fogarty 1779
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of the Board of Trustees of the Public Archives of
Nova Scotia, Hon. J. MacEachern 1779
Anl. Rept. of the Department of Natural Resources,
Hon. E. Norrie 1780
Anl. Rept. of the Nova Scotia Beef Commission (1995),
Hon. W. Gaudet 1780
Anl. Rept. of the Nova Scotia Grain and Forage Commission (1994),
Hon. W. Gaudet 1780
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 591, Health: Palliative Care Awareness Week (12-19/05/96) -
Acknowledge, Hon. R. Stewart 1780
Vote - Affirmative 1780
Res. 592, Bruce MacKinnon (Cartoonist-Hfx. Herald):
Hon. Doctorate (SMU) - Congrats., Hon. J. Abbass 1781
Vote - Affirmative 1781
Res. 593, Educ. - French Comps. (Dart. HS):
Success (Hfx.-Chebucto) - Congrats., Hon. J. Abbass 1781
Vote - Affirmative 1782
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 594, Justice - Crown Prosecutors: Concerns - Address,
Mr. T. Donahoe 1782
Res. 595, Educ. - Job Creation: Strategy (1989-1996) -
Absence Recognize, Mr. R. Chisholm 1782
Res. 596, Environ. - World Oceans Day: Founder (Dr. Judith Swan [Hfx.]) -
Applaud, Mr. K. Colwell 1783
Vote - Affirmative 1783
Res. 597, Transport (Can.) - Ferry Service (N.S.-P.E.I.):
Subsidy - Maintain, Mr. D. McInnes 1783
Vote - Affirmative 1784
Res. 598, Agric. - Industry (C.B.): Erosion - Address,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1784
Res. 599, ERA - Hospitality: Mr. W.G. Smith (Azusa, Cal.) Letter -
Commend, Mr. G. Fogarty 1785
Res. 600, Fin. - Casino (Hfx.): ITT Sheraton -
Negotiate Extrication, Mr. J. Holm 1785
Res. 601, Sports - Hockey: Jacques Allard Decd. -
Talents Acknowledge, Mr. R. Russell 1786
Vote - Affirmative 1786
Res. 602, Alex P. Christie: Heroism (Sea Rescue-St. Ann's Bay) -
Recognize, Mr. K. MacAskill 1786
Vote - Affirmative 1787
Res. 603, Canso - Mars (Planet): Canso Crater - Recognize,
Mr. R. White 1787
Res. 604, ERA - Tourism: Old Hall Wilderness Heritage Centre
Project (Eastern Shore) - Applaud, Mr. K. Colwell 1788
Vote - Affirmative 1788
Res. 605, Educ. - French Comps. (Dart. HS): Success (Cole Hbr.) -
Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 1788
Vote - Affirmative 1789
Res. 606, Health: Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Teen Health
Centre Week - Congrats., Mr. B. Holland 1789
Vote - Affirmative 1790
Res. 607, Nat. Res. - Forests: Sustainability - Address,
Mr. B. Taylor 1790
Res. 608, Health - Pharmacare: Drug Costs - Control,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1790
Res. 609, Peggy's Cove - Rescue (07/10/62): Heroism
(Brian & Douglas Scott & Glen Keddy) - Bravery Recognize,
Mr. B. Holland 1791
Vote - Affirmative 1791
Res. 610, Culture - Chalmers Awards: Recipients (N.S.) -
Recognize, Mr. T. Donahoe 1791
Vote - Affirmative 1792
Res. 611, URB - Oil Prices: Regulation - Responsibility Take,
Mr. J. Holm 1792
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 297, ERA: Employment - Initiatives, Dr. J. Hamm 1793
No. 298, Health - Home Care N.S.: Cumb. Co. - Positions Casual,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1795
No. 299, Health - Pharmacies: Dug Utilization Prog. -
Confidentiality, Dr. J. Hamm 1796
No. 300, ERA - IMP Plant (C.B.): Use - New, Mr. A. MacLeod 1797
No. 301, Environ. - Lunenburg Ind. Comm'n.: Blysteiner Lake -
Application, Mr. J. Leefe 1799
No. 302, Health - Hospitals: Band-aids - Policy,
Mr. R. Russell 1801
No. 303, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Program Review: Land Holdings -
Sale, Mr. J. Holm 1802
No. 304, Health - Air Ambulance Service: Contract - Status,
Mr. G. Moody 1804
No. 305, Health - Pharmacare: Married Seniors - Tax Credit,
Mr. B. Taylor 1806
No. 306, Justice - Maintenance Enforcement Prog.: Calls -
Number, Mr. T. Donahoe 1807
No. 307, Fin. - Budget: Brochure (Advantage N.S.) -
Printing Information, Dr. J. Hamm 1808
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hants Co.: Lakelands Rawdon Road -
Upgrade, Mr. R. Carruthers 1810
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 1:32 P.M. 1810
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:23 P.M. 1811
CWH REPORTS 1811
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. R. Mann 1812
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 5:26 P.M. 1812
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:40 P.M. 1812
CWH REPORTS 1812
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Fin. - Casinos: ITT Sheraton - Deal Cancel:
Mr. J. Holm 1813
Hon. B. Boudreau 1815
Mr. G. Moody 1817
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 17th at 10:00 a.m. 1819
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 612, Educ. - French Comps. (Dart. HS): Success (New Waterford) -
Congrats., Mr. R. MacNeil 1820
Res. 613, Sport - Rope Skipping: Bedford Skippers -
Fund Raising Applaud, Mrs. F. Cosman 1820
[Page 1779]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1996

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

12:00 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 the daily routine of business. Are there any introductions of guests?

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

MR. GERALD FOGARTY: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition which has been signed by approximately 3,600 residents of the Mainland North area of my constituency of Halifax Bedford Basin. The petition reads, "A new school is needed in Mainland North. Given growth projections, options to solve current overcrowding in our schools are short term at best. As concerned residents, we call upon our elected representatives, . . . to . . . work on our behalf to ensure that a new school is built in Mainland North . . . to improve the delivery and quality of public education for all members of our community.". In accordance with the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House, I have affixed my signature to the petition. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia.

1779

[Page 1780]

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report for the Department of Natural Resources for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1995.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the 1995 Annual Report for the Nova Scotia Beef Commission and the 1994 Annual Report for the Nova Scotia Grain and Forage Commission.

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 591

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

Whereas palliative care services which provide care to the terminally ill make a significant contribution to the quality of life for both patients and families in our society; and

Whereas the delivery of palliative care services is a coordinated effort of health care staff and community volunteers; and

Whereas the theme for this year's Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association Conference is Palliative Care's Place in Health Care - Working Together to Make it Happen;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge May 12, 1996 to May 19, 1996 as Palliative Care Awareness Week and recognize the efforts of individuals who provide support to both the patients and their families.

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 of Human Resources.

[Page 1781]

RESOLUTION NO. 592

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

Whereas Bruce MacKinnon, editorial cartoonist of the Chronicle-Herald and the Mail- Star, was awarded an honorary doctorate by St. Mary's University at their convocation yesterday; and

Whereas Bruce MacKinnon has been drawing his political cartoons for the Chronicle-Herald and the Mail-Star for over 10 years; and

Whereas Dr. MacKinnon's cartoons have received many award for their insightful understanding of the political issues of the day;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend to Dr. MacKinnon their congratulations and best wishes on receipt of this outstanding honour and wish him many more years of happy cartooning.

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 of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 593

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

Whereas on Saturday, May 4, 1996, the Canadian Parents for French, Nova Scotia Branch, held their annual oral competition; and

Whereas students from all parts of Nova Scotia took part in this competition which was held at Dartmouth High School; and

Whereas Ms. Diane Tibbett of Cedar Street, Halifax, won first place in the Early Immersion Category for Grade 11 to Grade 12 and, as a result of her first place win, is the recipient of the Canadian Parents for French Bursary and the W. Russ MacGillvary Award; Ms. Amol Verma of Brussells Street, Halifax, won first place in the Core Category for Grade 7 to Grade 8; and Ms. Caroline Khoury of Quinpool Road, Halifax, won first place in the Early Immersion Category for Grade 7 to Grade 8;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend their best wishes and congratulations to Diane, Amol and Caroline for their outstanding accomplishments.

[Page 1782]

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 594

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 Minister of Justice is only interested in bullying tactics instead of working with Nova Scotia's Crown Prosecutors in an attempt to alleviate their concerns over the conditions they face in their working environment; and

Whereas the Ghiz Report clearly detailed problems being encountered by Nova Scotia's Crown Prosecutors; and

Whereas the Minister of Justice has had nearly two years, since the release of the Ghiz Report, to alleviate the concerns of Crown Prosecutors;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice stop reverting to intimidation letters and address the real difficulties being faced by Crown Prosecutors in Nova Scotia before our court system is launched into chaos as a result of the job action by Nova Scotia's Crown Prosecutors.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 595

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 Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has defended the government's job creation record by comparing the Tories' abysmal performance from 1989 to 1993, with the Liberals' less abysmal performance from 1993 to 1996; and

Whereas the abysmal performance of both the Liberals and Tories is attested to by the fact that in 1989 there were 373,000 Nova Scotians employed and today there are only 369,000 Nova Scotians employed; and

[Page 1783]

Whereas the abysmal performance of the Liberals and Tories is further attested to by the fact that in 1989, there were only 41,000 Nova Scotians unemployed, while today there are 64,000 unemployed Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that neither the Tories nor the Liberals have been able to produce a job creation strategy and, in fact, their policies have contributed to a growing unemployment crisis in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 596

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

Whereas on June 8, 1996, here in Nova Scotia and around the globe, the world will celebrate the World Oceans Day; and

Whereas the origin of World Oceans Day is found here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the inspiration and leadership of international marine lawyer, Dr. Judith Swan; and

Whereas the purpose of the World Oceans Day is to celebrate the most significant role that oceans play in our lives, while educating individuals, groups, industries and countries about the vital importance of a health custody of our oceans, which will be a lasting heritage to future generations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the efforts of Dr. Judith Swan, founder of World Oceans Day and encourage all Nova Scotians to celebrate the central and vital role which oceans play in this province, while urging all levels of government, industries and communities to renew their energies to better care for our ocean environment.

