The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Thur., Nov. 28, 1996

Fourth Session

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 7: Speed Zone Sign (70 Kms) -
Satisfactory, Mr. K. Colwell 2523
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Porters Lake Station Road: Tunnel End -
Stop Sign Erect, Mr. K. Colwell 2524
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 45, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
Dr. J. Hamm 2524
No. 46, Antiochian Maronite Catholic Church Corporation Act,
Hon. J. Abbass 2524
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 871, Health - Care: Concerns - Listen, Dr. J. Hamm 2525
Res. 872, Health - Care: Forum (Anna. Royal [27/11/96]) -
Dept. Absence, Mr. R. Chisholm 2525
Res. 873, Nat. Res. - Christmas Tree Industry: Lun. Co. -
Contribution Recognize, Mrs. L. O'Connor 2526
Vote - Affirmative 2527
Res. 874, Agric. - Safety Nets Agreement (Can./N.S.): Conclusion -
Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 2527
Vote - Affirmative 2527
Res. 875, Halifax, Port of - Tariffs Freeze: Promotion - Congrats.,
Dr. J. Hamm 2528
Vote - Affirmative 2528
Res. 876, Halifax Citadel MLA - Elections Future: Past View (Debt) -
Scene Same, Mr. R. White 2529
Res. 877, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Revenue Loss - Review,
Mr. T. Donahoe 2529
Res. 878, Health - New Waterford Society for Social Action:
Family Resource Centre - Initiative Congrats., Mr. R. MacNeil 2530
Vote - Affirmative 2530
Res. 879, Transport (Canada) [Hbr. & Ports] - Digby: CPR Wharf -
Repair, Mr. J. Casey 2531
Vote - Affirmative 2531
Res. 880, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Min.-Rev. (Can.) - Meet,
Mr. R. Russell 2531
Res. 881, Nat. Res. - NSRL: Auditor Gen. Special Report -
Blocking Regret, Mr. J. Holm 2532
Res. 882, ERA - Shean Co-op Ltd. (Inverness): Anniv. (60th) -
Congrats., Mr. C. MacArthur 2533
Vote - Affirmative 2533
Res. 883, Exco - Ethics Code: Commitment - Fulfil, Mr. B. Taylor 2533
Res. 884, Sports - Athletics: Yar. Co. Awards Anniv. (20th) -
Congrats., Mr. R. Hubbard 2534
Vote - Affirmative 2535
Res. 885, Health - Prov. Health Council: Value - Recognize,
Mr. G. Moody 2535
Res. 886, Leader of Official Opposition - Health (Regional Bds.) Abolition:
Actions - Admonish, Mr. William MacDonald 2535
Res. 887, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - PST & GST Harmonization:
Transport 2000 Report - Discrepancies Investigate, Mr. G. Archibald 2536
Res. 888, Commun. Serv.: Homelessness Increase - Condemn,
Ms. E. O'Connell 2536
Res. 889, Health - Michael O'Shea (C.B.): CA [N.S.] of Year - Applaud,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 2537
Vote - Affirmative 2538
Res. 890, Leader of Official Opposition - Health (Regional Bds.) Abolition:
Positions Any - Adoption, Hon. B. Boudreau 2538
Res. 891, EMO - Emergency Service 911: Dispatch Incorrect -
Repetition Avoid, Mr. D. McInnes 2538
Res. 892, Health - Care: Business Tax Break - Priority, Mr. R. Chisholm 2539
Res. 893, Mahone Bay Business Assoc. - White Lights Night:
Efforts - Recognize, Mrs. L. O'Connor 2539
Vote - Affirmative 2540
Res. 894, Educ. - Bras d'Or: School Crossing Guards Cutback -
Address, Mr. A. MacLeod 2540
Res. 895, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund:
Atlantic Rubber Recycling (Truro) - Report Table, Mr. B. Taylor 2541
Res. 896, Nat. Res. - Mobil Oil: Royalty Agreement - Release,
Mr. J. Holm 2541
Res. 897, Health: Regional Boards - Abolish, Mr. G. Moody 2542
Res. 898, Gov't. (N.S.) - Alternative: NDP - Recognize,
Ms. E. O'Connell 2543
Res. 899, Youth Secretariat - Policies (Gov't. [N.S.]): Effect - Report,
Mr. A. MacLeod 2543
Res. 900, Pugwash - World Peace: Leadership Role -
Commemoration Support, Mr. D. McInnes 2544
Vote - Affirmative 2544
Res. 901, Educ. - Acadia Univ.: MacLean's Mag. Survey [2nd] -
Achievement Congrats., Mr. G. Archibald 2545
Vote - Affirmative 2545
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 370, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund: Board Meeting (26/07/96) -
Min. Invitation (Cell Phone), Mr. T. Donahoe 2546
No. 371, Health: Home Care Prog. - Policy, Mr. R. Chisholm 2547
No. 372, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund: Board Meeting (26/07/96) -
Min. Participation, Mr. T. Donahoe 2550
No. 373, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund:
Board Meeting (26/07/96) Agreement - Min. Approval,
Mr. T. Donahoe 2552
No. 374, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund: Board Meeting (26/07/96) -
Signed Contract, Mr. T. Donahoe 2553
No. 375, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty: Meeting Mins. (Can.-Provs.) -
Solution, Ms. E. O'Connell 2555
No. 376, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund:
Tire Recycling (TRACC) Contract - Min. Resignation,
Mr. T. Donahoe 2559
No. 377, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund Board Meeting (26/07/96):
Min. Attendance - Premier Endorse, Mr. B. Taylor 2561
No. 378, Health: Meeting (Anna. Royal) - Respite/Palliative Care Beds,
Mr. G. Moody 2562
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 1:46 P.M. 2564
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:42 P.M. 2564
CWH REPORTS^ 2564
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Fin. - Cigarette Prices Increase: Youth Smoking - Combat, Hon. W. Gillis 2565
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 47, Revenue Act, Hon. W. Gillis 2568
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 47, Revenue Act, Hon. W. Gillis 2568
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 47, Revenue Act, Hon. W. Gillis 2569
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 34, Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre Act 2570
Hon. B. Boudreau 2570
Mr. G. Moody 2570
Mr. J. Holm 2572
Mr. T. Donahoe 2573
Mr. B. Taylor 2577
Mr. R. Chisholm 2578
Hon. B. Boudreau 2580
Vote - Affirmative 2580
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 5:41 P.M. 2580
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:57 P.M. 2580
CWH REPORTS^ 2581
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report,
Hon. D. Downe 2581
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Health - Care: Business Tax Break - Priority:
Mr. R. Chisholm 2582
Mr. D. Richards 2584
Mr. G. Moody 2587
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Nov. 29th at 9:00 a.m. 2590

[Page 2523]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1996

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Wayne Gaudet

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will now commence with the daily sitting of the House.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by approximately 178 of my constituents. I will just read the first part of the petition. "We the Undersigned wish to express our satisfaction with the new 70 kmh speed zone extending Eastwards from the bridge in Musquodoboit Harbour on highway # 7.". I have affixed my signature to this petition and I would like to table it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

2523

[Page 2524]

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table another petition. I will read this petition. It is signed by a total of 40 people. It is a, "Petition For Stop Sign Re: Tunnel Porter's Lake Sta. Rd. We, the undersigned residents of Roblea Dr. and Arthur Rd. in Porter's Lake, Halifax Co., petition to have a stop sign erected at the end of the tunnel (exiting west bound) situated on the Porter's Lake Station Rd. At this intersection, there have been many near accidents since this tunnel was put in place in 1978. Before you have full visibility, you are already in the flow of traffic on Porter's Lake Station Rd., making this an unsafe intersection.". I have signed and support this petition. I would like to table it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 45 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1993. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (Dr. John Hamm)

Bill No. 46 - Entitled an Act to Incorporate the Antiochian Maronite Catholic Church Corporation. (Hon. Jay Abbass as a private member.)

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to do an introduction. It gives me great pleasure to introduce to the House and to welcome to the east gallery several members of Antiochian Maronite Catholic Church led by Monsignor Aoukar. I know so many people in the gallery. I will not try to name all of you, but Elie Chater is there, I know. I believe Wadih Jabbour is there, I am not certain.

Most people would know of this church as being Our Lady of Lebanon Church, and it is a much respected church that has been established for many years now in the city, and its many members do many good services for, not just the Lebanese community, but for the whole community of this area. I want to give a special welcome and perhaps the whole House could give these people a special welcome to the House. (Applause)

[Page 2525]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 871

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

Whereas the organization known as the Persistently Annoyed, met in Annapolis County last evening to discuss concerns over health care; and

Whereas the Leaders of the Official Opposition and the Third Party, with the member for Kings West, accepted the invitation and took the opportunity to hear the frustration and anger being expressed by the residents of Annapolis County on numerous issues relating to the delivery of health care; and

Whereas for months, attempts were made to have the Minister of Health attend last night's meeting so he would be able to hear first-hand the concerns expressed by the residents of Annapolis County;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health stop, look and listen to the concerns being expressed by Nova Scotians about health care, instead of continually plowing ahead with, to date, what has been a very confused and disorganized health reform agenda.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 872

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 Persistently Annoyed of Annapolis County are to be commended for convening last night's health care forum in Annapolis Royal; and

Whereas the forum provided an excellent opportunity for a non-partisan discussion of the effects of health care reform and health care budget cuts on rural Nova Scotia; and

Whereas despite repeated invitations neither the Health Minister nor any of his officials or colleagues saw fit to attend this worthwhile forum;

[Page 2526]

Therefore be it resolved that this House censure the Savage Government for its failure to take part in this most worthwhile forum and learn first-hand about the effects of its disastrous health care policies on Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, if I may impose upon the House for another brief moment. The Page kindly delivered to me the names of those individuals who are present from Our Lady of Lebanon Church and I think for posterity it is important that these names be noted. We have in the east gallery then Monsignor Aoukar, himself, and perhaps each could rise just briefly, Antoine Jarjoura, Francois Harfouche, Joe Arab, George Tannous, Ralph Alphonse, Tony Faddoul, Samir Toulany, Jim Aoukar, Youssef Arab, Elias Goshn, Joe Faddoul, Maroun Diab, Jibran Ramia, Khazan Arkouche, Lena Diab, Elie Chater, George Arab, Susan Basil and Claire Alphonse. Again, a very warm welcome to the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 873

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

Whereas Lunenburg County is recognized as the Balsam Fir Christmas Tree Capital of the World; and

Whereas Lunenburg County also has the designation of the Forestry Capital of Canada for 1996; and

Whereas yesterday it was my pleasure to represent the Province of Nova Scotia at the Christmas tree presentation to our Governor General Romeo LeBlanc for Rideau Hall in Ottawa;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the Forestry Capital of Canada Society for selecting a beautiful Lunenburg County Christmas tree and recognize the important contribution Lunenburg County makes to this industry.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 2527]

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 874

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

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada announced today the formation of a new, three-year, $18 million Canada/Nova Scotia Agriculture Safety Nets Agreement which will be of great benefit to Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this improved safety nets initiative offers Nova Scotia's agricultural industry an excellent management tool to ensure stable farm incomes and the ability to plan for the long term with confidence, while helping to maintain an adequate national food supply at affordable prices and protecting the resource base; and

Whereas a portion of the federal-provincial fund will be directed toward agricultural research and development, the apple industry development fund, research for forage and grain projects, and will help offset the risks of adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in marketing prices;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the vital importance of a secure agricultural safety net in Nova Scotia, and congratulate the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing, the Honourable Guy Brown and his federal counterpart, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, for concluding this important agreement which will benefit all Nova Scotians.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2528]

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 875

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

Whereas the Port of Halifax is an engine that drives Nova Scotia's economy; and

Whereas the Halifax Port Corporation announced this week, it will maintain a seven year freeze on tariffs in the hopes of attracting even more business to the port; and

Whereas this year cargo tonnage is expected to reach 13 million tons while providing approximately 7,000 jobs and $230 million in income;

[12:15 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Port Corporation Chairman Merv Russell, President and CEO David Bellefontaine, and their staff for their diligence in fostering and promoting trade and transportation links with Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore on an introduction.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, seated in the west gallery is a group of students from the Eastern Shore District High School, Grade 12 Political Science class, and with them today are their teachers, Mr. Dennis LeBlanc and Ms. Glenda Meldrum. I would ask them to rise and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

[Page 2529]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 876

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

Whereas on Wednesday, November 20th, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel chided the government to stop looking in the rear-view mirror at the Tory past; and

Whereas it is understandable that this member, who was a senior member of several Tory Cabinets, doesn't want the government to look in the rear-view mirror because it is a scene of fiscal mismanagement and massive debt inherited from the Buchanan/Cameron Tories, debt which Nova Scotians will face for many generations to come; and

Whereas when we look in the rear-view mirror of the Mulroney federal Conservatives, we likewise see a scene of even more massive carnage and debt thrust upon Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that whichever rear-view mirror the member for Halifax Citadel may choose in future elections, the view will still be the same, a scene of glaring fiscal mismanagement and debt for Nova Scotians and all Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 877

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 province's original prediction of revenue losses from the BST was $120 million; and