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 Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 597

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

[Page 1784]

Whereas the Northumberland Ferries has provided valuable ferry transportation service for over five decades bringing countless economic benefits to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas with the establishment of the fixed link, the Northumberland ferry service will be the only access to Nova Scotia from the Province of Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas the Municipality of the County of Pictou and Pictou Town have requested that the federal government maintain assistance at the 1995 level;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature calls for the federal government to maintain the subsidy to Northumberland Ferries with respect to service between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for an indefinite period of time at the 1995 level.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there a unanimous consent? (Interruptions)

Yes, I found it rather hard to hear. Is it controversial? (Interruptions)

Based on that commitment is it agreeable to the House that this matter be now dealt with by vote?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 598

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

Whereas the Cape Breton Federation of Agriculture is worried about their ability to survive in the farming industry; and

Whereas farmgate sales in Cape Breton are an important link to the local economy and valued at $20 million annually; and

Whereas the elimination of a wide variety of farm support programs at both the provincial and federal levels of government has forced many farmers to sell out, threatening the health of the agriculture industry in Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved the Minister of Agriculture immediately address this very serious economic situation in Cape Breton to see if alternative solutions to the erosion of the agriculture industry can be found.

[Page 1785]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 599

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

Whereas Warren Grady Smith of Azusa, California, visited Halifax and spent more than three days here in early April of this year; and

Whereas Mr. Smith, in a letter to the editor appearing in today's Chronicle-Herald, commends local residents Karen Matheson and Bruce Sutherland, both employees of the Economic Renewal Agency, for their kindness and hospitality; and

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas Mr. Smith goes on to state in his letter, "It's no wonder that I heard all across Canada that Nova Scotia was leading all the provinces of Canada in all of the leading indicators. It's obvious that the Economic Renewal Agency is responsible for much, if not all, of the wonderful treatment provided this visitor.";

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Assembly commend Mr. Smith for taking the time to write and comment on his visit and the fine job being done by the Economic Renewal Agency and extend to him a most special invitation to return next year, which he intends to do, and visit the remainder of our wonderful province.

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

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid. (Interruptions)

Order. I can't hear the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, if he is trying to speak. I can't hear anything. (Interruption) Order!

RESOLUTION NO. 600

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

AN HON. MEMBER: How come you are speaking so softly?

MR. HOLM: Members opposite wanted me to speak softly so they could approve it.

Whereas the Minister of Finance and his ITT Sheraton gambling partner tried to sucker the people of Nova Scotia into accepting the repugnant casino scheme with promises of jobs and investment, buxom wenches and castles in Spain; and

[Page 1786]

Whereas the minister now acknowledges that only a scaled down version of his grandiose scheme will come to pass and his grand promises of jobs and tax revenues will go up in smoke; and

Whereas Nova Scotians will still be left with the negative social fallout from the minister's failed casino scheme;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to begin negotiations with ITT Sheraton, with a view to extricating Nova Scotia from this odious casino deal as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 601

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

Whereas Nova Scotia lost a true sports hero and a friend on Tuesday, with the death of Jacques Allard; and

Whereas Jacques Allard first came to Nova Scotia back in 1962 to play hockey with the Windsor Maple Leafs in the old Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League; and

Whereas Jacques' dedication and his love of the sport of hockey kept him involved with junior hockey teams until the time of his death;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature acknowledge the tremendous talents of Jacques Allard as a former hockey player, as well as a contributor to the sport, while recognizing the loss of a true Nova Scotian ambassador.

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.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 602

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

[Page 1787]

Whereas on May 5, 1996, Alexander P. Christie was presented with a Certificate of Commendation from Cape Breton - The Sydneys MP Russell MacLellan on behalf of the Governor General of Canada, Romeo LeBlanc; and

Whereas on July 3, 1992, at Bird Islands in St. Ann's Bay, rough seas overturned a fishing boat, throwing two crew members, Richard MacGregor and Eugene Christie, into the water underneath the boat; and

Whereas Eugene's father, Alexander P. Christie, was in a nearby boat when he risked his own life in which he was successful in saving the life of Richard MacGregor but sadly not his son;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia recognize the selfless acts of Mr. Alexander P. Christie on July 3, 1992, in which he was willing to put his life on the line in the service of others.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I wonder, could you ask our friends upstairs to check the sound system again. I have a great deal of difficulty hearing anyone.

MR. SPEAKER: The Editor of Hansard is there. I am sure he will take the appropriate remedial action.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 603

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

Whereas the Town of Canso in Guysborough County, famous for its many firsts, has achieved intergalactic fame by having a crater on the planet Mars named after the town; and

Whereas Crater Canso is located 21.5 degrees latitude north and 60.6 degrees west longitude on the Martian surface, 450 kilometres west of Camp Dorsa, the site of the Viking I landing on the western region of Mars; and

Whereas the name Canso was submitted to the International Astronomical Union by a famed Dominion of Canada astronomer, a Canso native son, Mr. Carlisle Beales, who incidently has a crater on the moon named in his honour, known as Beales Crater;

[Page 1788]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the many accomplishments the Town of Canso is famous for, including the intergalactic naming of the Canso Crater on the planet Mars and Beales Crater on the moon.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there a request for waiver of notice?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 604

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 official opening of the Old Hall Wilderness Heritage Centre at Porters Lake took place on Saturday, May 11th; and

Whereas the Old Hall Wilderness Heritage Centre, under the sponsorship of the Porters Lake and Myra Road Wilderness Area Association, is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the cultural and natural history of the Porters Lake area, through displays on wilderness heritage, community life, natural history and recreational opportunities; and

Whereas the Old Hall Wilderness Heritage Centre project has been made possible through an eco-tourism grant under the Federal-Provincial Cooperative Agreement to promote eco-tourism by presenting the natural history and scenic beauty of an area through the interpretive media of a scale relief model of the Porters Lake watershed, photography, paintings, illustrations and opportunities for outdoor recreation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the official opening of the Old Hall Wilderness Heritage Centre project and congratulate the Porters Lake and Myra Road Wilderness Area Association and its Chairperson, Ms. Margaret Blumsum, for this excellent project which will stimulate further eco-tourism along the Eastern Shore.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 605

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

[Page 1789]

Whereas each year Canadian Parents for French hold French language competitions; and

Whereas this year's competition was held at Dartmouth High School on Saturday, May 4th; and

Whereas Tracey Crabtree of Cole Harbour took second place in the Grade 7-8 category;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to Tracey Crabtree and the organizers and participants of the Canadian Parents for French competition for their commitment and dedication to French language, culture and tradition and commend this provincial educational system for providing these young people with award winning learning opportunities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 606

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

Whereas health education provides lifelong learning skills for students and the community; and

Whereas, from May 6 to May 9, 1996 the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Teen Health Centre hosted a Health Week; and

Whereas highlights of the week included an open house and a special session by Mr. Vince MacDonald entitled, Summerproofing Your Child;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia congratulate all those involved with the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Teen Health Centre Health Week.

Mr. Speaker, I would request 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.

[Page 1790]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 607

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 Canadian Institute of Forestry recently expressed two serious concerns over the state of Nova Scotia's forests; and

Whereas one concern was the high timber volume being harvested and its effect on Nova Scotia's wood supply; and

Whereas the second issue of concern was over the lack of a comprehensive and secure long-term forest management program;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources address these issues of concern with her officials and come up with a plan that will ensure the sustainability of Nova Scotia's forests into the 21st Century.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 608

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

Whereas Pharmacare costs have risen at an alarming rate, to the point it cost $80 million last year; and

Whereas seniors in Nova Scotia are prescribed more drugs per year than anywhere else in Canada; and

Whereas in response to the rising costs, the Liberal Government has ignored the fact that seniors do not write their own prescriptions and has, instead, imposed an annual user fee for seniors and is now telling them they must not take so many drugs;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government stop punishing seniors and open their eyes to the substantial evidence that drug prescribing and drug costs are intimately connected, and acknowledge that drug costs can only be controlled by improving the appropriateness of physicians' prescribing.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 1791]

RESOLUTION NO. 609

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

Whereas on October 7, 1962, Mrs. Mildred Scott and her daughter, Bernadette, were swept into the raging sea off Peggy's Cove; and

Whereas her two sons, Brian 15 and Douglas 14, and their companion, Glen Keddy, without concern for their own safety, selflessly managed to rescue Mrs. Scott and her daughter from a sea stirred up by Hurricane Daisy; and

Whereas recognition of their bravery is long overdue in light of their willingness to risk their own lives to save others;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia recognize the bravery of Brian Scott, Douglas Scott and Glen Keddy for their courageous acts on October 7, 1962.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 610

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

Whereas three artists with Nova Scotian connections recently won the 1996 Chalmers Awards, the biggest arts award program in Canada; and

Whereas Halifax video artist David Askevold, winner of the Chalmers Award for Visual Arts; New Minas-born flutist Robert Aitken, winner of the Chalmers National Music Awards; and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design graduate and textile artist Ruth Scheuing, winner of the Chalmers Award for Crafts, each received $20,000; and

Whereas the annual Chalmers Awards are given to Canada's leaders in dance, theatre, crafts, visual arts, music, and film and video documentaries as selected by juries of artists and arts administrators from across the country;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize these individuals - true products of Nova Scotia - for their outstanding contribution to Canadian culture.

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

[Page 1792]

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 611

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

Whereas members of the Official Opposition have been critical of this government for sloughing off, to the federal government, responsibility for issues like Devco; and

Whereas the Leader of the Official Opposition has flip-flopped and now wants the province to ask the federal government to investigate high gas prices through that toothless tiger known as the Bureau of Competition Policy; and

Whereas intervention of the toothless tiger is required only because the Official Opposition, while in government, stripped from the Utility and Review Board the power to regulate the maximum price oil companies can charge for gasoline products;

Therefore be it resolved that both the government and the Official Opposition stop sloughing off responsibility to the federal government and, instead, take measures to restore the regulatory powers of the Utility and Review Board to prevent the continual gouging of Nova Scotia consumers for the benefit of multinational oil companies.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Are there further notices of motion? If not, that would appear to conclude the items 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 is the honourable member for Pictou West. He has, I believe, submitted a motion that I have read before. (Interruption)

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: . . . one of the NDP resolutions.

MR. SPEAKER: All right, because we had already debated this particular resolution, I think on Tuesday.

Is there an NDP submission to the late debate today?

MR. JOHN HOLM: I could give you the essence of it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No. No.

AN HON. MEMBER: Condemn the government for living.

[Page 1793]

MR. SPEAKER: The Clerk advises me that the winner of the late debate is the New Democratic Party, speaker and subject to be announced.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of information. If members would like, I would be happy to tell them the topic.

MR. SPEAKER: The topic is?

[12:30 p.m.]

MR. HOLM: Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance contact his gambling partner, the ITT Sheraton, to suggest they sing together, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: All right, we will hear debate of that subject at 6:00 p.m. this afternoon.

The time is now 12:31 p.m. The Oral Question Period - if we could restore some order, please - will last until 1:31 p.m., for one hour.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ERA: EMPLOYMENT - INITIATIVES

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I would tell the minister to relax; I am not going to ask him about the Bluenose or the sound stage.

I would like to remind the minister that the government's own latest figures indicate that, as of right now, 64,000 men and women are unemployed in Nova Scotia. I would remind the minister that he represents the government which promised to change job opportunity for Nova Scotians, and it has changed that opportunity. Unfortunately, it is an opportunity that is far less than when they took over office, because 6,000 jobs are not there that were there when they took over as the government in 1993. Those figures are the clearest indictment that this government has failed and failed miserably. It has failed the people of Nova Scotia, and everywhere you go you find people looking for jobs.

My specific question to the minister, after three years of failure, specifically, will this minister indicate for this House the top three initiatives that he and his government are now pursuing to employ 64,000 jobless Nova Scotians? How is the minister addressing this crisis?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member opposite was either not present or hasn't read the debate from yesterday on the very resolution of job creation. The most important three initiatives - and I am delighted to answer this question - is, first of all, that we put our own fiscal house in order. For the first time in the history of the province, the trustees opposite did not exercise fiscal responsibility and the greatest and most important block to economic recovery in this province was the legacy of debt and the legacy of debt service left by the members opposite.

The second element of a job recovery plan is to work with the private sector, the communities, the federal government and the Province of Nova Scotia to make sure that we create the most competitive business climate in Canada, from an approval and regulatory point of view as well as from a taxation point of view. The third element - and I would encourage members opposite to do this; I have not had one referral from any member opposite of a potential business opportunity in this province and I have had hundreds from [Page 1794]

our own caucus, all of which we are following up - is that each and every Nova Scotian be an ambassador for this province and be interested in economic development. (Applause)

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for relating a chapter out of an elementary textbook on economics. I am sure that the platitudes and the theory will be of great comfort to those on the streets of Nova Scotia looking for a job. Not a specific action and no hope in anything the minister said, because that is what has been said on behalf of this government for three years.

Let me make the question a little easier, and I want specific answers not textbook answers. My specific question is - and it will be an easier question - will the minister name two specific initiatives that are going to put Nova Scotians back to work over the next 12 months?

MR. HARRISON: Chapter 1 of economic policy, Mr. Speaker. We had 15 years of the pop-up version of economic capabilities in this province, and what did we end up with? From 1989 to 1993, well, we borrowed billions and billions of dollars; we lost 18,000 jobs on borrowed money, borrowed promises, a legacy our grandchildren will have to deal with and 18,000 jobs were lost from 1989 to 1993. Eighteen thousand jobs have been created, not on borrowed money, not at a time when it was easy for the federal government and the provincial government to simply send someone off to New York to borrow another pocket of money but, in fact, through encouraging the private sector; 18,000 jobs have been created since May 1993, since the election of this government.

Is it enough? Are there more people participating? The answer is no, it is not enough; yes, there are more people participating; and specifically, we are working on the strengths of this province to create jobs in this province.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister again for chapter two in that elementary textbook on economics. By way of final supplementary, I will remind the House that the minister said as part of that definitive answer that government members are serving as ambassadors. Well, they certainly are.

The Premier went to India, China, Cuba, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland. The Minister of Business and Consumer Services went to the United Kingdom. The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency went to Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland. The Minister of Education went to Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, to name but a few. A simple question to the minister, his last chance now to reassure anybody that he is ever going to create a job. How many jobs exist in Nova Scotia today as a result of all of these global ramblings?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, chapter three, let me give him just a couple of examples. There are 1,100 people employed in or near the member opposite's riding in Pictou County, in Trenton Car Works, making some of the finest rail cars in the world and exporting them worldwide. How many were working when they left government in 1993? We want to talk about chapter three, they had 15 years to write the book on economic development. For 40 and 50 years our grandchildren will be paying off their wonderful legacy. I would suggest

[Page 1795]

that the member opposite read Cole's Notes, if not the pop-up version, read Cole's Notes. Watch the performance of the private sector in this province, watch the investor confidence coming from all over the world to Nova Scotia, $1.2 billion in the last eight months, just sit back and watch.

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

HEALTH - HOME CARE N.S.: CUMB. CO. - POSITIONS CASUAL

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like a direct a question through you to the Minister of Health, if I may. An advertisement appeared in the Amherst Daily News recently, put in by Home Care Nova Scotia, Northern Region, Department of Health. That ad, I would be happy to table after I am through with my questions, was, "Seeking experienced R.N.s and C.N.A.s throughout Cumberland and Colchester counties to provide nursing care to clients of Home Care Nova Scotia . . . These positions will be casual in nature, and are part of a float pool within the nursing team.".

My question to the minister is whether this is the approach that is being taken by Home Care Nova Scotia across the province, in other words, seeking new positions on a casual basis to be part of a float pool?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I should think not. This perhaps refers and I will check with the staff of Home Care Nova Scotia. The employees of Home Care Nova Scotia, per se, which were former employees of the coordinated Home Care Program that previously existed, perhaps need some bolstering in the northern area. I would have to check the reason and the particulars about this ad. I would be happy to do that with the people.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let me say that we have heard from a number of nurses throughout the province in the past nine months to one year, who have lost their jobs in hospitals, full-time, well paying, secure jobs paying benefits. They have reported to us that they have gotten jobs on a casual basis with Home Care Nova Scotia where their wages have been significantly reduced. They are on an on-call basis, they receive no benefits and there is absolutely no job security. We have also raised concerns in this House that as the government has taken $114 million away from hospitals, that they have put a measly amount of money into home care.

I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, does he agree with this approach, which is downloading the costs of the health care system onto nurses and other health care professionals by downloading their wage costs, is this the approach, in terms of saving money, that this minister is approving?

DR. STEWART: I note that the honourable gentleman opposite thinks that $49 million is a measly sum to put towards home care. I will have that noted, I am sure everyone does; $49 million is no measly sum. It is an appropriate sum and is growing and will grow over the years.

That having been said, Mr. Speaker, I would take the question under advisement. I am sure this advertisement is part of a specific program that I can check out with the staff of Home Care Nova Scotia.

[Page 1796]

MR. CHISHOLM: Well, Mr. Speaker, again this business about $49 million extra dollars being put into home care is the same as the assurances about a balanced budget from the Minister of Finance, it is absolute fantasy, as evidenced this year . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Please, now we are not debating the budget, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . by the fact that $33 million has been taken out of hospitals and only $4 million has been put into home care, Mr. Speaker.

I want to ask the minister in my final question, Mr. Speaker, is this, in fact, what Nova Scotians can expect as this minister destroys the health care system that has already been in place in communities, through hospitals, as he is supposedly shifting to health care in the home by providing nursing care, the basis for the health care system, that is unstable, that is insecure, that is low wage with no benefits. Is that his idea of a stable workforce to provide health care in the Province of Nova Scotia?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the NDP refers to what Nova Scotians can expect from this government. Nova Scotians can expect and should expect from this government proper management of home care resources, proper management of health care resources. That is what they will see from this government, true dedication to improvement of the system that should have been improved many years ago.

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - PHARMACIES: DRUG UTILIZATION PROG. - CONFIDENTIALITY

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Health. The minister is fully aware that his department is introducing a drug utilization review program that is going to be up and running, I understand, by the end of the summer. Part of that program is a system whereby 233 pharmacies in the province will be linked, to enable each and every pharmacy, regardless of where they are in the province, to access a patient's drug history. That does make some good sense.

I wonder if the minister would indicate how this program will ensure that those drug histories are not accessible through each and every one of those outlets, in an inappropriate fashion? In other words, to guarantee that your drug profile or my drug profile is not accessible by pharmacies which I do not use, and which you do not use as well.

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I am just trying to understand fully the thrust of the question, I think the thrust is confidentiality of records. These records now exist with code numbers and code access within pharmacies. They will be linked, that is true, with the same attention given to the confidentiality, meaning they are code access and code access is needed to see these records.

There are other elements of the confidentiality program that are in place. I would be happy to issue the report on that issue alone because that is a major concern when we introduce any program, it would be necessary to ensure the confidentiality of any kind of medical records. But be it advised that these records now exist within individual pharmacies and all this program does, in essence, is to connect them together, again with attention to confidentiality and access numbers or codes.

[Page 1797]

[12:45 p.m.]

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for the answer but I think the minister full well understands that today, if I go into a pharmacy and buy a prescription and that is recorded in the computer in that pharmacy, it is only accessible in that pharmacy. My concern is that with this program, now there is the potential for that to be accessed by the other 232 pharmacies in the province, once this system is up and running. What specific information do I have to give the pharmacy which would only allow access to my file by presenting some personal piece of information that will prevent the other pharmacies from accessing that information which is in the computer in my pharmacy?