Whereas despite introducing millions more in rebate programs to help offset the negative impact of the BST on certain sectors, the Minister of Finance has magically reduced the amount to $100 million; and

[Page 2530]

Whereas despite having asked the minister and officials in his department for an explanation of what amounts to something in the order of a $30 million-plus discrepancy, officials advise they have no explanation for that discrepancy;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister immediately review his department's revenue loss calculations, and provide a clear and precise accounting for this multimillion dollar difference which will likely result in millions of dollars in cuts to essential programs and services.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 878

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

Whereas many parents, particularly single parents, require assistance from the community to ensure that they have the resources to raise their children as they would like to have them raised; and

Whereas the New Waterford and Area Society for Social Action recently opened a Family Resource Centre that will provide many services for parents, including a drop-in centre, a resource library, a clothing exchange and a toy lending library; and

Whereas the provincial Department of Health is assisting the Family Resource Centre through a Community Health Promotion Fund grant;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Society for Social Action for their initiative in establishing a Family Resource Centre, and thank the Department of Health for the financial assistance they have provided.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2531]

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 879

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

Whereas the old CPR wharf in Digby which lies on the northeast side of the Digby fishing wharves, Spurr Pier, has deteriorated badly; and

Whereas local children manage to access the old wharf, causing concerns about the potential for a serious accident; and

Whereas unless this wharf is repaired immediately, pilings and other debris could be spewed all over the main street or to boats tied up on the lee of the Spurr Pier could sink, should a storm like the Groundhog Day storm occur again;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House request the Harbours and Ports Division of Transport Canada to immediately take the necessary measures to have the old CPR wharf in Digby repaired.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honorable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 880

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance has urged Nova Scotians to have faith in his promised benefits of the BST deal; and

[Page 2532]

Whereas in response to questions with respect to the BST, the Minister of Finance assumes, presumes, doesn't know, isn't sure, can't tell, won't tell, isn't positive, isn't negative, thinks it may be and/or he will have to finally check by calling the 1-800 toll-free line to the Finance Department; and

Whereas it is abundantly clear that the Minister of Finance hasn't got a clue what impact the BST will have on just about anything and everything you ask him;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance immediately sit down with officials in his department and Revenue Canada and get a briefing on this rather critical issue, so that he is not in the humiliating position of having to refer members of this House to the 1-800 line for answers to questions relative to the BST's imagined impact on consumers and business.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

There are several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 881

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

Whereas all Nova Scotians have the right to know the full details of the kind of mismanagement of Nova Scotia Resources Limited that has cost hundreds of millions of dollars; and

Whereas the Auditor General is now preparing a report on one important aspect of a very sad NSRL story, namely the issue of tax pools; and

Whereas the Liberal members of this Assembly blocked efforts to bring that report before members of the House as soon as it is completed;

Therefore be it resolved that this House regrets the unwillingness of some members to deal with the Auditor's Report on NSRL in the most timely manner.

[Page 2533]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 882

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

Whereas the Shean Co-op Limited of Inverness will be officially celebrating 60 years of dedicated service to the people of Inverness and surrounding areas today; and

Whereas the Shean Co-op, under the direction of various managers and employees over the 60 year period, has served many generations of families within the community; and

Whereas the Shean Co-op not only provides employment to this area but a personal service to its members;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in extending our appreciation to the management and staff of the Shean Co-op Limited of Inverness on the celebration of their 60th Anniversary.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 883

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

Whereas the Premier maintains that he has a code of ethics for members of his government, it just hasn't been codified; and

[Page 2534]

Whereas the Premier believes that Nova Scotians are very much aware of his code of ethics which exists entirely within his own vivid imagination; and

Whereas the Premier now believes he has telepathic powers that enable him to communicate his thoughts to Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier live up to his long promised but as yet unfulfilled commitment to establish a written code of ethics for members of his government so that Nova Scotians do not have to rely on his imaginary telepathic powers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 884

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

Whereas on Friday, November 29th, the Yarmouth County Athletic Awards Night will be held at the Yarmouth Fire Hall; and

Whereas 1996 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Yarmouth County Athletic Awards Night which over the years has highlighted the rich history of sports in Yarmouth County; and

Whereas this year, the Yarmouth County Athletic Awards Night will honour the achievements of 238 athletes from 20 different sports, with particular recognition for Natalia Tate, Athlete of the Year; Claire Paris, Volunteer of the Year; and Ginny Smith, Coach of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that all honourable members of this Legislative Assembly extend congratulations to the residents of Yarmouth County on the 20th Anniversary of the Yarmouth County Athletic Awards and recognize the outstanding achievements of the 238 athletes from Yarmouth County who will be honoured at the awards night.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

[Page 2535]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 885

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

Whereas the Liberal Opposition unanimously supported the former administration's legislation to create an independent arm's length, volunteer watchdog over health care decision making; and

Whereas after being subjected to harsh criticism from the Provincial Health Council on casinos, cigarette taxes and health reform in general the former Minister of Health dismantled the council, insisting he would build on its legacy and ensure its watchdog role be maintained and enhanced through the creation of a Health Research Foundation; and

Whereas like a host of Liberal promises this has been broken;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health keep the commitment his Party made in the 1993 election campaign and that he recognize the value of an independent watchdog agency which publicly reports on the government's actions relative to promoting the health and well-being of Nova Scotians as articulated in Nova Scotia's health goals.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.

RESOLUTION NO. 886

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

Whereas the honourable Leader of the Opposition last night at a meeting in Annapolis County stated he would get rid of regional health boards; and

Whereas regional health boards were established to provide community input into the health care process in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotians have overwhelmingly indicated that they are in favour of community input into the health care system;

[Page 2536]

Therefore be it resolved that this House admonishes the Leader of the Opposition for his actions that go totally against the wishes of the people of Nova Scotia.

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

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

There are several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 887

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

Whereas it has been reported that public passenger transportation will not be taxed as a result of the BST; and

Whereas this information is inaccurate because with the exception of urban transit all modes of public passenger transportation will increase April 1st as a result of the BST; and

Whereas this regional BST will have a severe impact on Nova Scotians who rely on public passenger transportation while discriminating against Nova Scotia travellers who will be forced to pay more if they wish to go to Toronto than travellers from Toronto coming to Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works immediately investigate the discrepancies being reported by Transport 2000 and come up with a viable solution so those Nova Scotians, especially those who cannot drive, will not be adversely impacted by the BST.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 888

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 2537]

Whereas the Metro Non-Profit Housing Association is today drawing attention to the problem of homelessness through its There is No Place Like Home campaign; and

[12:30 p.m.]

Whereas the solution to the problem of homelessness is the provision of safe, affordable housing; and

Whereas the cost of rental housing has already gone up under this government with the removal of rent controls and will rise further with the effects of the BST;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the Liberal Government for increasing homelessness through its cuts to social assistance, its laissez-faire approach to housing and its destructive BS Tax.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 889

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

Whereas Michael O'Shea of Sydney has been named Chartered Accountant of the Year by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas as the first ever recipient of the award, Mr. O'Shea was nominated for his contribution to the health care system in Cape Breton over the past 13 years through his work with the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation; and

Whereas nominators for the award described him as someone to be trusted and listened to, with a highly developed sense of accountability to donors and the community at large;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly for the Province of Nova Scotia applaud Michael O'Shea, CA, for being named Chartered Accountant of the Year and for his continued contributions to community and charitable organizations throughout Nova Scotia.

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

[Page 2538]

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 890

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

Whereas the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. John Hamm, and his Health critic, former Health Minister George Moody, are on record supporting in principle the Blueprint Report on Health Reform; and

Whereas the fundamental principle of that report is the devolution of authority from the Department of Health to regional health boards; and

Whereas Dr. Hamm is reported last night at a public meeting to have promised to, "eliminate Regional Health Boards", if he is elected to government;

Therefore be it resolved that this is further evidence that the Opposition Leader is prepared to change any position, cut any deal, or enter any political coalition to achieve power and that the only thing that can't change on the old Tory leopard is its spots.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 891

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

Whereas it recently took 10 days to find out why the Halifax Regional Municipality Fire Department was dispatched to a mobile home fire in Prospect, Halifax County when the fire was actually burning over 100 miles away on Prospect Road in Kings County; and

[Page 2539]

Whereas the call concerning the fire was made from a cellular telephone in Kings County yet answered in New Glasgow; and

Whereas victims of the fire, the Dixon Family of Waterville, lost most of their belongings as a result of this serious fire;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures organization immediately undertake to ensure that there are no future incidents involving 911 calls from cellular telephones resulting in wrong emergency services personnel being dispatched falsely 100 miles away to an emergency that does not exist.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 892

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 of Health asserts that he is committed to preserving Nova Scotia's universal, single-tier health care system; and

Whereas the hollowness of that commitment is demonstrated by the minister's unwillingness to prevent the erosion of Medicare by taking action against various forms of extra billing; and

Whereas the minister justifies his inaction by blaming the $8 billion debt run up under the previous Tory Government;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the Minister of Health that government is about choices and priorities and the Liberals are responsible for putting a $240 million tax break for business ahead of adequate funding for health care.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 893

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

[Page 2540]

Whereas three years ago the White Lights Night encouraged townspeople to turn on white lights outside their homes as carolers pass by; and

Whereas this year we look forward to participation by members of the Lions Club, the churches, museum and the Legion Band, accompanied by carolers, at the waterfront bandstand; and

Whereas the Town of Mahone Bay extends a special invitation to people living in communities throughout Nova Scotia to join with us as we recognize the beginning of our Christmas season;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly recognize the outstanding efforts of the Mahone Bay Business Association and encourage everyone to visit Mahone Bay as we turn on our white lights this Saturday, November 30, 1996.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 894

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

Whereas school crossing guards in Bras d'Or have recently been cut back, including the elimination of one guard's position as of Monday at the busiest intersection in Bras d'Or which is adjacent to an elementary school; and

Whereas approximately 60 concerned parents in Bras d'Or formed a blockade in the intersection to protest this strike against their children's safety; and

Whereas one truck has already run through a red light into the blockade this morning;

[Page 2541]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House express solidarity with these concerned Bras d'Or parents and call upon the Minister of Education and Culture to take immediate action to address this deeply troubling situation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 895

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 Minister of the Environment has promised on more than one occasion in this Legislature to table an interdepartmental environment committee report recommending a local company, Atlantic Rubber Recycling of Truro, as the best option to recycle tires in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Minister of the Environment is still refusing to table this document months later; and

Whereas since the minister refused to table the committee report, our office attempted to obtain a copy only to be told sections are protected under the Freedom of Information Act;

Therefore be it resolved that if the Minister of the Environment is as clean on this issue as he would like people to believe, he take immediate steps to have this committee report tabled in this Legislature prior to the end of Question Period today.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 896

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

[Page 2542]

Whereas the Premier admitted in this House yesterday that neither he nor anyone in his government understands equalization payments or the possible negative effect of offshore oil and gas royalties on those payments; and

Whereas this lack of understanding has not deterred the Premier and his colleagues from fantasizing about a future in which government coffers are filled to overflowing with offshore royalties; and

Whereas the government, against the advice of the province's Freedom of Information Review Officer, has so far refused to release its royalty agreement with Mobil Oil;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to release this agreement and all other pertinent information forthwith so that Nova Scotians can help the Liberals figure out what, if any, benefits we may expect from the offshore.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 897

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

Whereas the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre's Board of Directors will lose all decision-making authority to the Central Regional Health Board as of January 1997; and

Whereas the success of the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre as a model in community-based health care is largely attributable to community participation in the centre's management; and

Whereas residents of Sackville, Bedford, Beaverbank, Fall River, Windsor Junction and other communities are sick and tired of the Liberal Government paying lip service to community-based health care while at the same time transferring all major responsibility into the hands of a top heavy, out of touch regional health board;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government abolish its bureaucratic regional health board and return decision making to community health boards.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 2543]

RESOLUTION NO. 898

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas this House has spent valuable time discussing the fanciful notion of a coalition involving the NDP and the Tories; and

Whereas if there is ever to be a coalition of political Parties in this province, it would most likely involve those ideological soulmates, the Tories and the Liberals; and

Whereas the evidence for this can be found in the comments of the Leader of the Official Opposition who, in the October 24, 1995, Chronicle-Herald said, "what we are seeing from Mr. Savage are many of the policies that Don Cameron started and campaigned on, so I generally support them.";

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize that there is only one alternative in this House to the right-wing, cut-and-slash policies of the Liberals and it is the NDP.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 899

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

Whereas in a recent Department of Health survey, 44 per cent of Grade 12 students identified themselves as smokers, an increase since 1991; and

Whereas this same survey showed one and one-half times to two times more students use cannabis, LSD, stimulants, magic mushrooms, PCP and non-prescription tranquillizers than in 1991; and

Whereas the Liberal Government, through massive cuts to education and its inability in relieving youth unemployment, has contributed to a feeling of despair and hopelessness among our province's young people;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Youth Secretariat be charged with immediately determining the impact of this government's policies on young Nova Scotians and report to this House its findings within 12 months.