DR. STEWART: Well, there are two issues here. One is, how does one access it from a central source, for example, from a data base which would be central in the province so that we could review what has gone on in trends over months or quarters or whatever? The second issue is, who can access the record and what kind of record or what piece of the record can be accessed? Therein lies the answer to the question. Only certain amounts of data, only a certain number of data can be accessed by any given pharmacist or pharmacy. In other words, you might be able to know that a specific drug was prescribed but nothing else. You may not have access to the patient's name or to the patient's health number, for example. So it will depend on whether it is the central data bank or individual pharmacy banks. There is, however, the concern that we have for confidentiality and we have a program which would go far in protecting that.

DR. HAMM: The minister seems to be saying that the information is there and one could access the name of a certain prescription. I think therein lies some of the concern because many Nova Scotians aren't anxious to have anybody who happens to be able to plug into the computer system, for example, know what medications they are taking, for obvious reasons. Again, I still haven't gotten the assurance that I am seeking. What the minister seems to be saying is that a pharmacy could by way of learning a name and a health care number, any one of 233 pharmacies would have the ability to plug in to any drug record of any Nova Scotian that has purchased medication by a prescription and it is included on their pharmacy's computer. If somebody knows their name and their health care number, could they then access that information from any one of 233 outlets in the province?

DR. STEWART: No, Mr. Speaker, there are two issues here. First of all, the use of the card and the voluntary nature of accessing the information. If the person did not want the information accessed, they can block it and not have their health card. But the information may be given, for example, if the person had gotten two prescriptions in the same day or a prescription that conflicts with the current prescription they are getting. Only the health card number and not necessarily the name would be known by the individual pharmacy. So it is very restricted in that way in order to protect the patient. One would have to know, for example, if that prescription conflicts with another drug that the person may be taking. So it is very specific in that nature.

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

ERA - IMP PLANT (C.B.): USE - NEW

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. According to a report today in the Cape Breton Post and some of the employees of IMP that I have been speaking with this morning, Ken Rowe, the owner of IMP, is looking at putting another business into the building on the Northside

[Page 1798]

Industrial Park. I wonder would the minister share with us just what he knows about this new venture and how it is going to help the economy of Cape Breton Island?

MR. SPEAKER: Well, the minister may respond if he wishes. It doesn't come within departmental responsibilities, but in any event the honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, if there are opportunities for creating additional business in Cape Breton, we are obviously interested. If the information is correct, I am sure my staff, if they are not aware of it, will be interested in the comments, interested in the articles and will be following up.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting that this government that professes to be so interested in what is going on with IMP doesn't have a clue as to what in the world is happening on the Northside.

According to the article, Mr. Rowe has spoken to three federal ministers, he has taken the time to talk to the Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, but he probably realizes, as do the rest of us, that this government is very ineffective in doing anything about job creation and hasn't had the time or didn't bother talking to this minister.

The question for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency is, will he meet with the employees of the IMP plant? The answer is a simple yes or no.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, I think we have heard that question before. You can't ask the same question again. (Interruption) All right, the honourable minister.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated over and over again, we have been there in support, we have worked with the company and the employees, we have offered to facilitate meetings. There is agreement on both sides to resolve issues. We have indicated that if there are other opportunities for that plant, that obviously as a government, and if there is a role to be played for government, we would be happy to do that.

I, personally, have been in contact with the very worker he is talking about, my staff has been in contact. They know our door is open, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

MR. MACLEOD: I guess I went to the wrong school because I didn't hear a yes or a no. But anyway, it doesn't surprise me and it certainly won't surprise the employees of the IMP plant.

My final supplementary is to the Minister of Education on a related matter. The story that I mentioned in my first question points out that there is a shortage of trained, experienced, high-tech machinists in the province. Is the minister aware of this shortage? What steps are being taken to train more machinists in the community campus system across this province?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question because it gives us an opportunity to answer it directly. The need for training in the technical areas that are used in Pratt & Whitney, for example, and IMP and other high-tech machinists, is well known in Nova Scotia. There have been great difficulties in recruiting people into the training.

[Page 1799]

We have done several things. First of all, we have expanded the program at the NSIT Campus; we have worked with Pratt & Whitney to have an in-service program. They have hired some people and we are training them in conjunction with them. If I might continue . . .

MR. MACLEOD: What is available in Cape Breton?

MR. MACEACHERN: Well, part of it is, this is the third part of the question. The other people who are trained are at the University College of Cape Breton. So we have worked with the University College of Cape Breton to expand the program. In fact, we would be involved on the community college side in Cape Breton but the University College of Cape Breton wants to be the lead in that and we are sharing with them.

So we have three things going on; we are expanding the program at UCCB, we are expanding the program at NSIT and, at the same time, we are working with the Pratt & Whitney people to expand the high-tech machinists trade.

I want to tell the honourable member, we had a trade show last year where we even went so far as to take all the mechanical engineering people who graduated from TUNS and ask them to come to the trade show. Only one of them volunteered for the training, so there is great difficulty to get people with the kind of preparatory training to step into that trade.

We are working very hard at this, we are aware of it and we are committed to do this. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

ENVIRON. - LUNENBURG IND. COMM'N.: BLYSTEINER LAKE - APPLICATION

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Last week the minister made commitments to the House respecting an application which the Lunenburg Industrial Commission has before his department, for drawing down 150,000 imperial gallons a day from Blysteiner Lake, to be used in conjunction with the golf course . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. LEEFE: 150,000 gallons per day, which works out to 700-some gallons per minute, I believe. Or, if you run it over four months, about 18 million gallons.

AN HON. MEMBER: That would drain the lake.

MR. LEEFE: Well, it would certainly fill your bathtub.

The department also has concerns respecting the potential for pesticide contamination of groundwater and, additionally, questions with respect to the whole pesticide regime which will be put in place respecting the golf course, understanding that the Department of the Environment has created an integrated turf management system for golf courses. I found comfort in the responses that the minister gave me that day.

My question to the minister this afternoon is, have approvals yet been given with respect to the applications before the department, to which I have just referred?

[Page 1800]

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is no. At this point there are no approvals granted by our department.

MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister and I fully anticipated that that would, indeed, be the case.

My supplementary is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, again respecting the golf course in Bridgewater. The federal and provincial government, together, have allocated almost $1 million with respect to the construction of that golf course. I believe the provincial amount is somewhere around $450,000 or $490,000, a little less than $0.5 million. My question to the minister is this. Has any of that money which has been allocated yet been released to the developers of the golf course?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. As the member is quite aware, we have discussed this a number of times in the House of Assembly. Under the infrastructure program, one of the categories is to look at economic development and improvement in various areas. This project was brought forward by the economic development district there and our understanding is that approximately 35 full-time jobs will be created from this particular project. As the member is also aware, we had put a few restrictions, initially, before we did the approval, on the business plan, what the business plan was going to enact, how it was going to be followed through, and a number of issues such as the Minister of the Environment has spoken about.

At this point in time, my understanding is that there has been some clearing going on, there has been some work going on there, but as is the case with the infrastructure program, the municipality does the work and then submits the bills to the department for reimbursement. I personally don't know if they have submitted any bills yet, but I would certainly be willing to look into it and get back to the honourable member. But I will confirm that the money has been approved and allocated for that particular project, and we think it will be most beneficial when we look at Crowbush in P.E.I. and what golf has been able to do for the tourism industry over there.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my final question is also to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Will the minister commit to people in Lunenburg County, who share the concerns of the Department of the Environment, that not one penny will be released by the provincial government before all approvals are granted by the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment; not one penny will be released until all approvals are first granted by the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment for that project?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs, like every department in this government, follows procedure and process. The procedure and process that is put in place will certainly be followed by this department. As I had explained to the honourable member in my initial response, we had put in some restrictions and some limitations and some things that had to be done before this project was even approved, and my understanding, I believe from the Minister of the Environment, is that the environmental concerns were also addressed at that time. But what I would say is that my department, the same as all government departments, follow the appropriate procedures before anything is enacted upon.

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Hants West.

[Page 1801]

HEALTH - HOSPITALS: BAND-AIDS - POLICY

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Mr. Minister, we normally associate band-aid medicine with the Third World. I wonder if the minister could tell the people of Nova Scotia why we have issued a policy that when patients come to the hospital for certain procedures, they are told to bring their own band-aids?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, if such a policy exists, it is certainly news to me. That is an essential piece of equipment that should be in hospitals. If the honourable member opposite has a specific reference or a specific incident, I would be happy to know about it and I would certainly investigate it.

MR. RUSSELL: Well, I do have a specific incident, Mr. Speaker. A gentleman - whose name I will pass on to the minister confidentially - had to come back to a hospital to have some stitches out and he was told over the phone what his appointment time was and told to be sure to bring band-aids, because the hospital could no longer afford to supply band-aids.

AN HON. MEMBER: This is like a real American system.

MR. RUSSELL: An American system? This is something, as I said, that you would find out in the middle of the Pacific on an island somewhere.

Would the minister advise Nova Scotians that those essential medical supplies that are needed, particularly for that kind of service, are provided by the hospital, gratis?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, first of all, we could debate as to why a person had to come back to the hospital to have sutures removed to a hospital emergency department, that is an issue that I think we ought to debate. In terms of necessary medical equipment, of course that should be in place. That is the responsibility of the board of directors of each of our facilities. I would say that they are doing a very fine job of providing and, in fact, that is one of the major issues that we have debated in this place. If the particular incident is available to me, I certainly would welcome it and investigate.

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it deals with the matter of hospital pharmacies competing with private pharmacies for business from nursing homes. The minister, in response to that question two or three months ago, said that it wasn't on. Well, I can assure him that it is on again and hospital pharmacies are indeed bidding on business from nursing homes. Would he confirm that that is now the practice that is permitted by the Department of Health?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, we are trying to provide uniform policy around the province in terms of the acquisition of medications. It differs in some communities because some communities do not have pharmacies readily available and it can be convenient to seniors and to nursing homes to have it available through our system.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I call on the New Democratic Party, the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs wishes to make a brief introduction of the students in the gallery.