[Page 2544]

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

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 900

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

Whereas the Town of Pugwash has been recognized around the world for its role in the promotion of world peace; and

Whereas as early as 1957, Pugwash played host to a gathering of some of the world's most influential thinkers, including Bertrand Russell and Robert Oppenheimer; and

Whereas the Cumberland County Council has now applied to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board and to Canada Post to ask for recognition as a national historic site, as well as to Canada Post Corporation for recognition of the 40th Anniversary by way of a commemorative stamp;

Therefore be it resolved that this House support the efforts of the Town of Pugwash to commemorate its place as a leader in the development of world peace.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 2545]

RESOLUTION NO. 901

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

Whereas the sixth annual Maclean's magazine survey of universities ranked Acadia University as the second-best primarily undergraduate school in Canada; and

Whereas Ann Johnston, Maclean's Assistant Managing Editor, referred to Acadia as "a very hot school"; and

Whereas Acadia University also serves as a major economic contributor to the Town of Wolfville and all of Kings County;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the students, faculty and staff of Acadia University for their high, national achievement.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Before we move to the Orders of the Day, I wish to advise all members of the House that the winner of the Adjournment motion for this evening's late debate is the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, and his topic is:

[12:45 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the Minister of Health that government is about choices and priorities and the Liberals are responsible for putting a $240 million tax break for business ahead of adequate funding for health care.

The time is now 12:46 p.m., the Oral Question Period will run for one hour, until 1:46 p.m.

[Page 2546]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND:

BOARD MEETING (26/07/96) - MIN. INVITATION (CELL PHONE)

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. The Minister of the Environment and I had an exchange here yesterday about his dealings with the Resource Recovery Fund Board and attendance at meetings and the exertion of pressure at those meetings and so on. I would like to follow up and pursue some of those issues with him today.

I would like to begin, Mr. Speaker, by asking the minister, through you, whether or not the Minister of the Environment did, in fact, call the Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board on his cell phone approximately one-half hour before the July 26, 1996 meeting of the Resource Recovery Fund Board to tell the chairman that he, the minister, was on his way and would be attending the meeting? Did he make such a call?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I may or may not have. I have used my cell phone many times to talk to the Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board.

MR. DONAHOE: I am going to, through you, Mr. Speaker, suggest to the Minister of the Environment that the Minister of the Environment did in fact, notwithstanding the fact that his amnesia does not allow him to recall that, make such a call and injected himself into the meeting of July 26, 1996. In light of the fact that he did that a short time before the meeting was to open, I want to ask the Minister of the Environment why he felt it was necessary to make such a call if, in fact, he had been invited to the meeting as he had earlier indicated he was and said here in this House that he had been invited to such a meeting? Why was such a call necessary if, in fact, the invitation to the minister had been extended?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I can recall that on two occasions when members of the board invited me or suggested that I should attend meetings or discussions, I have on both occasions cleared it with the chair of the board, and on both occasions I was royally invited and requested to be there.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, I am going to suggest to the minister that he never was, and he knows it, ever extended an invitation to a meeting of the Resource Recovery Fund Board by the chairman of the board. In Hansard, reported Wednesday, November 27, 1996, at Page 2481, Minister Adams said, ". . . the honourable member, in asking that question, puts certain people in a very embarrassing position.". I

[Page 2547]

would suggest that he might be one of those people. "I can only tell him that I was invited by several members of the Resource Recovery Fund Board, including the chairperson.". I repeat my question to the Minister of the Environment, on what date, at what place, in what manner was this minister extended an invitation to the July 26, 1996 meeting by the Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member knows that I perhaps wouldn't have those specific hours, minutes and dates at hand. But I will assure him and this entire House that I was, in fact, invited with an open opportunity to all meetings, which I never attended, but on specific ones which we declared and talked about, yes, the chair was part of the invitation. I stand on that statement today and will stand forever.

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

HEALTH: HOME CARE PROG. - POLICY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question, through you, to the Minister of Health. Last night I had the opportunity to attend a meeting in Annapolis Royal where a number of concerned citizens brought up issues with respect to the current state of the health care system in rural Nova Scotia to that meeting. I must say that it was an opportunity for this minister to go out and talk to Nova Scotians, to not listen to what he calls anecdotes from me but to hear the stories directly from Nova Scotians.

This minister, unfortunately, is like Old King Cole, Mr. Speaker, he sits in his brand new Volvo and he counts out his money, instead of going out and talking to real Nova Scotians about exactly what is going on. If he did, he would hear about the fact that hundreds of Nova Scotians are being cut off the Home Care Program. Seniors and others are not having their needs met by this Home Care Program.

I want to ask the minister, is it, in fact, the policy of his department, as evidenced by the conduct of this review of the Home Care Program, to drive seniors and others into nursing homes and other like institutions?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for repeating his speech from last night. With respect to that invitation, there are quite a number of groups across the province that ask to meet with me. I meet with as many as I can, when I can. Opposition members know they have asked me to attend such meetings and I have done so.

With respect to this particular group, I indicated both verbally and in writing that as soon as the House rose I would give them a fixed date for such a meeting. That is a firm commitment and it is one that I will live with.

[Page 2548]

With respect to the real question, after he got through all that preamble stuff, the answer is no.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have been to an awful lot of public meetings in the last month or two, dealing with home care and the problems in home care. This minister and his staff have been noticeably absent. The people who convened that meeting last night got no such commitment. Maybe they got it this morning from this minister but, as of last night, they had not received such a commitment.

Mr. Speaker, the former program, before Home Care Nova Scotia, dealt with the whole question of housing and social services, to meet the needs of persons who require assistance or support in order to remain in their own home. What we are finding out, again in talking to Nova Scotians, is that hundreds of people are being cut off from home care, directly as a result of the change in policy, and that the housing and social services needs are not, in fact, now being met.

I want to table a copy of a letter here from the Northside Visiting Homemaker Advisory Board and where it says that as a consequence of the review, a case review of 47 clients, Mr. Speaker, after that review only two out of the 47 are still receiving those services.

I want to ask the minister why it is that he has abandoned critical components of a proper Home Care Program, those components being housing and social services to seniors and others in need, in order to allow them to stay in their homes?

MR. BOUDREAU: Again dealing with the preamble, it is hard to answer just one question with this member because he launches into such a lengthy and varied preamble to each question.

With respect to the commitment that I referred to in my first answer, that was given verbally and confirmed in a letter and I stand by it. Perhaps they don't share their correspondence with him, I don't know.

With respect to the question of home care, now let's be realistic, as a government we don't apologize for the fact that we are spending $60 million this year on home care, that we are serving over 18,000 people in this province. Now that is in dramatic contrast to what has happened in the past. It has grown faster than any other program in this province and, when you compare it to other provinces, the remarkable thing is how quickly we have ramped up to where we are now.

Now is $60 million enough? Is that the magic figure? Probably not but we are managing to that figure this fiscal year and we will look to expand the program again next year, as we have done last year, as we have done the year before, as we have done virtually every year

[Page 2549]

since we, as a government, instituted a universal Home Care Program which did not exist in this province.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister, again, and that is why I referred earlier in my introduction to this question about Old King Cole, because instead of talking to Nova Scotians and listening to the horror stories out there about what is happening as a result of the fact that Home Care Nova Scotia is not meeting the needs of seniors and others, he is able to stand in this House and say, look how much better we are doing than before. But the reality is, that the needs of people are not being met as a result of hospital beds being cut by 31 per cent, as a result of tens of millions being cut from hospitals and monies not being put in the community.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: My final supplementary to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is, what does he say to Nova Scotians, caregivers, patients, seniors and others living in rural Nova Scotia who are being left on their own, who are being cut off home care, who have no physician services and no support?

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: What is he saying to them in terms of the ability of Home Care Nova Scotia to meet their needs?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, as you know, and I am sure perhaps the honourable member knows, home care is divided into a number of a segments. One, home hospital to deal with people who come out of an institution and require immediate and ongoing care in their homes, where, by the way, they recover more quickly than they do in the hospital. Secondly, for chronic care people who do have legitimate and ongoing medical needs which will exist over 30 days. The third element is the old in-home support program, which does provide very valuable and useful in-home support, generally of a non-medical nature, but whether it is shovelling the walk or cleaning up in the house or delivering meals, all of those are very valuable.

I will say, with respect to those at what I refer to as the high end medically, most of those services are delivered by nurses and, indeed, in Nova Scotia, mostly by the VON. In fact, I think something like 70 per cent of those services in Nova Scotia or more are delivered by the VON. We have met with the VON in detail to discuss cases and any difficulties to ensure that nobody was put at medical risk. We will continue to do that. But, Mr. Speaker, I think what the people of Nova Scotia understand, and this member does not, is that any program must be sustainable in this province and, in fact, the amount of money committed to this program, the Department of Health spent $805,000 on home care in 1988-89; this year it is spending $60 million. That is not a cut. (Applause)

[Page 2550]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND:

BOARD MEETING (26/07/96) - MIN. PARTICIPATION

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment, through you, and I would like to preface it by referencing Hansard debate record of Thursday, November 21, 1996, Page 2192. The Minister of the Environment, at that time, said, among other things, "I would be happy if he would just ask a simple question about the whole process and let him know that the Government of Nova Scotia did not negotiate the contract with TRACC. It was done by the Resource Recovery Fund Board, at arm's length from the government. So to ask me why I did not negotiate what New Brunswick negotiated, it is because it was done independent of government, for all the right reasons, in private industry.".

Well, my question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of the Environment, is to ask him if what he said on that occasion is, in fact, true? I ask him today why this Minister of the Environment injected himself in the July 26, 1996 meeting of the Resource Recovery Fund Board and spent approximately five hours participating in the business of that so-called independent, private, arm's length incorporated company which, according to this minister, was the place at which and were the people who should negotiate whatever deal was to be negotiated? Why did he inject himself into the meeting and participate in the discussions for over five hours.

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I will clarify, once again, this minister did not inject himself into any meeting. I arrived at the invitation of members of the Resource Recovery Fund Board, with a grandiose welcome by the chairperson and I did not spend five hours in that meeting.

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. DONAHOE: Well, by way of supplementary, the minister, in a news report appearing in the Chronicle-Herald today, appears to have contradicted himself on what he said or did at the meeting. At one point the minister said, "I didn't talk about anything, I was there to observe . . . I didn't take an active part in anything.". And then the report goes on to say that the minister, ". . . later admitted he both asked and answered questions and attended the meeting specifically because he was interested in the tire recycling proposal.". In fact, the report goes on to indicate that his communications director, Paul McEachern, indicated that, ". . . board members weren't happy with the minister being there with several of his staff members.".

[Page 2551]

The point is clearly, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, that we have the minister speaking out of one side of his mouth suggesting that this is an independent, arm's length organization and he is there five hours participating and injecting himself into the meeting. I simply cannot and I do not accept the suggestion that he was there at the invitation of the chairman because he simply was not. (Interruption) It is not true? I know it is not true. He was not there at the invitation (Interruptions) The minister, I presume will acknowledge that on July 26, 1996, the meeting at the RRF Board did in fact consider at very considerable length the detail and the precise elements of a proposed agreement with TRACC. Would the minister confirm that that was in large measure one of the major items of discussion at that meeting?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat and make it as clear as I can. Again, the relationship between the Resource Recovery Fund Board and the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment is certainly one of a partnership, one that we recognize and cherish. I would remind the honourable member for Halifax Citadel, who stood in this place I think during the last session of the House and admonished this Minister of the Environment to remove the Chairperson of the Resource Recovery Fund Board because he thought that person was in conflict of interest, that that is the same person that that member, when he was Minister of the Environment, appointed as chairperson of that same body.

Let me say that it is important that the department be in regular contact with the Resource Recovery Fund Board to exercise itself in that partnership, to ensure that the objectives in the program are not just carried out in the normal day-to-day operations but to the benefit of the Nova Scotia environment and certainly to the benefit of the Nova Scotia economy. What we have done is exercise clearly in partnership with other stakeholders. We have made Nova Scotia a cleaner province. We have injected a new economy into Nova Scotia. We have removed beverage containers by the hundreds of millions and created some 330 jobs in the recycling operation. Now we move to a new phase of tire recycling. There are other phases to come along. During that phase, Mr. Speaker, it is fair for me to say at this point that in six months we have brought Nova Scotia from nowhere to somewhere in regard to recycling.

We have the support of the vast majority of Nova Scotians in what we have done. We have done it with the integrity and hard work of a number of people who represent the corporate community of Nova Scotia around the table called the Resource Recovery Fund Board. Those people have worked tirelessly, non-stop, and not for money. They have done it for the good of Nova Scotia and I think in my debate here I want to respect that and I would hope that members of this House would respect those members of the Resource Recovery Fund Board.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, it is now clear that the relationship has changed. The relationship is not arm's length as this minister has been attempting to suggest. We now have a partnership agreement between the minister and the Ministry of the Environment and the

[Page 2552]

Resource Recovery Fund Board, as you would know, Mr. Speaker, fundamentally different implications of an arm's length board as opposed to a partnership.

I would like to ask, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of the Environment, if he would tell this House whether or not it is correct that following the discussions of the July 26, 1996 meeting, a draft agreement was, in fact, approved for signature by the Resource Recovery Fund Board?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I understand that there is approval in principle but there is no draft approval for me to take a look at.

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

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND:

BOARD MEETING (26/07/96) AGREEMENT - MIN. APPROVAL

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: There was an agreement in principle but no draft for the minister to look at, is what I think he has said. Well, I wonder if he could tell this House what he means by the phrase, for him to look at, because (Interruption) Yes, I intend to ask the question. The minutes of the meeting of July 26, 1996, Mr. Speaker, which I will table, clearly indicate that legal counsel to the Ministry of the Environment confirmed at that meeting, ". . . that following consideration by the Board, the contract would next go to the Minister to be approved.".

I ask this minister whether or not it was an arm's length agreement and RRF was going to make the contract, or was it a partnership, or was it some kind of arrangement where this kind of contract would never take place unless it, in its final form, was approved? The underlined word is, approved, by the Minister of the Environment. Was he required to approve the agreement to have it take place?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I talked in my last answer about integrity and the goodwill that was demonstrated by members of the Resource Recovery Fund Board, and I really took the Chairperson of the Resource Recovery Fund Board at his word. When he asked me to keep confidential the decisions made at that meeting in regard to the contract, I did that. Now I hear today in the House of Assembly from the member for Halifax Citadel that that may not, in fact, have been the truth.

Mr. Speaker, I honoured the commitment that I would keep it confidential and I stand by that commitment. (Applause)

MR. DONAHOE: I would like to ask the minister if he would answer the question. The minutes of the meeting, at which he attended and spent five hours in consultation and dialogue with the members of the Resource Recovery Fund Board, July 26, 1996, produced certain

[Page 2553]

decisions and the minutes of that board indicate that, as offered by the counsel for the Minister of the Environment, that that counsel confirmed, ". . . that following consideration by the Board, the contract would next go to the Minister to be approved.". I want this minister to tell this House whether or not that contract between the Resource Recovery Fund Board and TRACC, or between the Resource Recovery Fund Board and any other company, was only going to be effective and have the full force and effect of the law if he, the Minister of the Environment, did approve the contract?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I think the form of the contract which I would approve would be a signed contract. There being no signed contract, the answer is no, I did not approve it.

MR. DONAHOE: The minister was at this meeting, Mr. Speaker, for five hours, or thereabouts. He was engaged in the discussion relative to (Interruption) Well, I think I hear him saying that it wasn't five hours. Maybe I am off a bit; perhaps it was closer to only four. The minister was there for hours and hours engaged in this discussion and I would ask this minister, is it or is it not true that following this five hour meeting, this minister placed a cellular phone call to the chairman of that meeting and demanded that the chairman place an executed agreement - the agreement between the Resource Recovery Fund Board and TRACC - on his desk and on the desk of the Premier the next day? Did he place such a call and make such a demand of the chairman of that board?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, no.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND:

BOARD MEETING (26/07/96) - SIGNED CONTRACT

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am going to suggest to the minister that notwithstanding the answer he has just now given me, he did in fact make such a phone call, he did make such a demand, he did it by way of cell phone and the call was made almost immediately after the cessation of the July 26, 1996 meeting and he made the demand of the Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board and he made a demand not only that he get a copy of that signed agreement and he demanded that the chairman sign it but he demanded that a copy be made available so that it could get to the Premier as well.

So I ask the Minister of the Environment if he will tell this House when the Premier asked or ordered the Minister of the Environment to ensure that the signed contract was provided to him, to the Premier, along with himself, the minister?

[Page 2554]

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I have to answer that question with an emphatic no. The Premier and I have talked many times about various things with regard to our recycling program, the progress that it was or was not making, but the answer is no.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of the Environment, if what he has just now said and he has suggested that the Premier didn't ask him, didn't tell him and didn't order him (Interruption) You didn't say that, oh he did order you?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of the Environment alleges today that he did not place that call, make that demand of the Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board and if he says that he did not demand that the signed copy of the agreement be on his desk and on the Premier's desk the next day, I wonder if the minister would make this commitment to me and to the House? Will the minister table the records of his cell phone activity relative to (Interruptions) My understanding is that expenses incurred on the taxpayers account for all members of this place to use cell phones and so on are required to be reported through the Speaker's Office and I ask this minister if he is prepared to file his cell phone record that indicates contact between himself and the Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board and, in particular, cell phone records of July 26, 1996 between himself and the then current Chairman, Mr. Elwood Dillman? Will he make a commitment to this House that he will table such records?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I will take that question under consideration. I don't see any immediate trouble with that but I will look at it.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, the document which was reviewed at the July 26, 1996 meeting, the minutes of that meeting also indicate that additional resources would be required to have the Resource Recovery Fund Board implement the tire program. I ask the Minister of the Environment if he will tell this House today what is the extent of the additional resources required to be dedicated to the work of the Resource Recovery Fund Board to make this tire contract that has been executed by the board and TRACC, what amount of additional resources are required to be made available to Resource Recovery Fund Board to avoid bankruptcy of the Resource Recovery Fund Board?

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I can't answer that question and I think that the member knows I don't have those details because that is not my involvement with the Resource Recovery Fund Board. I answered him yesterday and told him that I had no indication from the board at any time that there was a near bankruptcy situation, and I don't believe there is, because I think I would have been notified as the minister responsible.

[Page 2555]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

COMMUN. SERV. - CHILD POVERTY:

MEETING MINS. (CAN.-PROVS.) - SOLUTION

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. In the course of the last decade Nova Scotia has moved from eighth place to fourth place among provinces and territories in the number of children living in poverty, and this government has cut programs and grants to agencies that assist children.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just returned from a federal-provincial ministers meeting on child poverty. Teachers are life-long learners. I know the minister is a teacher. I am going to ask the minister, through you, today, what he learned, and how that translates into concrete steps that he is prepared to announce, to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring that Nova Scotia's children get what they need and that this terrible trend will be reversed?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, through you I thank the honourable member for the question. I was actually looking for an opportunity to tell members of the House precisely what happened at the meeting over the last few days.

First of all, I want to tell all members of the House that the governments from west to east have been putting their minds to this problem for about a year and a bit now, at the direction of the Premiers and the Prime Minister. The idea of focusing our attention on child poverty - and that is not just about benefits, it is also about services - we were asked to explore that across the country, whether we are talking about the NDP Government in British Columbia or the Liberal Governments in Atlantic Canada, we have had a very serious discussion. At the beginning it was a bit, I would use "dysfunctional", if you like, because we were not comfortable talking about such issues across the country, across partisan lines but, after a very short period of time, the Ministerial Council made recommendations to the Premiers and to the Prime Minister that, in fact, this be looked at.

The difficulty we have on the surface of it is that there are all kinds of programs, they vary from province to province and they vary between federal jurisdiction and provincial jurisdiction. So we came to terms that we were going to look at this and it was our number one priority. At the last meeting of the Premiers and the Prime Minister they, likewise, on our recommendation, accepted it as their number one priority. We have seen in the last couple of days that the federal Minister of Health and the federal Minister of HRDC has joined with us on this. They are going to look at how we can best - and I repeat, Mr. Speaker, through you to all members of the House, that this is not just about providing a child benefit money but how, in fact, do you - provide financial services and services, in terms of human services, to not only children but the families where poor children reside, because poor children are not out there by themselves, they are a consequence of poor families.

[Page 2556]

We have worked in the Department of Community Services in Nova Scotia and we feel very good about this. Despite the restrictions that we have been left with because of our fiscal difficulties, we have been able to not only protect the family benefits that go out at this level, and they are not enough, Mr. Speaker, and I don't know when they would be enough. We have enhanced those in two of our three years, we have increased it 1 per cent.

Likewise, we are looking, Mr. Speaker, and maybe the honourable member is not aware of this, but as you travel across the province there is also an inequity as you go, for example, from the metro region to Digby, and we are looking at how, in fact, we can address that inequity because it is very important to all of us.

So I can tell the honourable member, and if she has additional questions I can go on at length on this, Mr. Speaker, because we spent yesterday from about 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. working on this, amongst other issues. But I can say that it is the number one priority, not only of Nova Scotia but of all the Ministers of Community Services across the country, including several NDP Governments. Likewise, I can tell you that the federal Minister of Health has expressed very aggressively, both publicly and personally to me, that this is his number one concern; we were told yesterday by the Minister of Human Resources that, in fact, it is the number one priority of that department as well.

So what this is going to move towards, because what happened yesterday was historic in the sense that all provinces and the federal government had turned their heads and set their officials on looking at how practically, not theoretically, we can address that problem as a nation. Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be able to report that through you to the House.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, that was an awful lot of discussion that went on but, while that discussion is going on, there are children freezing and going hungry. While the minister was away, I was served with an eviction notice by the Metro Non-Profit Housing Association. I went there this morning. Rent controls have been lifted and shelter allowances for individuals have been cut beyond the bone, and the cost of housing will increase with the introduction of the BST. While we are waiting for those solutions that they talk and talk and talk about, what steps will the government take to deal with the problem of homelessness for families and children in this province?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member. I will, in fact, write to the ministers for British Columbia and Saskatchewan and suggest that she is dissatisfied with the way they are going about this, because both of those ministers . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Just answer her . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 2557]

MR. MACEACHERN: . . . because there is something very important that that honourable member should understand, the historical element here is that we have NDP Governments, Liberal Governments and Conservative Governments getting their heads around, not a short-term solution for political purposes (Interruptions) They can't take this, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACEACHERN: They are having great difficulties with this, Mr. Speaker, because what is happening here is that the Liberal Minister from Nova Scotia is sitting down with the Conservative Minister from Ontario, with the NDP Government from British Columbia, and what we are talking about is how to address these long term. Now, to get to her short term, and I will be writing before the afternoon is out . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Did this happen overnight?

MR. MACEACHERN: No, this didn't happen overnight; in fact, we could get a bit biblical and talk about poverty being with us, but those people believe that by magic wand we will solve all the problems, because NDP people can do that. But I want to tell you that the minister from British Columbia - for the purpose of the question - and the minister from Saskatchewan, recognize the magnitude of this problem and know, because they have been working at it for some years, that it will not be solved at a stroke on the big picture.

Now, to get to the honourable member's question specifically, if I could. (Laughter) There are children living in poverty, we acknowledge that. Freezing and going hungry? Well, in fact, we are concerned with that and if she has particular cases of children who are freezing and going hungry, that's why we are here.

I will continue. The shelter allowance, let's talk about that. They go to the HST again. One of the things we are doing right now, while I stand here, staff are working to find out how in fact we can provide better services. Mr. Speaker, they keep saying about cuts to our budget. Our budget has gone up each year, and the honourable member would know that - he sat around the Cabinet table - this Cabinet has consistently defended the budgets of Community Services. (Applause) Consistently.

Just as an example, Mr. Speaker, because of the CHST, if that had flowed directly through to us, we would have had reductions in the order of $37 million. We not only didn't have those reductions, by sacrifice of other departments that was restored, and an additional 5 per cent, to the Department of Community Services.

Now, about the HST and the shelter allowance, Mr. Speaker, because I know the honourable member wants the answer to that. We have been working in the Department of Community Services across our whole spectrum of people that we work with, and we are

[Page 2558]

identifying where there is a problem in the shelter allowance or the heating allowance. We are going to be there to work with those people, case by case, because that is our job.

In their budgets, there is a shelter allowance and there is also a heating allowance. If, in fact, that is inadequate - and the honourable member knows, by the way, as we have amalgamated the four regions of metro and also the regions of Cape Breton, we are trying to strike a balance on how we deal with the whole mix from region to region to region because that is the case - if she has some cases of children who are freezing and starving, I would welcome that they be sent to me and I will have somebody over there this afternoon.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, though I am new to this place, I learned very early that there is quite a role for rhetoric to play.

I am going to ask my question now. My question to the minister is this. Will the minister stop talking now, leave this House today, go to the George Dixon Centre, draw a real-life scenario from a hat and experience for one hour the real problems experienced by many Nova Scotians today? Mr. Speaker, will he do that?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, if I could for the honourable member, she is speaking across the floor to me as if I don't understand poverty. I mean, I come from Glace Bay. I come from a large coal mining family in which we knew poverty like she probably does not even understand it and I am telling you that. (Applause) So this self-righteous lecture across the floor I find very offensive. Because she spent one whole hour there, she understand this? I want to suggest to her that we in Glace Bay, and I in particular, know much about what she discusses and have great sympathy for the people who live without a big income. Whether I would go and walk there for an hour, that would make a difference?

AN HON. MEMBER: Why don't you do something, John?

MR. MACEACHERN: I want to suggest to you that hard work is being done across the country by all ministers.

AN HON. MEMBER: No silver spoon in his mouth when he was born.

MR. MACEACHERN: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party understands poverty really well because he probably spent two full hours there, with his good suit.

I want to suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, we will continue to work to bring the levels of non-poverty - let's talk about that - up because we understand it. The dialogue that they dismiss as of no consequence, I want to suggest to you that they should give a call to both British Columbia and Saskatchewan to find out really how significant this is.