The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.

[Page 1802]

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable members for giving me the opportunity to make this introduction during Question Period. I am very pleased to have in the east gallery the Dartmouth High School Grade 12 political science class with their teacher, Colleen O'Connell. I can tell you that these students have their own Model Parliament coming up next week at Dartmouth High School and I have had the privilege, the last four years, to act as either the Speaker or the Lieutenant Governor.

I am pleased to see them here today for Question Period to get the goings-on in Question Period so they get a flavour of it for next week. The Honourable Dr. Jim Smith is going to be their Lieutenant Governor and I am sure he, too, will set a fine example. I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome and we certainly appreciate having them here today. (Applause)

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

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS. - PROGRAM REVIEW: LAND HOLDINGS - SALE

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I too wish to add my words of welcome and that of my colleagues to our students. I am sure one of the things that they have learned already is why we call this Question Period and not answer period.

I would like to go on this question through you, Sir, to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. I became a little bit nervous when I saw the Minister of Finance a little while ago announce the province for sale brochure that he put out, talking about all of the items that the government was going to consider selling off to the private sector or privatizing. I became very nervous that the Department of Housing would consider selling off the lands that it owned for housing development.

The government has put out terms of references for the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs, Residential Land Development Program Review, and I have gone through those. One of the stipulations is that whoever wins this contract in preparing their report has to advise the government about the termination of the programs, regardless of the consultant's final recommendations, articulate steps to be followed by government in terminating the program and divesting itself of current land holdings.

My question to the minister is quite simply this, if the government has not already predetermined that it is going to be shutting down those sections of the Housing Department and liquidating its current land holdings, why would you make that a condition even before you know what the recommendations of the consultant is going to be?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have this question. As has been the case with this government for the past two and one-half years, we are looking at new and better ways of providing services to the citizens of the Province of Nova Scotia. The Department of Housing is looking at the land holdings that we currently have. We have looked at a number of aspects and so we put out an expression of interest because we think it is appropriate that people who are in that field, who have more expertise than I happen to have in the Department of Housing, give us an idea on what we should be doing with this land.

There is a fair amount of housing land all across the province, some of it has been in holding for many numbers of years and some of it we have developed very, very well. Just recently, up in my constituency, at Lancaster Ridge, that development has been very successful and has offered a large number of housing.

[Page 1803]

Mr. Speaker, to suggest that there is only one way to do something is inappropriate and incorrect in today's society, so we have asked for an expression of interest to look at any number of ways that we could deal with the housing lands. There has not been made any predetermination or any pre-decision on what we are going to do with these lands, but we have asked for input.

With regard to his question on that specific aspect, we want people to understand the degree and the significance of what they are going to be coming forward with. We want to have the expertise of those individuals to give us the answers to some very tough questions.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister says that there is no predetermined plan, that they don't just, necessarily automatically, intend to sell off the heritage so that there can be some money to put into the Minister of Finance's bottom line.

Under the terms of references, as well, it says that, under the Ownership of Information, all information collected, material gathered, and reports, analyses and data produced shall be and remain the sole property of the client. That client is the government, the minister and her colleagues. My question to the minister is simply, Mr. Speaker, if there is not a predetermined plan as to what the government is going to do, if they do not plan to gerry-pick through the reports and analyses just to find information to back up what they intend to do, will the minister agree, here and now - since this is paid for by the taxpayers and it deals with the property belonging to the people of Nova Scotia - that all reports, all data, all information that the minister receives will, in fact, be made public?

MS. JOLLY: Well, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member, as per usual, is very cynical and wants to have things both ways. He wants to be able to have it both ways. He tells us that we shouldn't be looking at or dealing with or trying to have an innovative way of dealing with these housing lands. On the other hand, he doesn't think the private sector should be involved in housing with the Department of Housing, but he wants me to give out all of this confidential information to the private sector after I receive it, as the client who has paid for the study. He is asking for it both ways.

The government would like to have an opportunity to look at what could be done with land that we currently own. We don't feel it is appropriate that the private sector would get all that information as well, because I am sure that the honourable member would look at any other number of ways to say that what was recommended was incorrect because, Mr. Speaker, they never come up with a positive answer; they never come up with a positive response; they never come up with a way of doing business differently. That is what this government has done; they are never able to do that. They want it both ways with no responsibility.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of those in the gallery, I want to interpret for them the minister's answer . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Please, please, ask a final supplementary. Never mind the interpreting.

MR. HOLM: I want to tell the minister that my freedom of information request will be coming, Mr. Speaker, and she can then figure out how she is going to answer the freedom of information request.

[Page 1804]

My final question to the minister. The minister knows that municipal by-laws do not apply to provincially-owned lands or, in fact, federally-owned lands. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, if the minister wants, the minister can throw aside or discard the municipal land use designations that are placed on lands, and change, if she and the government wants, serviceable boundaries to increase the land value, to sell it off to developers like Armoyan who would love to get their hands on a lot of land . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Is this an interrogatory?

MR. HOLM: My question to the minister is quite simply this. Will the minister guarantee to the people of this province that she will not allow for the rezoning of any of the lands, a re-designation of any of those lands to increase their property value, to sell them off to private developers and go against the wishes of the communities that have put zonings on those properties?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, what can I say? He wants it both ways again.

AN HON. MEMBER: He certainly does.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh.

MS. JOLLY: Continually. One day they are telling us to protect people from Armoyan and then, the next day, they want us to sell everything to them. You can't have it both ways. I guess that is why my department has received a couple of calls from this caucus on what the government can and can't do on zoning.

Mr. Speaker, as has been in the past and as this government has continued to do and my department has done, land use and land planning have always been a municipal responsibility and the municipalities are, on an ongoing basis, putting forward good planning strategies, good land use strategies, and I, in actual fact, have out circulating, as the members know, a new planning Act to give the municipalities greater assistance, greater opportunities to do the planning that they want. If those individuals have even an inkling of a solution, we sure would like to see it for a change.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE: CONTRACT - STATUS

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health. On Tuesday, I asked the Minister of Health about the tendering of air ambulance. I quote the Minister of Health when he says, ". . . to set the record straight with the honourable member opposite, this was a tendered contract.". I would ask the minister, since tenders closed on March 20th, they were all officially rejected, one of the companies met in April with Mike Murphy and Marilyn Pike and was told to sit tight and await a response from government. They would be given an opportunity to participate in an open process for air ambulance. I would ask the minister today to tell us, if this was tendered, when was it tendered after March 20, 1996?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, this original tender, as the honourable member opposite has said in the previous Question Period, and as I have indicated, the tenders were opened, all of the tenders were disqualified because they did not meet the requirements of the program and they were closed and withdrawn. Then a consortium effort was attempted

[Page 1805]

by several of the companies and the proposal came forward and we proceeded along the lines of the guidelines of that procurement policy.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, so it wasn't tendered. On April 7th, one of the companies that wasn't successful, along with Cougar, met with Mike Murphy and Marilyn Pike and at that time were told that they would be given an opportunity; they should look at putting a consortium together and maybe they would have an opportunity. What they found out later was, on May 5th, the helicopter from Canadian Helicopters arrived in Halifax and, I think, on May 8th, the people from STARS were on their way from Alberta.

My question to the minister, we know it took a number of weeks for that helicopter to be painted. When was the decision made by this government that it would not be re-tendered and the contract would be given to Canadian Helicopters and STARS to do the medical program? When was that decision made?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to get a chronology of events here. Late in April the decision was made to go with the particular proposal that was received and it went through the procurement policy as enunciated here in this place by the government. (Interruptions) The issue in terms of who said what to whom and when, I can only speculate that the honourable member has knowledge that I don't have of conversations on the part of one of the proponents of the original contract. So I would assume that he has knowledge that I don't, and I can't comment on that, except to say that the procurement policy was followed; the proposal came forward late in April and we accepted that proposal by a consortium. Several consortia were considered. It was an open process; it was a transparent process and I believe we have the best program that we can ever hope to get.

MR. MOODY: My final supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health. The problem I am having is, how do Nova Scotians know that we got the best price? In other words, are we paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more because it wasn't tendered? He promised on Tuesday to give me the details: the price, the contract, the length of the contract. I have seen nothing. I would ask the minister, why is this so secret that we don't know the price of the contract, we don't know how long the contract has been given out for? I would ask the minister, how do Nova Scotians know that they are getting the best price when this wasn't tendered?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the contract was tendered. The prices are there; it is a matter of record. In respect to the amount of the contract, that has been published in the press for Heaven's sake. The amount of the contract, the details of how this was arrived at are all public knowledge. I, myself, stated here, and I am happy to inform the honourable gentleman opposite that, in fact, Nova Scotia's can be, if you look at the program as it unfolds, that we will be very confident that we produce not only an economical program, but a program that we can be proud of and carry forward with.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 1806]

HEALTH - PHARMACARE: MARRIED SENIORS - TAX CREDIT

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to ask the Minister of Health a question. Will the minister confirm that the threshold for seniors has been raised, in terms of the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Program, from $21,000 to $24,000 for a married couple?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, yes, I think we discussed this during estimates and $24,000 is the new limit set by the board of directors.

MR. TAYLOR: Will the minister tell us then, why Nova Scotia's seniors are not informed that there is a threshold of $18,000 for a married couple and it is on a sliding scale and prorated from $18,000 to $24,000? Will the minister confirm that that is the case in terms of being eligible for a tax credit relative to a married couple, seniors?

DR. STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the honourable member opposite, if he perused the information sent out to seniors, that part of the credit is that there is a sliding scale credit up to that maximum. As the honourable member has spoken in the past, particularly during estimates, we canvassed that very carefully. That has been explained to seniors, the program has been raised in respect to the ceiling. That is all that has happened.