[Page 2559]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND:

TIRE RECYCLING (TRACC) CONTRACT - MIN. RESIGNATION

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. It is simply this. In light of undue influence exercised by the minister in relation to the Resource Recovery Fund and the TRACC contract, and in light of the fact that he kept saying it was arm's length and it was not the government that was calling the shots, it was the Resource Recovery Fund Board and so on, I ask the Minister of the Environment if he is today prepared to do the right thing in light of all of the inappropriate events and occurrences, and tender his resignation?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel really, I think, bends a little low when he tries to judge my character and my integrity based on the performance of himself and his former governments. I want to make it clear that there has been no breach of any ethical means by myself. There has been nothing done that is dishonest. We have complied with the performance and function of government quite well and I want to make it clearly understood that this minister has done nothing wrong in his role of duty. I would ask the member for Halifax Citadel to put up the proof or, perhaps, be a little more quiet.

MR. DONAHOE: The proof, Mr. Speaker, is in the documents that I have tabled and will table. The proof is in the committee report. The proof is in the answers from this minister in Hansard. The proof is in his public statements relative to the way in which he engaged in the meetings of the Resource Recovery Fund. It is an earlier Hansard where he tries to have people believe that the Resource Recovery Fund Board is at arm's length from the government and we now learn that the contract does not get signed unless he, the minister, approves the contract, an absolute and total contradiction from what he suggested earlier. He then tried to suggest that they were at arm's length and then here today, in Question Period, we discovered it is not arm's length at all, it's a partnership. So this minister has been in every possible corner of the argument here and it is clear.

I will go back and ask the Minister of the Environment to put up the proof and table in this House the cell phone records of July 26, 1996 directed by him to the then Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board from the car in which he was travelling leaving the Resource Recovery Fund meeting of July 26th and the records of any cell phone used in that car on that occasion. Will the minister do the right thing and agree to table those telephone cell records?

[Page 2560]

[1:30 p.m.]

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to believe that that is the same Terry Donahoe I grew up with. I think quite frankly the honourable member for Halifax Citadel has stooped to the lowest. He is really digging into the mud looking for what he really can't find on the surface, he won't find the mud either. I think that he has forgotten all about the Feagan affair, I think he was the person involved. I don't know if that was tabled publicly for all people to know all of the ins and outs of. This does not even come close to even a dream of the Feagan affair.

I want to tell the honourable member, he is one who makes the accusations and I think he is the one who is bound to put up the proof. I think that he at this point in time should stop smear-mongering the character of this individual because I think I come here with a little bit more integrity to offer than what I just heard from the member for Halifax Citadel. (Applause)

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the Premier. The Premier has observed the exchange between myself and the Minister of the Environment here and obviously by reason of his interest in the TRACC deal has some knowledge of the doings back and forth between the Resource Recovery Fund Board and the TRACC organization. I want to say to the Premier in light of the pressure exerted by the Minister of the Environment at the July 26th meeting, the phone calls which were made and the demands made, I ask the Premier if he is prepared today to table in this House the Code of Ethics which you promised the Nova Scotian voters under which your ministers are to conduct themselves in the pursuit of their duties, together with a statement as to whether or not you believe the Minister of the Environment has in this instance conducted himself within the parameters of that Code of Ethics which you would table for us here in this House?

HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. After the discussion yesterday I went to the deputy minister and asked where the code that we had asked to be coded was, yesterday I didn't know. I am informed by staff that there is a draft Code of Conduct for Civil Servants and politicians. I am being quite candid I did not know it was drafted yesterday. It has been drafted with full input from the departments and maybe those carping Opposition members might like to call Judge MacIntosh who has also assisted in the creation of this Code of Conduct.

We have done what we said we would do. We have discovered the need for codifying it and what I wasn't sure of yesterday was where the response to my request, which was back last year, had come from. It has gone well and I am quite prepared to say and I will conclude on this statement, I am a lot happier about the ethics of my Minister of the Environment than I am about the member who asked the question.

[Page 2561]

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

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND:

BOARD MEETING (26/07/96) MIN. ATTENDANCE - PREMIER ENDORSE

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I too would like to ask the Premier a question. Mr. Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, do you endorse the Minister of the Environment attending meetings of a private company, in this case Resource Recovery Fund Board Inc., a private company, I point out, a company that by your admission and by the Minister of the Environment's declaration is at arm's length from this government. Do you endorse his attendance at those meetings held by the Resource Recovery Fund when he is clearly not invited?

THE PREMIER: The supposition is in the tail of the question - when he is clearly not invited. What I would say is that the Minister of the Environment is obviously responsible for these issues because all the questions are directed to him. Therefore I would assume that he has a very careful watch on all the companies and all the issues that are in the Department of the Environment. If he is asked to this meeting, as he has stated, then I have no trouble with him going to that meeting.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on more than one occasion in this Legislature the Minister of the Environment has told this House and told me that he would table an interdepartmental Environment committee report recommending a local company as the best option to recycle tires in Nova Scotia. I go again to the Premier. Will you give this House a commitment that you will see that that report is tabled because the Minister of the Environment has out and out refused to table that document?

THE PREMIER: Once again the premise of the question is probably erroneous, therefore, I will make no such commitment.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary through you to the Premier. The Premier stated yesterday that he had a code of ethics regarding the behaviour of Cabinet Ministers and members of his government.

The minister told us, in fact, that he had a code of ethics but it was not quite codified, to use his English. Mr. Premier, what exactly are you saying?

THE PREMIER: I think I have already taken the wind out of his sails with the response that I gave first. I do, nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, wonder at the gall of a Party that lost members, for various reasons, from this House, that has gone through the court cases that it has, having the temerity to ask me about a code of ethics when they have clearly demonstrated a code of ethics that was reprehensible and indeed probably nonexistent. Our code of ethics is there. It has been codified in the sense that it is being put down for both civil

[Page 2562]

servants and for politicians. I will produce it when it has finished the consultative process that I started last year.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH: MEETING (ANNA. ROYAL) -

RESPITE/PALLIATIVE CARE BEDS

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health seems to know a lot about the meeting at Annapolis even though he did not attend. I guess he must have been reading the paper, I am not sure. I wonder if the minister understands the issue in Annapolis Royal. They have their hospital closed. They now have a health centre. I wonder if the minister would support respite beds or palliative care beds. Was that part of the agreement with Annapolis Royal and Annapolis area that if the hospital closed, that his department would in fact support money for respite care beds, which he understands are so important, and palliative care beds, which are so important? Those that need those kinds of beds, instead of being in a hospital in Middleton or Kingston or in Kentville, miles away, would actually be in Annapolis Royal.

Does his government support such beds and are they supporting such beds in Annapolis Royal?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I guess I was not aware the honourable member had attended that meeting. I certainly look forward to his briefing of the events.

Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, I have not been in office for the history of the events that he speaks of. I will certainly take his question on notice and attempt to respond to him very quickly.

MR. MOODY: I didn't hear the minister say, and he may not know, whether they fund such beds. I didn't hear the minister say, number one, he does support respite beds or, number two, he does support palliative care beds in an area. I would like to know what the minister feels.

To bring the minister up to speed, because he has been in office only a number of months - I don't know, five months, six month or whatever - in actual fact this government does not fund a respite bed that is in operation in Annapolis Royal or two palliative care beds that are in operation in Annapolis Royal. They are being funded by the local foundation.

I would ask the minister, as of January 1st, when the regional health board takes over the operation of the health centre in Annapolis, will he ensure that the regional board, in actual fact, will fund the respite care bed and the two palliative care beds that are so needed

[Page 2563]

and so well spoken of by everybody at that meeting last night, that those will be funded when we have a designation to the regional boards on January 1, 1997?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly commend the foundation there for having gone ahead and taken the initiative and funded these beds, I think they deserve a great deal of credit. As a matter of fact, foundations all across Nova Scotia play a very fundamental role in the delivery of our health care system. We would not have many of the services we have in Nova Scotia were it not for foundations that come forward, volunteer their time and effort and energy, raise money and contribute to not only the capital costs of equipment and facilities but also services. They deserve a great deal of credit and I publicly commend them.

With respect to decisions which will be made on that particular facility, obviously the honourable member knows that with regionalization, those decisions will be made at the regional health board level.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I think that the minister recognizes for once the importance of the local community. That is being taken away from them as of January 1st, they feel and are told. He also recognizes the importance of foundations, which I am told will not exist with the regional boards because they say they have no more role to play.

The regional board was approached by the foundation and said, when you take it over as of January 1, 1997, and when people die, in many cases family members will leave money designated, say, for the palliative care beds or the respite beds. They were told by the regional board that if such money was left, it would go to the regional board but it would not be designated for the palliative care beds in that community, as it has done in the past. That is what they were told; they are very upset.

I would ask the minister, given the fact that he has given all this authority to the regional boards, who are not sensitive to these community issues, if that is the case, which I can document that to him from the foundation, will he ensure that no regional board in this province will take the kind of money that is left to the foundations for those purposes and spend it on different things? That is what this regional board has told the local foundations.

I would ask the minister, even though he has given the responsibility to the regional boards, that he would intervene and pass legislation, if necessary, so that the community boards and the foundations still have some control on how the local money that is raised is being spent.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I have had an opportunity to speak to that particular regional health board on the subject generally of foundations and commitments of funds which are specifically directed to particular purposes. I don't think any regional health board, or, indeed, any health administrator would be silly enough to say that if someone was prepared to give funds for something like respite care, that they would reject it out of hand.

[Page 2564]

[1:45 p.m.]

What I think is very interesting and fundamental, which has come from the meeting that the honourable member speaks of, is the position now of the Conservative Party in totally rejecting the blueprint reform of health care. Maybe I missed it here, maybe the last two years when we have been in the House of Assembly, I missed that. Did that come in a vision last night or was that the day before yesterday?

All of a sudden, now, the Conservative Party have rejected the Blueprint Committee on Health Care Reform. I think if that is the case, they have at least the responsibility to tell us what they plan to put in its place.

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

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 the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

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

The motion is carried.

[1:46 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]

[4:42 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Wayne Gaudet, 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 bill:

[Page 2565]

Bill No. 8 - Court and Administrative Reform Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Statements by Ministers.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share with members of this House some information on an initiative to increase the cost of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Mr. Speaker, it is a well known fact that young people are heavily influenced in their smoking habits by price. We do not want to see our youth or anyone else become addicted to smoking, so we are taking steps to make tobacco products more expensive. We believe higher prices will reduce the amount of tobacco consumed in Nova Scotia.

The tax increases being announced here today are carefully coordinated with our sister provinces and the Government of Canada. It has been judged by Ottawa that a modest increase will affect consumption, without increasing the risk of fuelling the underground economy. We accept that judgment and have approved the decision to proceed.

The provincial tax on cigarettes will go up by 70 cents a carton, effective midnight tonight. Mr. Speaker, this increase may not be felt by consumers immediately, however, because the tax will only apply on new inventory. Any cigarettes already on store shelves may be sold at the existing price.

[4:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Government is joining with three other provincial governments, Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec, in carrying out this initiative. In addition, the Government of Canada will be raising its tax on tobacco products by another 70 cents a carton. As a result, there will be a total increase of $1.40, plus GST, for a total of $1.50. It is estimated that the province will collect $5.3 million more per fiscal year in revenue. That means an extra $1.75 million in the current fiscal year.

[Page 2566]

A bulletin is currently going out to wholesalers following this announcement outlining the price changes. In Nova Scotia, the federal and provincial price increase means the cost of a package of cigarettes will be going up approximately 15 cents per package of 20, including the GST. There will be proportional changes in all other tobacco products with the exception of cigars. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this increase. I think, though, there is a very fine line between where the prices get so high that the underground economy takes over. As members remember, we had a great deal of smuggling of cigarettes not many years ago and it was profit made illegally by a number in this province.

Even though I acknowledge that pricing has some effect on those that decide to smoke, I think it does not have as much effect as we would like. Hopefully, those who have not started smoking as young people, this increase will deter them from taking up smoking. I think the government has to realize that through education and the enforcement of the smoking legislation we have, it is going to more effective than raising the price of cigarettes.

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a happy medium of where we can go with this price. I hope the government does not consider that the only way to combat or the only way to prevent young people from smoking is continually raising the price. We tried that once, it will not work. So we have to be very careful of how far we go with the price. There are other avenues. Given the fact, Mr. Speaker, that I think all of us recognize the health problems that smoking can create, whether it is the smoker himself or second-hand smoke, we have to continue to work to make sure that our young people and people in this province are given the opportunity to live in a smoke free area.

I know that the Minister of Health is still considering some legislation. He has a discussion paper out there on how we deal with the whole issue of smoking in public places. I think, Mr. Speaker, this may be a first start, but it is a small start and I would ask the government not to use this price increase as a continual means of the only way of trying to prevent smoking, especially with young people and others. I would caution the government on that, but I do welcome and feel this is a small step in the right direction.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker. I, too, want to rise today to indicate my support and our caucus' support for the measure that has been introduced by the Minister of Finance. I believe legislation will be coming forward with this as well.

[Page 2567]

Certainly, there is no question that the cost of smoking does have an influence upon the degree and amount that people smoke and has an effect upon how many people will begin smoking. I cannot remember, off the top of my head, the statistics that I heard but, since the price dropped dramatically, there has been a significant increase in the number of young people who have started smoking. Certainly, anything that we can do that would influence people not to start smoking, I am in favour of.

One of the other things that I understand is that the federal government is going to be introducing - the minister does not have it in his statement today, but I believe the federal government is also going to be, or at least I hope they are going to be, if my information is correct - bringing in new restrictions in advertising. That is something that I am looking forward to seeing. I am interested in seeing what measures are going to be put in place to try to restrict and get back to a restriction on that.

Even with these increases I note that the price of cigarettes is still going to be probably between $1.50 to $2.00 less than it was a couple of years ago. This should bring the price of a package of cigarettes up to probably - I don't know, it depends on where you get them - anywhere in the range from about $4.50 up to about $5.00. A couple of years ago they were in the range of $6.50 to $7.00 at times, Mr. Speaker.

So, certainly, the prices are still well below that which they had been. I have some sympathy for the comments that we have to be careful that we do not try to encourage the underground economy - in other words, smuggling, Mr. Speaker - but one of the ways I would suggest that we deal with that is by stiffer penalties. We do not just stop doing something that we think is right because we think that that may encourage more illegal activity. Sometimes the way you address that is by stricter enforcement and also, I might say, much stricter penalties upon those who break the law. Those who are found guilty, for example, of selling contraband, selling smuggled products, maybe one of the things that could be done to those retailers would be to remove their license to be in business at all. That might have been a very strong message to them.

I do thank the minister for making the announcement in this House, I appreciate that. I think it is showing respect for this Chamber. I also want to say that I support the measure and I will support it even if it goes further in future days by increasing even more the amount that is going to be raised. Possibly, the additional tax dollars that can be raised can be used by the Minister of Health for some cessation programs or for providing much needed home care or health care in the province. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 2568]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 47 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 17 of the Acts of 1995-96. The Revenue Act. (Hon. William Gillis)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a message from the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia. The message is as follows:

"The Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia, in accordance with the Constitution Act, 1867, recommends to the House of Assembly that the House of Assembly pass a Bill entitled 'An Act to Amend Chapter 17 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Revenue Act'.

Signed,

J. James Kinley

Lieutenant Governor

Halifax, Nova Scotia

November, 1996".

MR. SPEAKER: The message is tabled.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 47.

Bill No. 47 - Revenue Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 47 be now read a second time.

[Page 2569]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 47. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

If unanimous consent is granted, we can certainly deal with the bill at this stage.

Is it agreed that consideration of Bill No. 47 by the Committee on Law Amendments be waived?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would please call Bill No. 47.

Bill No. 47 - Revenue Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 47 be now read for a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 47. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 2570]

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 34.

Bill No. 34 - Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, while leaping to take advantage of the new cooperative spirit now present in the House, I would like to move second reading of An Act to Incorporate the Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre for Children, Women and Families. Very briefly, this is a very successful story. Two institutions came together and created their joint operation which now stands, indeed, as one of the foremost medical institutions in the country. Its orientation, obviously, is to women and families and they have come to the former minister asking him to introduce legislation to formalize that arrangement which is now in existence in reality.

That bill was introduced and now I take great pleasure in moving it for second reading. I might say for the benefit of some members that certain discussion has taken place between the IWK-Grace and the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union. There are a number of amendments which have been agreed to and the government has indicated they will support those agreed amendments as they come forward in Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill No. 34. I think here we have an example of how amalgamation should work as compared to how it was forced upon the other hospitals in metro.

The IWK and the Grace hospitals started this process way back in 1993 and they have worked their way through many issues over that period of time and have reached to the point that they need this legislation in order to make things workable and to protect those people that are there and the board members and the institution. I might say that the Department of Health, obviously gave its approval right from the beginning to work on this process. You have the IWK and the Grace hospitals and the Grace hospital, obviously with the Salvation Army involved; I think even the Salvation Army would recognize that this has been a successful merger that they can live with. They still have a presence on the board, they still can be supportive of this institution.

[Page 2571]

Sometimes I am not sure that we recognize the excellent work and the dedication of the staff of the IWK and the Grace; there is no question they are leaders in their field. They serve not only the young people of this province, but they have 22 per cent of their patients from New Brunswick, 3 per cent from Newfoundland and about the same from Prince Edward Island. This tertiary care hospital not only serves young people in Nova Scotia, but serves actually young people from the Atlantic Provinces. It is highly specialized; a great deal of money is raised through the foundation, so besides government's support and money that is left to the IWK-Grace hospital, a great deal of money is raised by car washes, walk-a-thons, you name it. Not only in the Province of Nova Scotia, but all over the Atlantic Provinces raise money for the IWK so that the young people there can have access to the most modern up-to-date equipment that is available.

I just want to say that the minister indicated and I think the IWK have indicated they can live with four of the five amendments that the NSGEU put forward and I think that is a reasonable approach to the labour issues and I would support that.

I would just say one thing to the minister, that I hope he makes sure that when hospitals are designated that we do not get caught up with a regional board and the IWK-Grace Health Centre. I think the IWK-Grace has made the pitch, that they should stand alone, as the QE II Health Sciences Centre stands alone with its own board. I think it would be devastating if that hospital was designated to belong to the central regional board.

[5:00 p.m.]

There are members on the IWK-Grace Health Centre Board from outside of Nova Scotia. I think the minute that that designation ever changed, we would lose millions of dollars that are raised for that institution that are given today and raised by that foundation.

I know at this point, as I understand it and the minister may clarify, but as I understand it the IWK-Grace Health Centre will stand alone, will have its own board, will remain intact and not be designated as part of the central region. We are dealing here with a very specialized area, not an institution that deals just with the central region, we are dealing with an institution that deals province-wide, an institution that deals throughout the Atlantic Provinces. There may be some pressure come to bear on the minister to allow that hospital to be designated in the central region.

I hope the minister will give us the assurance and give the IWK-Grace the assurance that that won't happen. He knows and he said here today and I know and I read in the newspaper that he has a lot of respect for the staff of the IWK-Grace Health Centre and for the board members of the IWK-Grace and I think he very much supports that institution. He can further support that institution by indicating that in no way would he allow that designation to change.

[Page 2572]

So I know that this piece of legislation is so important to the IWK-Grace Health Centre so they can get on with their business and it is an important piece of legislation that I believe we have to do this session. Therefore, I will not unduly delay the legislation but will very much support this legislation not only going on to the Law Amendments Committee but will support it all the way through to third reading.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, really want to echo the comments of the previous speaker. In fact, back in mid-October the Leader of our Party, the member for Halifax Atlantic, had written a letter to Mr. Nurse, the President and CEO of the IWK-Grace Health Centre and indicated, of course, that we, as a Party, were very anxious to see the Legislature resume as soon as possible, so that this legislation could be brought forward, that we are very anxious to see that done.

We certainly understand the difficulties that the hospitals have been facing as a result of the absence of the legislation that was required to legitimize. Those hospitals and the staff, as the former Minister of Health and now Health Critic for the Official Opposition was pointing out, this process has been in place, in terms of getting ready for this, doing the groundwork for a number of years. Staff have worked very cooperatively, trying to make this as effective and efficient and as painless a merger as possible.

I also say to the Minister of Health quite sincerely, I do appreciate his comments that the government is willing to accept the recommendations that are going to be brought forward at the Law Amendments Committee process. If we take a look at what is being done here in the merger of these two hospitals and we take a look at the animosity and the pig-headed, bull-headed approach that was taken by government, for example, in the merger of the QE II Health Sciences Centre and the tremendous upset to everybody involved; thinking about the staff, and I think about the times sitting in the Law Amendments Committee process listening to the staff in those hospitals, some who were crying because of their concerns about what was happening to the patients in those hospitals as a result of the merger that was being imposed. So, I think that the executive, the board, those in charge of running and putting together this merger of the IWK and the Grace deserve considerable credit and accolades for the fact that they were willing to sit down with the representatives of the workers in those hospitals to try to come up with, beforehand, agreements to settle those differences between them so that this merger can go ahead in as effective a manner as possible.

We are extremely lucky in our city, we are extremely lucky in our province to have these two excellent, top-notch health care facilities in our province. I think you will go a long, long way before you will find two hospitals that give better care and better service than that which is offered by the Grace and the IWK. So, I certainly am supporting this legislation going forward and our caucus is supporting it going forward to the Law Amendments Committee. If it should turn out that the amendments that are coming forward are not those

[Page 2573]

which we expect, then it could be possible that we might have to change our position but I don't expect that to happen. I believe and feel very confident that the discussions that have gone on were done in good faith and I am taking the minister at his word that he will agree to implement those recommendations that are going to be made at the Law Amendments Committee, Mr. Speaker.

I also do have and I certainly would have some concerns if the IWK and Grace were to be lumped in with the regional health board. They are not just serving the central region, Mr. Speaker, they serve citizens from right across this province. So I would and I do support, and I have for a long time, the notion as was being suggested that they should be stand-alones, with their own separate board so that the concerns and certainly the attention and direction that is warranted by these health care facilities is going to be provided directly to it.

Mr. Speaker, in those uncharacteristically short words, not very articulately maybe, but I certainly want to indicate that it is our intention to support this bill to go on to the Law Amendments Committee. I look forward with a great deal of interest to hearing the presentations that are going to be made. As I have said, ourselves as well, we have met with both representatives from the hospitals as well as from workers and are extremely optimistic, at this stage anyway, that the differences have or can be resolved and that we can have a very orderly amalgamation of these two essential facilities taking place. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to offer a few brief remarks in relation to Bill No. 34 here at second reading. As some members may be aware, both of these institutions which come together officially and formally by virtue of this legislation are in my constituency. They are both very, very historic and significant health care institutions, not only in this city and in this province but, indeed, I was going to say not only in Atlantic Canada but I think, as the Minister of Health would agree, both have national reputations.

I was intrigued some many weeks ago to listen to, I think it was the Peter Gzowski Show on CBC Radio one morning, and my recollection is that I listened to Mr. Gzowski interviewing a woman who - no I have it wrong - it was not Gzowski, I will tell you exactly what it was now that it comes back to me.

Last summer I had occasion to be in Winnipeg and, as a matter of fact, there was a Tory policy convention on in Winnipeg.

AN HON. MEMBER: What year was that?

[Page 2574]

MR. DONAHOE: Just this summer gone. I was there and, on the flight back, I had to make a plane change in Toronto and I was engaged in conversation with two or three gentlemen and two or three women. The topic of conversation was that it was a family group coming to Halifax because the child of one of the women in the group had been referred by the medical people in Saskatchewan to be delivered to the IWK-Grace Health Centre here in Halifax because of a very unusual, serious and life-threatening medical condition.

I must say, it struck me, as it would all members I am sure, and I felt a little swell of pride, sorrow for the child who required the medical attention, but pride that the medical fraternity in Saskatchewan, as an example, would come to the conclusion that the IWK-Grace Health Centre was the place for that youngster to receive world-class medical care. I know that that is very anecdotal, but I think the anecdote does serve to indicate that the abilities and the very class medical service available at the IWK-Grace Health Centre is well-known, certainly, across this country and I have no reason to doubt it is known even wider than that.

It has already been said, and it is worth repetition I think, in municipal amalgamations or amalgamations of universities and so on - and we will see something of that in a bill that is yet to be debated - frequently, Mr. Speaker, you get a situation where there is friction and difficulty and things do not go so well. Well, I want to say to three colleagues, my colleague for Kings West, my colleague for Cape Breton North, and my colleague, the current Minister of Health, that over the course of pieces and periods of their time as Ministers of Health, they have had a part and played a role in shepherding the discussions which have led to the introduction of this piece of legislation because the discussions in regard to whether or not this merger might take place have taken place as far back as late 1992 and into early 1993. So I think great credit should be taken and deservedly taken, by those ministers.

[5:15 p.m.]

Equally important, Mr. Speaker, I think it is noteworthy, on this occasion, to mark the absolutely phenomenal commitment which has been made in this city and to the Grace Maternity Hospital of the Salvation Army over decades of care and tremendous service. It happens that I have one child, a daughter of whom I am exceedingly proud, and my little girl, no longer a little girl, a young woman now of 21 years of age was born at the Grace and she and my wife, so tremendously well treated there. I cannot help, no I will not get into the story. (Interruptions) What I have in my mind (Laughter) no, that will not take long.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no, tell the story, Terry.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: You've led us on.

MR. DONAHOE: I have made reference, probably in grave error, just a moment ago to the fact that my only child, my daughter, was born at the Grace and she is now a young lady of 21 years of age. I cannot help but recall the day of her birth at the Grace and I think

[Page 2575]

some members here might get a little bit of humour out of the occurrences in the delivery room on that particular day.

My wife was being cared for by a very interesting and competent medical practitioner and rather to our surprise the practitioner suggested, well perhaps, Terry, you would like to come into the delivery room. I said, well, okay, I guess I could. So, I get all geared up and get the slippers and the gown, the mask, the head gear and so on on and in I go to the delivery room. As my daughter, Moira, started to appear, the doctor looked at me and said, well, Terry, perhaps you would like to cut the cord, at which point, after he picked me up off the floor, I said, well, yes, if that is all right, I guess I can do that.