MR. TAYLOR: I dare not accuse the Minister of Health of subterfuge but, nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, I have a letter here that I will table. This letter went out to every senior who was billed for the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Program. It is the only document that is in their envelope other than the bill itself or the tax credit. Nowhere on the document are Nova Scotia's seniors informed that the threshold is at $18,000 and is prorated up to $24,000. Nowhere is it on that document, and I would be glad to table that document.

MR. SPEAKER: All right, the document is tabled.

MR. TAYLOR: I am asking the Minister of Health, when will you inform Nova Scotia's seniors of the proper threshold, which is $18,000? When will you come clean and be honest with the Nova Scotia seniors?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the piece of paper, the literature that the honourable member opposite tabled, I haven't seen it, but I am sure it is part . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I will ask a Page to bring it to you.

DR. STEWART: . . . but only part of the overall information package, including the 1-800 lines and the other elements of that information package that we have for seniors.

We have had counsellors, every pharmacy in this province, in fact, participated in a province-wide information network that would inform every senior, not only if they walked in and asked for information, but they were part and parcel of the information blitz that we had, and that continues. So any senior in this province can ask the pharmacy the details of the program and receive accurate information on a daily basis.

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 1807]

JUSTICE - MAINTENANCE ENFORCEMENT PROG.: CALLS - NUMBER

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. I would like to thank the Minister of Justice, as I am sure all members would, for sending along to us the manuals on the Maintenance Enforcement Program. The difficulty and the reason for my question is that my office, and my colleagues have been receiving many calls from women who have maintenance orders against their former spouses and are experiencing great difficulties with receiving payments. One has not received any payment since September, another has waited over two months for an enrolment kit, and so on.

The common theme that links these women together, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, is that they cannot contact any employee, or seem to have no success in contacting the employees of the Maintenance Enforcement Program. One woman has left five messages since January - and has yet to receive a return call - both at the provincial office and at the local office. Another woman called for an update on her payment status, but has received no phone call despite the program's commitment to return calls in 24 hours.

My question to the minister. Will the Minister of Justice tell this House how many calls the Maintenance Enforcement Program has received since January 1st and how many of those calls have been answered? If by chance, as I suspect might be the case, he doesn't have that information at his desk, would he be prepared to get it overnight and table the answer to that question here in this place tomorrow?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I know that the employees of Maintenance Enforcement in head office and across the province are struggling to do their best to get on with this program. I would be happy to check with the office to see if there is any way they can tell me the number of calls and also if they can tell us the number that have been answered. I will certainly bring the member's concern to their attention but I will see what information I can get. I can't guarantee that I can give you an exact number, (a) on the number of calls and, (b) how many have been answered but I will do my best.

MR. DONAHOE: I thank the minister for those comments and that undertaking. By way of supplementary to the Minister of Justice through you, Mr. Speaker, if I may, one woman called my office to tell me that two months ago the court ordered her maintenance order. According to the MLA manual, once the court order has been issued, the Maintenance Enforcement Program is to send that person an enrolment kit. She has yet to receive that kit after repeated requests from the Maintenance Enforcement Program. She wants to enrol, she wants to avail herself of the program and as her former spouse is on seasonal employment, she is exceedingly worried about when she does get enrolled in the Maintenance Enforcement Program and begin to receive her court ordered payments.

I ask the minister if he will tell us how many payment recipients, as ordered by the court, have not yet received their kits? Again, it may be the same kind of situation where he has to make an inquiry but my understanding is the number is very substantial. Would the minister either have that number and if he doesn't, give a commitment that he will call between now and our convening tomorrow and provide me with that number?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, again we are talking about a new and very complex program involving a lot of people. It is a challenging program to get up to full speed. I know the employees are working hard. I would be glad to check the number that have asked for kits or the kit-related information such as requested by the member for Halifax Citadel. I would further add that if there was any way my office, personally, if the member has the name of

[Page 1808]

a person or persons, I can't deal with 100 very quickly but if there is one, two or five names that have contacted you and have had difficulty, I would certainly do my best to contact the office if privately, the member would give me those names and phone numbers. We would try to expedite them and to see that they are contacted and that everything possible be done to help the persons who are expected to receive maintenance enforcement.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, again I thank the minister and I sincerely hope that he will have the opportunity to make a couple of calls through the day and provide us with some detail when we convene tomorrow. When he does that, I just a moment ago asked if he would, when he reports to us tomorrow, tell us how many payment recipients as ordered by the court have not received their kits? I think it would be helpful, in fairness, to get a sense of the efficiency or efficacy of this office, would he perhaps also indicate how many people asking to be enrolled have, in fact, been enrolled and have received their kits, so we get a sense of just how effectively or otherwise, this program is getting off the rails?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to do that. I should be able to find out for members the number that have been enrolled and whatever other information I can of people who have not had the process completed. That will give us a perspective in terms of percentages because we are dealing with thousands of cases. I will make a contact before the end of the day and I will get as much information as I can for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

FIN. - BUDGET: BROCHURE (ADVANTAGE N.S.) - PRINTING INFORMATION

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance. Yesterday the Minister of Finance, or maybe it was two days ago, distributed a bunch of pamphlets around called, Advantage Nova Scotia. The minister made some of those available to our caucus with the suggestion that each MLA, I believe, could have 50 and if we needed more, we could purchase more. We scratched our heads now over the last day and we can't figure out a use for a single one.

I would wonder, by way of introducing the subject, would the minister indicate how many of these pamphlets were printed and what is the cost?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition for that question. What occurs to me, first of all, we did send 50 pamphlets to each and every MLA from all three Parties, in the anticipation that they would want to share these with people making inquiries of them.

If the honourable Leader of the Opposition and his members find no use for them, perhaps he might return them to me because some of the caucus on this side have asked for more and they would appreciate that consideration. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, so that the minister can make his reply to the question.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, to respond to the other part of that question, there were 10,000 printed. I don't have the exact costs but I think it was something in the range of $1,600, I believe. What I will undertake, to the honourable Leader of the Opposition, is to get that figure confirmed directly to him tomorrow.

[Page 1809]

DR. HAMM: I thank the Minister of Finance for his answer. As usual, he is well prepared for Question Period. I was very pleased that now he is able to tell us that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia have now paid $16,000 . . .

MR. SPEAKER: $1,600.

DR. HAMM: . . . for a Liberal election flyer.

The interesting thing is, I would like to direct a question about this to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. Earlier the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency suggested, by way of a response to my question about job creation, a number of theories. He failed to mention this particular initiative by the Department of Finance because this initiative talks about more jobs.

The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency suggests to me how, other than the jobs created by printing these flyers, these flyers will result in a single job coming to Nova Scotia, other than those jobs created by the printing of the flyer?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I still don't know whether I am going to get the 49 other copies that that member has, so I can give it out to the 5,000 ambassadors now who are registered throughout this province who, when they travel the world, whether on vacation or business, are selling this province. They are taking the KPMG studies with them, they would love to have the 49 extra copies from the member opposite, or the other 49 or 50 that all the caucus members don't plan to use over there.

The interesting thing here is, Mr. Speaker, that the pamphlet talks about the advantage that Nova Scotia has, the largest single tax break in the history of the Province of Nova Scotia, and he is asking how many jobs will be created. Once again we are talking about economic theory that has been practised for 15 years, to the shame of a governing body, the first trustees in the history of the Province of Nova Scotia who did not pay their own way.

What is the legacy, Mr. Speaker? One billion dollars that we send all over the world in interest payments, interest payments that are the greatest obstacle to job creation that this province has ever known. When the books are balanced and we start to pay off that debt, we can lower taxes, we can continue to lower taxes, we can create more and more jobs for this province and we can actually lead this province to prosperity. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: We have two minutes remaining.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a great suggestion for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. He thinks these pamphlets are great and I am sure that he is going to jump up after Question Period and congratulate the Minister of Finance for printing these. Now finally he has an instrument to create jobs in Nova Scotia. He didn't have one an hour ago but he has one now. I would suggest in distribution, I'll give the minister an idea; he is always looking for ideas. I would suggest very clearly, we will give him all our pamphlets and maybe the Liberal backbenchers will give him all their pamphlets and the minister will take the new air ambulance and he will have a leaflet drop, because other than that, I can't see what he is going to do with these pamphlets. Will the minister respond as to what he is going to do?

[Page 1810]

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, 15 years and they haven't learned a thing. What are we going to do with the good news about the business climate in Nova Scotia? We are going to sell it to the world, and not just from this House. If the Opposition doesn't want to take part in selling this province to the world, then we will do it for them and we will be joined by thousands of Nova Scotians from one end of this province to the other who are proud of being Nova Scotian, that are proud of doing business and creating jobs in this province. As I said before, if you don't want to participate, sit back and watch as Nova Scotia grows. (Applause)

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Presenting and Reading Petitions.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition which is signed by over 1,000 residents. "We, the undersigned, again wish to bring to the attention of the Minister of the Department of Transportation and Communication for the Province of Nova Scotia the deplorable condition of the Lakelands-Rawdon Road, No. 437, in Hants County. This road has been neglected for maintenance for many years and been allowed to deteriorate to such a condition that it is now a hazard to the public and their vehicles that need to use it as a means of access to work and for private uses. Immediate attention is needed.".

Mr. Speaker, I have signed this petition, I have endorsed it and I support it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[Page 1811]

[1:32 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Robert Carruthers in the Chair.]

[5:23 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 3 - Lower River Hebert Cemetery Company Act.

Bill No. 4 - Nursing Assistants Act.

Bill No. 5 - Stella Maris Residence Dissolution Act.

Bill No. 7 - Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Grant Act.

Bill No. 11 - Children and Family Services Act.

Bill No. 12 - Adoption Information Act.

Bill No. 15 - Anglican Church Lands (Tidnish) Act.

Bill No. 22 - Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act.

Bill No. 23 - Dartmouth Pollution Control Account Act.

Bill No. 24 - Bridgewater Parks and Recreation Commission Act.