So, the cord is clamped in the appropriate places and I am to do the cutting of the cord. My daughter's head started to appear, finally was free from my wife's body and held up by the doctor and the opening line from the doctor was, he leaned down to my wife, Lynn, and he said, it is a beautiful looking baby; the baby looks just like Edmund Morris (Laughter). So, the new doctor we retained immediately looked after my wife and my daughter extremely well.

How I got onto that little anecdote is beyond me or why is beyond me. Maybe, you know, Mr. Speaker, the fact that I did come to, in my mind, to that crazy little personal family anecdote is not so far off the mark when one thinks of the unbelievable service provided by the Salvation Army over so many decades in this city at the Grace Maternity Hospital. I, through the years, through my time on the Treasury benches, had occasion to be at the Grace Maternity Hospital in official capacities many times and the love, compassion and commitment to care that was evidenced by the Salvation Army was really overpowering.

Not only were the men and women and the officers of the Salvation Army full of love and compassion for the mothers and children for whom they provided care, they put tremendous amounts of their Army's financial resources available to the development of the new facility and I could not let this occasion pass, the debate on this bill pass, without paying my respects and sincerely to the work for so many generations in this city of the Salvation Army.

The Izaak Walton Killam Hospital, when I practised law many years ago, Mr. Speaker, I practised, as I have said in this place a couple of times, in the realm of child abuse law. It was in the early days, honestly, of the development of that interface between the medical community and the Family Court system where increasingly the medical people were being called into the Family Courts to offer medical opinion, in concert with the lawyers, relative to the care and, more to the point, the abuse of children. So I had occasion over many years to have quite a relationship with the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital as well and many of the practitioners there. The quality of the service and the high professional level of service provided by people such as Dr. John Anderson, who immediately comes to mind, to a very good friend of mine and a nationally renowned oncologist, Dr. Allan Pyesmany, and I

[Page 2576]

couldn't think of the Izaak Walton Killam, of course, without thinking of people like Richard Goldbloom. That institution has been blessed with men and women who have just demonstrated tremendous ability and, most important, compassion for the young people and the families whom they serve.

This piece of legislation is important. I applaud the minister for pulling together the final stages of the amalgamation or merger which makes it possible. I think it is, as my friend for Kings West has said, I really do hope - I don't know what the minister's intentions are or what the government's intentions might be, but I really do hope - that at least for the foreseeable future, the Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre for Children, Women and Families will, in fact, be freestanding or stand alone, vis-à-vis the Central Regional Health Board.

I believe it may come some day that circumstances seem to indicate that that is an appropriate meld and fold it into that. I don't know, who knows what the future holds. But at this point I honestly believe that it would be inappropriate and probably counter-productive for the regional health board to inject itself into the day-to-day and, indeed, the longer-term management of this facility at this time. So I would support and underscore the request and suggestion made by my colleague from Kings West in that regard because I don't think that would serve it well.

I couldn't think, either, of the IWK Hospital without thinking of the tremendous work done there, in terms of infant cancer but I can't think of it either without thinking about the work done at that tremendous facility in the field of cystic fibrosis. Many people in this room will know who I mean when I refer to Ian and Donna Thompson. They are the parents of two children, Robbie and Jane, both of whom are afflicted by cystic fibrosis. Robbie, as it happens, is a former classmate of my daughter, Edmund Morris, oh, my daughter Moira. They were together at Queen Elizabeth High School. Robbie has a younger sister, Jane, who is now on athletic scholarship with her cystic fibrosis, on the swim team at one of the major universities in the United States. Robbie is in his senior year at university here. Two finer young people you would not meet and two finer parents you wouldn't meet either.

Ian Thompson, aided every minute of his life since the birth of their children by his wife, Donna, has made all of them a lifelong commitment to the fight against cystic fibrosis worldwide. Ian Thompson himself a year or more ago became the President of International Cystic Fibrosis Association. They will tell you as they have told me that the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital in little old Halifax, Nova Scotia is the leading institution in the treatment and research relative to cystic fibrosis anywhere in this world. We have much to be proud of when we think of both of these institutions and we have much to be proud of when we think of the medical staff and the men and women such as Ian, Donna, their children and others who have been a part of the life of the Killam Hospital.

[Page 2577]

I am just delighted that this bill is before us, that the merger is taking place. I know from having been at the facility a couple of times in the last not so many months that the transition even without the benefit of a piece of legislation is well along, is working well and is working smoothly. I have very high hopes for an even greater service to children, women, and families as a consequence of this merger. I support the bill wholeheartedly and I compliment and applaud this minister and the government as a whole for coming forward with it. I wish everybody who will have anything to do with the new facility every success because the work that they undertake there is just so fundamental and crucial to so many thousands of people locally, nationally and, indeed, internationally. My compliments to everybody who has helped to make this successful merger happen. Thank you.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to comment that we are completely in support of Bill No. 34. I also would like to acknowledge and recognize the staff at the two facilities, the Grace Maternity Hospital and the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children. I don't think I need to tell the minister that their commitment and dedication is beyond anyone's greatest imagination.

The facilities, as has been mentioned by the honourable member for Kings West, do receive government support. There is money raised through car washes, walk-a-thons; there are various fund-raisers whereby literally millions of dollars are raised in support of those facilities. Of course, money is bequeathed to the facility from time to time. I too, like the member for Kings West, encourage the minister to stand by his word and ensure that there is not a designation whereby these facilities would fall under the responsibility of the Central Regional Health Board.

I would like to again thank the minister for taking time out of his busy schedule yesterday to meet with a small number of constituents from my riding and help them feel a little more comfortable with the designation that is going to be upon us after January 1st. I am referring to the Twin Oaks Hospital in Musquodoboit Harbour serving the Eastern Shore and Sheet Harbour, the Musquodoboit Memorial Hospital in Middle Musquodoboit, the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre in Sackville, the Dartmouth General Hospital and the Hants Community Hospital. We will all fall under one designation come January 1st, but the minister assures us that the regional health board in fact will help make the transition quite easy and the community health boards will continue to function and our health care services and the vehicle to communicate our concerns will still be in place after the designation is completed. We are quite grateful for that and as the old saying goes, Mr. Speaker, the proof will be in the pudding.

[Page 2578]

[5:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, these institutions - the IWK and the Grace - are very specialized facilities. Staff, again, is to be respected and in fact to be applauded. The health care providers are very important to the overall health of the patient. This is important legislation. My family and, more particularly, my children had occasion to use the IWK and in fact my son, Trevor, hurt his neck and we were extremely concerned because any time you are dealing with the spinal column so to speak, Mr. Speaker, you do have reason to be concerned. My son also had a hernia operation at the IWK. He was treated and his mother and father were treated with a lot of politeness at the facility. Information was forthcoming and we really felt very comfortable in the IWK.

Our daughter, Julie, had her adenoids and tonsils extracted, Mr. Speaker, and again Julie's mother and father received a lot of information. The patients were treated very well and we took some solace out of the fact that the health care provider would take the time and make the parents feel part of the process. Everything was explained in detail. The steps of the operations were provided to us in great detail. It really made us feel very assured that the patients and, in this case, our children, would receive top-notch care.

I plead with the minister to ensure that the Grace Maternity Hospital and the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital remain amalgamated and continue to operate, as this legislation provides for, under their own administration. It is very important that the Department of Health be responsible. I am sure that there are different layers, Mr. Speaker, of the bureaucracy, when you are talking about your regional health boards, your community hospital boards and of course your local hospital boards. There are operations committees. There are things of that nature. I am confident that once this legislation is effected and enacted, we will have a piece of legislation that we all can be proud of as Nova Scotians.

I just want to say I support the legislation, Mr. Speaker. I commend the Minister of Health for bringing the legislation forward and, again, I thank the minister for taking time out of his schedule yesterday to meet with some constituents who took the time out of their busy schedules to drive down to Halifax here and meet with the minister.Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am going to rise, I believe my colleague for Sackville-Cobequid, when I was out of the House in a meeting, indicated that we would be supporting this bill moving on to the Law Amendments Committee, at which time we will undoubtedly have an opportunity to discuss any possible concerns with various portions of the bill; although let me say that my understanding is, in discussing this matter with the Director of the IWK-Grace, that in fact a lot of work has been done in preparation for this transition and a number of people at the facility, as well as government officials, have worked

[Page 2579]

through the details of the legislation and there have been discussions with the employee groups represented at those facilities.

As I understand it a lot of concerns or any concerns that may have been present have been worked out to the relative satisfaction of other people involved.

I must say, I take my hat off to the people that have been working through this merger, that have been trying to ensure that transition to this new health centre was as smooth - to use a word that comes from the other side - and as seamless as possible in terms of ensuring that there are no breaks in service and in terms of how employees are going to be dealt with in the transition. I believe that some considerable effort has been made in that regard, Mr. Speaker. We will get an opportunity at the Law Amendments Committee to see if there are any details.

Let me say that I have had the opportunity to travel throughout this province and other provinces in the Maritimes and, certainly, I have heard people talk from one end of this province to the other and throughout the Maritimes about how important these facilities are. As tertiary care facilities, the IWK and the Grace Maternity Hospital have played an important role in family life and in dealing with the health and well-being of many generations in the Maritimes, Mr. Speaker. I think that that bodes well for its future.

I was kind of moved by the member for Halifax Citadel who ventured off into a little vignette to share one that I have with respect to the IWK. That is my daughter seems to have the same difficulty with money as I do in that I believe she was, if I recall correctly, about one and one-half or two and she got a coin in her hand and popped it into her mouth before any of us could grab it and it got lodged in her throat. It was a cold, blustery winter night and there was a massive storm and we were able to get her down to Emergency at the IWK and they were able to call a surgeon in. They had to call a surgeon in from off-duty and he had to get there through, like I said, this blizzard, in effect, and we were handled with the utmost care, both us, the frantic parents, as well as our one and one-half year old daughter. They did the procedure and we now have a little cup at home in a cupboard somewhere that still has that nickel in it and we tell our daughter that story from time to time.

I have had other occasions to go in the IWK and be dealt with by that staff and they are extremely professional, warm and caring people and I think that that facility and, certainly, the Grace Maternity Hospital, are a credit to this province and to this region. I very much support this merger and support the people that have been involved in making it as effective as they possibly can. I wish everybody the best. When this bill goes to the Law Amendments Committee, if there are any potential weaknesses or problems with various parts of the legislation, I have made that clear with two people that are trying to get this legislation through, that I see as part of my responsibility, examining the legislation to make sure that when we do pass it through this House, that I can say that I have done my utmost to make it the best possible piece of legislation that I could. That is my responsibility and I will try to carry that out as best I can.

[Page 2580]

Mr. Speaker, let me just say then, with those few comments, that I am in support of the principle of this bill and I am voting in support of it moving on to the Law Amendments Committee and I look forward to hearing any presentations at that particular time. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I am tempted, of course, to tell a few of my own stories, anecdotes, but I will spare the House those memories. I appreciate all of the comments that have been made by all members who have contributed to the debate. On behalf of the board, senior management and staff, it's very much appreciated to hear the positive comments that have come forward. We are obviously dealing with, I think as one member said, an institution of, absolutely, not only national but international status. The way these two staffs and administrations and boards have come together, it really does stand as an example for all types of amalgamation, not only in the health care field, but throughout.

So with those words, I would thank the members for their contribution to the debate at this stage and move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

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

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

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

The motion is carried.

[5:41 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Dennis Richards in the Chair.]

[5:57 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Wayne Gaudet, resumed the Chair.]

[Page 2581]

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. 28 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 30 - Motor Vehicle 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.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a document entitled, Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report, April 1 to October 31, 1996. I will provide copies to each member of the House before the end of today's proceedings.

Just for the members' information, to my knowledge, under the Financial Measures Act that was introduced this spring, I believe this is the first account of some $530,000 that has actually been applied to the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia and the savings would be somewhere in the vicinity of $50,000 a year; a small step, but in the right direction, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will sit from the hours of 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The order of business, following the daily routine will be Committee of the Whole House on Bills and then, depending on the progress, possibly Public Bills for Second Reading. (Interruption) Committee of the Whole House on Bills: the Occupiers' Liability Act, the Real Estate Trading Act; and then second reading of public bills.

I move that we adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

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MR. SPEAKER: We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The Adjournment debate has been chosen as announced earlier and won by the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party, who will debate:

"Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the Minister of Health that government is about choices and priorities and the Liberals are responsible for putting a $240 million tax break for business ahead of adequate funding for health care.".

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

HEALTH - CARE: BUSINESS TAX BREAK - PRIORITY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I couldn't hear what you were saying there, so just for the information of other members in the House, I say that the debate tonight is: "Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the Minister of Health that government is about choices and priorities and the Liberals are responsible for putting a $240 million tax break for business ahead of adequate funding for health care.".

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to raise this debate tonight because I have been engaged in an ongoing debate with this Minister of Health over the crisis in many components of the health care system in the Province of Nova Scotia. Under this government, we have seen hospitals being shut down; we have seen over 30 per cent of hospital beds in the Province of Nova Scotia over the past three years be cut out of the system; we have seen thousands of health care workers cut out of the system; and Nova Scotians have seen a significant reduction in the level of health care that they have had available to them in their communities from one end of this province to the other.