Bill No. 25 - Halifax Trust Funds Transfer (1996) Act.

Bill No. 26 - Bridgewater Waterfront Development Corporation Act.

Bill No. 27 - Acadia Trust Company Dissolution Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

Also, Mr. Speaker, the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 17 - Halifax Regional Water Commission Act.

Bill No. 18 - Financial Measures (1996) Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1812]

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 13 - Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Bill No. 29 - Executive Council Act/Public Service Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[5:26 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Alan Mitchell in the Chair.]

[5:40 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

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

Bill No. 13 - Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Bill No. 29 - Executive Council Act/Public Service Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1813]

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today, so I assume this will be deemed to be the moment of interruption. I would advise members that we are sitting tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. with the Lieutenant Governor arriving at approximately 12:30 p.m.

I move that we adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow morning at the hour of 10:00.

The motion is carried.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: Now we had earlier indicated that the winner of the Adjournment debate was the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid whose resolution was:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance contact his gambling partner, the ITT Sheraton, to suggest they sing together `Let's Call the Whole Thing Off'."

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

FIN. - CASINOS: ITT SHERATON - DEAL CANCEL

MR. JOHN HOLM: Now, of course, the title of the tune that I am referring to, quite honestly, I can't confess to know all the words, Mr. Speaker. It was before my time. I hope that the casino that I am referring to will not be arriving within my time so I hope that I will have the opportunity of missing that, as well, as I am sure the vast majority of Nova Scotians do.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen the situation where a little over a year ago, the government came before the people of Nova Scotia and told them that they were going to be imposing a casino on the people of this province - in complete opposition to what the vast majority of Nova Scotians were saying and telling the minister and his Liberal colleagues - that they did not want. The Minister of Finance and his colleagues bought hook, line and sinker into this big song and dance of all these grandiose schemes that were going to arrive. What we have seen is that those promises, those commitments have not come true except that many of the predictions that people made have come true and that is that Nova Scotians would not support that casino, the grandiose scheme that the Minister of Finance sold.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said that there were going to be 1,072 full-time jobs in a permanent casino; 1,500 indirect jobs to be created; 759 employment years of work in construction; 1,017 employment years of work in construction spin-offs; 800 jobs in the interim casinos. The payroll was going to be $28 million annually, average salaries $26,333 to $32,000 including tips. Supposedly the revenues were going to be more than $50 million. Of course, the Minister of Finance says he only budgeted for $25 million in his long-term projection. He can't budget any longer than that because at the end of the four years, those revenues dry up to zero. He also predicted that the province was going to be taking in millions of dollars every year because we get 65 per cent of the after-expense profits.

[Page 1814]

Taxpayers in Halifax - now it would be the super-city - were supposedly going to be getting close to $6 million a year and the residents of Sydney, $1.4 million a year. The company was going to be investing $121 million, Mr. Speaker, and the list goes on. The casino is making zero. If the Minister of Finance and his colleagues bother to read the newspapers or to listen to the news reports, we are hearing of cases of people being brought to court, brought to trial, because of fraud and other activities that they got into as a result of the casinos and gambling.

[5:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the ITT Sheraton was given an extension to come up with their original plan. They resubmitted their original proposal after that period of time. Last Friday, the minister's Gaming Corporation rejected themselves. They rejected the original proposal put forward and sold by the Minister of Finance to the people of Nova Scotia. Why, Mr. Speaker? Even the minister's own corporation did not buy the song and dance that the minister tried to sell and the people of this province have not either. They have not bought it either. Why? Because the revenues that the minister was sold, I don't know if the Sheraton saw this Liberal Government coming or not, but it seems like they were given the large lollipop, the large sucker, that they bought into this grandiose scheme.

Do you know, the government's future revenue basically and largely depends on this supposedly 65 per cent profit after expenses, but that is on the casino profits. Now, Mr. Speaker, the ITT Sheraton is not going to lose any money. The Sheraton Hotel itself, the rooms are being filled. The casino is making money in the other areas around it. They control what the expenses are. They report what the expenses are. They have the management fees and all of those things. What this government is receiving in the way of after-expense profits is zilch.

The minister said he was going to play hardball. Well, he has to start to play some kind of hardball. Because one of the things this government did, by the agreement that they entered into, they locked Nova Scotia into the situation where if the province just turns around and tries to change the deal or to cancel the casino, Nova Scotian taxpayers could be on the hook for about $300 million. That is the kind of responsible deal that the Minister of Finance was suckered into. Hundreds of millions of dollars cannot change the amount of the win tax or anything else, hands tied. But the Sheraton can continue to take away their chunk.

Mr. Speaker, the people in this province spoke even before the doors opened. They said, in large numbers, thousands, tens of thousand of Nova Scotians, we do not want that casino and hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians are voting against that casino by not entering the doors. We were promised by this government that there were going to be all kinds of strict, tight controls and regulations and that the government would consult when it introduced regulations and yes they did, at the start, for the first time, when the regulations were brought in. But you know, once that first set came through, the minister conveniently said, well, we only promised to consult on the first round. The next time we make amendments to those regulations, we can do those by in-camera meetings, behind closed doors, down in the Cabinet chamber, without any input whatsoever from the public and that is exactly what they have been doing by things like extending the hours and allowing it to stay open on Sundays.

[Page 1815]

Now the pressures are there to provide free booze and other free give-aways, Mr. Speaker. We already have free breakfasts. They give a chit. If a senior goes, somebody over 55, on a Friday morning, they give you a chit for $5. You get your free breakfast and $5 chit for gambling, good the following week. This is the responsible action of the Minister of Finance.

Yesterday, I asked the minister in this House some questions. It seems like he had selective amnesia because when I asked him the question, the minister really didn't know much about it. He didn't know why - the minister who is supposedly in charge of things, the minister who would like Nova Scotians to believe that he is responsible and on top of issues and that we can trust his predictions and his word, and we have seen what that has turned out to be in terms of the things he promised us - he didn't even know, supposedly, why his corporation had rejected the offer that they had originally accepted.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the Minister of Finance that he has a responsibility to come clean with Nova Scotians, to lay the cards on the table. I suggest to the Minister of Finance that if he is truly committed to the interests of Nova Scotians, that it is time for him to actually start to play hardball, to sit down and instruct the officials in his department, sit down with the officials of ITT Sheraton and talk a way to end this deal, to call off the whole casino deal. That is not what attracts people to this province. If the minister cares to check what is going on down in other jurisdictions, he will find out that new casinos are not, in fact, being established anymore. That is not the selling feature for Nova Scotia, that is not what draws people here.

Mr. Speaker, this government pretends that they listen to Nova Scotians. They didn't when they introduced this; they haven't when they have introduced their amendments and changes. The minister's pie-in-the-sky predictions and the loonie tunes by the bucketloads that were going to be rolling into the coffers of the Province of Nova Scotia, fattening the bottom line for the Minister of Finance, have not happened. Now the minister himself has admitted that that hasn't and isn't going to happen. He has rejected his own plan and that of his colleagues. Let's see the minister now do the right thing and sit down, in a hardball game, to negotiate with the Sheraton and tell them we are going to terminate this agreement and the casino is out of town.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I certainly treasure this opportunity to discuss, once again, the casino operations here in Nova Scotia. As a matter of fact, I understand that the honourable member wasn't the first winner of the draw for this late debate, but at some point a substitution was made and I want to say how happy I am that that substitution was permitted . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The top three winners were all disqualified because they submitted the motion that they had submitted on Tuesday.

MR. BOUDREAU: I see, that was it. Well, for whatever reason, we are happy to be able to rise and debate this issue once again.

Mr. Speaker, it has been a very difficult session for the honourable member and for the NDP caucus generally. They have been forced, as they were as recently as this afternoon, to get up in this House of Assembly and debate in favour of deficit budgeting, to run the province at a deficit, to run the province on borrowed money. Not many Parties have the courage to do that; as a matter of fact, not even in their own Party is there that type of approach taken. It is a pretty hard sell in Nova Scotia when you try to sell the people of the province that deficit budgeting is a good thing, particularly with the experience we have had over the last 18 years. So they had a hard time with that issue and I sympathize with them. I want them to know that I understand how difficult that would be, to sell that kind of a message here in this province.

Then, of course, they also had to argue against tax cuts, which isn't an easy sell either, but they managed to soldier on and argue and vote, I might add, against tax cuts for people in this province. So, as the session comes to its inevitable conclusion, I think the NDP, having had such a difficult time with those [Page 1816]

two other issues, decided to go back to an old chestnut, to pull out a subject that they have debated, lo these many times, not so much recently, mind you, but certainly go back a year or so, and this was being debated on a regular basis.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps even more than that, I can remember those debates. Do you remember the horrible scenarios that were drawn about casinos here in Nova Scotia? It was basically that crime would run rampant, tragedies would just be all over the place, we would be turning Halifax and Sydney into another Las Vegas. Or was it Atlantic City? It was the worst kind of scenario drawn by the honourable member and his colleague.

Of course, none of that materialized so now they have adjusted the tack. They thought, well, the casino business did get us a bit of attention a year ago or so. We cannot draw those terrible, horrible scenarios anymore because people know better. They have been there, they have walked by the place, they have been in, they know that all of that was fantasy. We have to take another tack. Let us see if we can shift gears here and go at it from another angle and now the angle is the deal. We should actually sit down with the Sheraton people and negotiate our way out of the deal.

The third speaker in this debate, I believe, will be a member from the Official Opposition. I would be interested to know if he thinks that it is a good idea that at this stage we would sit down and negotiate - presuming we could, by the way, but let us put that presumption aside - whether he thinks it is a good deal to turn our backs on the $25 million a year that that particular business is bringing to the provincial coffers.

One might also indicate that there has been a tremendous success. Let us not minimize the success of those businesses, both here in Halifax and in Sydney. I will speak about the one in Sydney. Let me tell you there a large number of people working in that casino, for the first in many years on a full-time basis taking home a regular paycheque.

I do not know how many people have come up to me, more so in Sydney because I tend to see them in more informal circumstances there. They say, you know what? I was a little concerned about that casino because I listened to the NDP and some of the Opposition members drawing these terrible scenarios. I thought, my goodness, what will become of us here in Cape Breton? I can remember one person last weekend said, I was one of the leading opponents of casinos. I took my 80 year old mother in there last Saturday evening and we had a great time. It was a wonderful evening of entertainment, the best time she has had in years and I am going to go back. You know what he said to me? He said, I was wrong about that and I admit it. I do not think we will see the same admission from the New Democratic Party.

Let us talk about the deal. Right now with the Sheraton we are going through a business arrangement. There are two business partners in this deal. The Sheraton is on one side and the Province of Nova Scotia is on the other. It is represented by the Nova Scotia Gaming

[Page 1817]

Corporation. The honourable members in the Opposition from time to time have said, why are you paying Mr. Fiske so much money to run this corporation? That is an outrageous amount of money. Well, certainly it would be outrageous if we paid it to him and then did not let him run the corporation. He has a responsibility, he has a job to do. He protects the public interest and he negotiates the best deal for his shareholder, which is the government and the people of Nova Scotia. We are not going to do anything stupid on this deal.

When I hear the honourable member who spoke and who moved this resolution, I ask myself, on this issue what do they want? Well, on this issue he did come. He says, let us get out of the deal. You know, he never speaks of the consequences. He never speaks of going down to the 300 families in Cape Breton that are getting a regular paycheque and telling those people, your job is gone, go back on unemployment because I think we should close this place down. I do not think he would go down there and tell them that. He does not tell us where the $25 million comes from when we take it back out of the Treasury. This year, for example, is he suggesting we should have a $25 million deficit? Is that what he is suggesting? Or is he suggesting we take $25 million out of Health or Education? Where is the $25 million coming from? I think if he wants to be taken seriously when he stands up and says, negotiate an end to the deal, matter of fact he was quite dramatic, he picked up a piece of paper and he ripped it. It reminded me of Brian Mulroney and the trade agreement. Do you remember that, Mr. Speaker? Rips it up, he says we are going to tear this deal up.

Well, if he wants to be taken seriously about that, I think he has a responsibility to stand up in front of the people of Nova Scotia and say to those people now working, I am sorry but you are going back on unemployment. Here is where the $25 million is coming from. Now I didn't hear that, he had 10 minutes to outline his position in this debate, I didn't hear it. I don't think the Official Opposition, who may join in this debate at some point, are going to be too anxious to remove $25 million from the public coffers. I don't think they will probably want to explain to the people of Nova Scotia where that $25 million is coming from. I don't think they are going to be willing to permit a $25 million deficit to mushroom, simply to serve some outdated political agenda of the NDP. I think we have to look at this realistically, let's be sensible about this. We are going to make the best business deal that is possible in relation to the permanent casino down there on the Halifax waterfront.

At this point in time, Ralph Fiske, who is the chairman of that corporation has not come to us with a new deal. He has not come to us with an amended deal. When he feels he is prepared to do that, when he feels he is comfortable in doing that, he will come forward with such an amendment, if one occurs, and we will make our judgment on it, as government. We will, most of all keep in mind the public interest of the people of this province. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I think what the Minister of Finance told us is that out of 30-60-90, the biggest thing they came up with was casinos for Nova Scotia. I happened to travel around the province with a committee of this House that clearly said that Nova Scotians were not in favour of a casino in this province. I remember, I think it was December 19, 1994, that the Minister of Finance, with great fanfare told us about what the casino would do for Nova Scotians. I went back to see what he said it would do for Nova Scotians and it hasn't done what he said it would do.

[Page 1818]

I would hate to think that this government has no more creativity in looking at long-term jobs for Nova Scotians than to start in this Legislature by bragging that these jobs at the casinos are the best we can offer. I would hate to think that if I was anyone in this province who was thinking of a future for my young people that the best future they had would be catching on a job and working in a casino. I happen to think that we have to look at what casinos do for our province.

Yes, the government made a deal to get $25 million for four years and we have a lot of people going down - apparently, not enough - and leaving money at that casino. Where is the rest of the money going as I look at how many millions of dollars are run through that casino. A lot of dollars are run through that casino, the year to date, something like maybe $20 million, in a quarter. Where is the money going? Well, some of it is going offshore with ITT Sheraton, it is not staying in this province.

Just think, if all the Nova Scotians that spent their money at the casinos spent it on other goods and services in this province, it would create jobs and it would have a spin-off of businesses and the money would stay in the province and not go offshore. When the government says, this is good for Nova Scotia because we are getting $25 million in revenue, we are getting $25 million on how much? Maybe we would get more revenue if that money that is spent on casinos was spent on businesses in this province - the government would take in more revenue. There is only so much money to go around. When the consumers have money to spend, if they spend it down at the casino, they are not buying other commodities, they are not spending it on other things.

One of the things that I think has disappointed ITT Sheraton and it has probably disappointed a lot of people, was that if you are a big spender and want to gamble on a big time basis, you don't end up coming to Halifax, you go to Vegas, you go to some of the other spots. So we are not getting a great influx of people coming to Nova Scotia strictly to gamble. What we are doing is asking Nova Scotians to gamble. This government wants Nova Scotians to gamble. They want them to gamble at the two casinos in this province. Why? Because the government wants to get their $25 million, but how much is ITT Sheraton getting out of this? They are going to get more out of it than the government is getting out of it. You know that money is not staying in the province. So we have to ask ourselves, is this the best deal for Nova Scotia? No.

The minister said, when this casino was announced, that this thing was going to bring in millions, not only the $25 million, but other money. The one in Sydney, we are going to share the revenues with the Natives and non-profit groups in the province. In the first months of operation, we are $0.5 million in debt. In other words $400,000-some have to be made in profit in the first two quarters that they were in operation in Sydney. We have to make up over $400,000 because ITT Sheraton get their management fees, they get their construction operating costs and they reduce the debt on the building. All of those things, the Sheraton have taken out hundreds of thousands of dollars from the casino in Cape Breton. How much have Nova Scotians gotten out of the casino in Sydney? Nothing.

As I looked at the last report that we had and I think the last report ended in December 31, 1995, the Sydney Casino has to earn, in the next quarter, as it starts off with minus $400,000, to come off the top to ITT Sheraton before any profits are shared. So, you know, you have to ask yourself, when the government says that casinos are good for Nova Scotians and that we have to have the $25 million, I am asking myself, maybe the government could have got the $25 million, but in a different way and they would not have had to make the cuts that the Minister of Finance talks about.

[Page 1819]

I will say one thing, the Chairman of the corporation, Mr. Ralph Fiske, is one of the most cooperative people that you can run across. He has been very cooperative and I am wondering when the Minister of Finance says, you know they talk about us paying him too much, well I will tell you, they are paying Dr. Mike Murphy $210,000 annually, $140,000 for part-time work. They are not paying this man that. I can tell you one thing, if I call up Ralph Fiske, I can get an answer. If I call Dr. Murphy up, I don't know what is happening in air ambulance. So, you know, I cannot say anything bad about the chairman of the corporation. But I think the chairman of the corporation recognized right away that this government, in their press release on December 19, 1994, was not living in the real world. He says, the kind of proposal that this government said would happen cannot happen. The chairman recognizes that the economics of what the Minister of Finance said on December 19, 1994, is not real. It does not make good business sense.

I know and I think the minister knows that the chairman is going to come back here and say that ITT Sheraton wants to scale down their proposal. They may not even want to build a new casino. They may even eventually want to close the Cape Breton casino, unless ITT Sheraton get their money and they make money on their management side of it and all of that, regardless of whether Nova Scotians get a cent out of it or not, they will probably keep it going because they cannot lose, but Nova Scotians can lose.

I will tell you, when people lose money who cannot afford to lose money down at these casinos, and there are people who cannot afford it, and I know we have not addressed the area of addiction, this government has not addressed the area of addiction. When the minister stands up and says, oh no, these people talked about crime. Well, I can tell you, I have written to the Chief of Police in the metro area and I will tell you, there is an increase in crime. Now, can you say if it is related to the casino or not? That will take some time to determine. But we know crime has increased because of drugs, because of all kinds of things. But I can tell you, I think what the Opposition is saying, that casinos are not good for Nova Scotia, will not be good for Nova Scotia and I hope that some day this government will realize that there are other ways to employ our young people, other than just having casinos.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the Adjournment debate has expired.

The House stands adjourned until 10:00 o'clock tomorrow morning.

[The House rose at 6:11 p.m.]

[Page 1820]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 612

By: Mr. Russell MacNeil (Cape Breton Centre)

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

Whereas French learning in the public school system brings new excellence in education exemplified by recent French oral competitions held at Dartmouth High School on Saturday, May 4th; and

Whereas students from throughout Nova Scotia competed in several competition categories including francophone; and

Whereas Ms. Denise Cecille Chiasson of New Waterford placed second in Grades 9-10 francophone;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia congratulate Ms. Denise Cecille Chiasson for her second place finish in the francophone category French oral competitions held at Dartmouth High School May 4, 1996.

RESOLUTION NO. 613

By: Mrs. Francene Cosman (Bedford-Fall River)

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

Whereas the Bedford Skippers, under the direction of Coach Ed Cooper, are a group of Bedford elementary and junior high students who have performed at many events including the G-7 Summit, the Nova Scotia International Tattoo, AUAA/CIAU Basketball Tournaments and numerous other festivals; and

Whereas the Bedford Skippers have raised well over $40,000, including $8,400 this year for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, and have been recognized as a top Canadian fund-raiser for the heart and stroke campaign; and

Whereas the Bedford Skippers have made the transition from being a demonstration team to a competitive team by recently participating in the Quebec Provincial Rope Skipping Championships where they garnered a number of top prizes;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly applaud the exuberance and enthusiasm for the sport of rope skipping exhibited by the Bedford Skippers and congratulate them for their significant fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.