We have talked about home care and the fact that the government is continuing to cut back at the same time. You see, the whole idea was to cut down the institutional-based care, the acute-based care, that you shift that into the primary-based care, into care delivered in the community by the community. That was the whole idea, that was the focus of reform or intended to be the focus of reform. What we have seen is that the government has not put services in the community, they have not done what they said they were going to do, which is beef-up home care in order to help Nova Scotians have their needs met in the home by professionals, by home support workers who are able to meet the housing needs, the social service needs and the health care needs of so many Nova Scotians, including seniors.

[Page 2583]

What we are seeing is a regime where people are being released from the hospital earlier and earlier and they are being sent home. We are seeing people waiting on lists for surgery, people who are in some cases incapacitated until they receive particular treatments, who are remaining in their homes and need to be cared for and home care is not providing that service. In debate with this Minister of Health, he says to me and he says to other Nova Scotians, we cannot afford it. We have a legacy left over from the former administration of $8 billion debt that we have to deal with. We have been hearing that mantra of the debt and the deficit now for 20 years.

You know what is so troubling in the whole equation with respect to health care is that nobody has had the courage since Medicare first came into being in 1964, in Saskatchewan, to take Medicare head-on because what it has symbolized is a commitment by Canadians to look after one another. Canadians said, through Medicare, that they would be prepared to share the burden of their brothers and sisters. So, they have held onto that and they hold onto that vision, that principle to this day. No one has had the courage to take on that challenge of Medicare.

I believe that forces in the right and this government has been part of it, have used the fiscal crisis as a result of 25 years of fiscal mismanagement by Liberal and Tory Governments at both the federal and provincial level that have resulted in debts and deficit. They have used that fiscal crisis to launch a potent indirect assault that may lead against Medicare that has meant that Medicare is suffering the death of 1,000 cuts. Whether it is user fees, whether it is extra billing, whether it is continued privatization, whether it is de-insurance. What we are seeing is the continuing transfer from the burden being shared by all to the burden increasingly being shared by individuals and by their families where those exist.

That is wrong. I believe that is dead wrong because Canadians are still, I believe, very much committed to the concept that people should not on their own fear that they could not afford medical care if they get sick. People should not be left alone in their communities to fend for themselves when they are sick and infirm and that Canadians are committed to Medicare as a form of citizenship that indicates that we are a different country, that we have a special relationship with each other and that we are prepared to fight for that, to fight for those principles in this country.

At the same time this Minister of Health has the nerve to say to me and other Nova Scotians that we cannot afford to save our health care system. He is presiding over a tax change in this province that is unprecedented. It shifts $240 million off the backs of corporations, many of them the major corporations in this province, and shifts $84 million of that burden onto individual Nova Scotian consumers and expects in the final analysis that the government can manage to forgo more than $100 million in annual tax revenue as a result of giving that gift.

[Page 2584]

The question that has not been answered by this government is what are you going to do when the bribe is gone to replace that $100 million in tax revenue? How many more hospitals are going to shut down? How many more seniors and other people are going to go without home care services in their communities, Mr. Speaker? How many more services are going to be de-insured, important potentially life-saving treatments like biopsies? That is the problem, you see, with what is going on. When you say on the one hand that we cannot afford it, what you then are allowing is for companies to move in and say, look, we'll handle this. We'll do this a little cheaper. We'll make a profit, but that is okay. All of a sudden the government loses control. You have a private sector company beginning to deliver, for profit, a health care service to people who are sick and infirm and who all of a sudden have to start paying more user fees. All of a sudden they can get better health care if they can afford it. We are supposed to believe that is all right.

Well, I say this. Canadians are not prepared to accept this mentality that through collective action we are unable to help ourselves. That is exactly the mentality that is being put down. That is the whole issue around these tax cuts that help the wealthy the greatest, Mr. Speaker. What this government is doing and the right is doing - and the Tories are participating in it - are handing out these tax cuts to individuals, in particular wealthy individuals, and they are saying, we cannot do anything collectively to help ourselves, so here, you take a little tax break and you go out and look after your own problems.

Mr. Speaker, it is striking at the very fibre, at the very principle upon which Medicare was based. It is something I am extremely concerned is under real serious threat in this province and in this country. It is incumbent upon all of us in this Legislature and throughout this country to stand on our feet and to recognize that it was not spending on health care that caused the debt and the deficit.

It is not going to be cutting and slashing health care that is going to solve the problem with respect to debt and deficit. If we are going to maintain a health care system in this country where we all share the burden of our sisters and brothers, if we are going to maintain a health care system that is noted around the world for being the most economical and the most efficient in terms of the per capita dollars that go into administration, then we are going to need to fight. We are going to need to fight against this idea that collectively we cannot make a difference, that collectively we cannot afford to protect the future of our children and the future of our families and the future of our communities. Mr. Speaker, this is an important issue that I believe all members must turn their attention to. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to participate in this debate this evening. As much as the resolution that is before us tonight is one that allows, I guess, a wide range of discussion, I think it is important to make some specific comment. I am going to try to centre my thoughts on two main areas.

[Page 2585]

First of all I want to talk a little bit about what the resolution says. It says, let's talk about choices; let's talk about choices in health care, I assume, is what the member had indicated in presenting the resolution. I think it is important every time we talk about something today that we have to keep in mind where we were in order to understand where we are going.

Let's go back a few years ago to think about what health care was like just a few short years ago. Health care, for the most part, was that if an individual required any form of care it required that individual to come to a hospital, frequently I might add, a hospital here in metro, if the serious nature of that illness or injury required expert medical attention. Was there any choice there? No, I don't think there was much choice at all. What about today, where are we today? Today we have introduced a whole range of services covering most if not all of Nova Scotia. I want to talk about a few of them.

I want to talk first of all about telemedicine. Mr. Speaker, you would be very interested in this, coming from a rural part of Nova Scotia not close to what is called the metro centre here. If the doctor in your community had a problem with a patient what would he have had to do in order to make contact with a specialist here in the metro region? How could he get that information flowing back and forth? It was a very difficult, almost impossible process. Where can we do that today? Through telemedicine, that doctor in rural Nova Scotia has access to the most expert, up-to-date information he or she can get through information technology. What does that do for Nova Scotians? It gives them a level of service that they never had before in every part of this province, not for those of us who are fortunate enough, or some may say unfortunate enough, to live within the metro zone. Whether they are from the District of Clare, from Guysborough, from Inverness, from Shelburne or all other places throughout this province, that service is now available to them.

Let's talk about emergency health care. Great strides have been made in that particular area, great strides with an air ambulance program that was so desperately needed in this province. I certainly was very pleased when we launched the official opening of that service not so very many months ago. I am pleased to say that the helicopter service housed at 12 Wing Shearwater within my constituency has been added and is providing a tremendously important service to the people of Nova Scotia; people not just here in metro but people in Cape Breton, people in the western area of Nova Scotia, when an emergency exists and that individual is needed to be brought into a central location they can do so in record speed. What would have happened just a few short years ago, what was the choice then? There was no choice. Is there a choice today? Yes, there most certainly is.

Let's talk about the other component of the emergency health care program in the regular ambulance service. We had ambulances throughout this province, no question about that, some excellent programs but no consistent regulations. You weren't sure if you called an ambulance really what kind of a vehicle would pull up, what kind of equipment that vehicle might have. It could be provided by a corporation that provided excellent care but you didn't

[Page 2586]

know for certain. Today, with an increasing number, and they are growing constantly, 70, almost 80 new ambulances are now in place, with 12 critical care transfer units in place, people from one end of Nova Scotia to the other, if they require an ambulance to transport them or provide immediate, on-site service. That is choice, Mr. Speaker, choice that didn't exist before.

[6:15 p.m.]

Six new defibrillators stretching across and particularly in Cape Breton, providing adequate, critical care service to people in need, on the spot, that is choice, Mr. Speaker. Breast screening clinics; you know, cancer is a very serious and terrible disease. I am sure there is not a member in this House, I am sure there is not a person throughout Nova Scotia and beyond that who hasn't been affected one way or another by this dreadful disease. We all understand and, more importantly, we must take great steps to make sure that through early detection this disease can be cured, but we need to provide early detection services. Breast screening clinics can do that, as I heard most eloquently yesterday, for at least 50 per cent of the population of this province.

What about the new oxygen program just announced, Mr. Speaker? You know, when we talk about choices, where was the choice for a young child throughout Nova Scotia - name a spot, any spot - who required oxygen because they may have been prematurely developed in their lung capacity and they required home oxygen but the family perhaps couldn't afford it. Can they get it today? Yes, they can because we have provided choices, critical choices, important choices, choices that affect not only those in the metro zone but choices that are critical from one end of Nova Scotia to the other.

A moment ago, Mr. Speaker, I talked about cancer treatment. Most recently this government, our government, and I am proud to be a member of it, we provided a new cancer care treatment centre in Cape Breton. The statistics are dreadful when we think about the number of people in this province who are afflicted by that disease. It is incumbent upon all of us to understand and provide treatment where it is most desperately needed. I don't think anybody takes pride in the fact that the number of people who suffer from that disease are higher in some pockets than in others. But we do understand that Cape Breton has their fair share of it, too high a share of it. We must provide those people with the best kind of treatment we can. That is our government's commitment.

I listened to the honourable member and I heard him say at great length, not only tonight but at different times, that the health care system is falling apart. I beg to differ, I don't think he is correct. I have seen great developments coming along every time I read a report, whether it was the Royal Commission on Health Care, the health strategy for the 1990's, every one of those reports, reports that have been worked on for years by people throughout this province. What is happening with those reports? They are being implemented in a managed way, not in a haphazard way but in a managed way.

[Page 2587]

Yes, we have to worry about the dollars as well, there is no doubt about that. We can't continue to spend as if there is no tomorrow. I am concerned about tomorrow. I heard members speak here this evening at great length about their children. Well, I, too, am in that category and I am concerned that I will leave this province better off for my children and my children's children and I believe these health care reforms will do that, Mr. Speaker. With that, I want to thank you very much for this time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I changed what I was going to say, I guess, what I initially was going to talk about, to talk about what the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage talked about when he talked about choices and how much better it is today in health care than it was three years ago. You know, I was astounded when I heard that member say that he has read all these reports. I cannot understand, because any member who has been around this province, has talked to individuals who have had family members that have become sick, do you tell them that it is better today, they have better choices today than they had three years ago? Not so, absolutely not so.

When that honourable member talked about cancer treatment, I had a friend who was a radiation oncologist and he told me that the back-up was because of lost specialists and all the rest, the delays. He had to make choices, Mr. Speaker, who lived and died. That is not the kind of choice that I would like to see made in this province. I can tell you when that member said (Interruption) I never interrupted him; he hasn't got the courtesy to keep quiet. I didn't interrupt him. When that member can say in this House that people have choices because we have all kinds of specialists in the province, there are no waiting lists, that people don't have to worry because he made it happen in every community in this province.

We had regional hospitals in this province that had the capacity, with specialists to look after many of the difficult health needs. What happened when this government came to office? This government drove many of those specialists out of this province. You ask any family practitioner, you ask anybody how long it takes now to see a specialist, and for many of those people, it is a long drive.

You know, I think it really hit home last night in Annapolis County, as I heard those people talk about what happened when they lost their facility. What happened when they lost their facility? I remembered Dr. John Savage saying, in 1993, that there would not be any hospital closures under this government which that member is proud to be a member of. Well, we all know that that was not true, because we have had hospitals close. When I had people talk to me who lived over the mountain down in Annapolis County, who had to go and visit a loved one, be it in Middleton or Kentville, Mr. Speaker, for some seniors, that is a difficult task, and they talked about being on the highways in wintertime. We all want to be near our loved ones. We all want to be part of the healing process. But what has happened in the communities, when the hospital is closed and they have no more opportunity?

[Page 2588]

Yes, we have ambulance services and I heard the honourable member say that we now have 80 or 85. Well, three years ago we had 200 ambulances. Do you know what, Mr. Speaker? There were some good ambulance operators in this province. There were some good ambulances in this province and there were good attendants in this province and many of those people had defibrillators. Many of those ambulance people were dedicated to making an emergency service work in this province. We all accepted the fact that ambulance attendants had to reach a certain level.

What this government is going to do, it is going to go down to 100 ambulances. I have heard them say in Tatamagouche, and in other areas of the province, that what will happen is that when that one ambulance they have is taken out of the community for an emergency, where is the back-up? The back-up will be roving somewhere in Cumberland County. What happens, Mr. Speaker, if there is another emergency? Do you know what will happen if that person has to wait 20 minutes, 40 minutes or an hour? One would then know that the fast response is so important.

So when this member talks about these lovely, new 80 ambulances are going to take the place of 200 ambulances, and the minister has not said whether we are going to have 100 or 110, not the 150 that the former minister promised, what is happening now, as his officials go around the province? They are saying that you do not need as many ambulances as you had in the past because we are going to have rovers that will take their place. When that ambulance you have is on call, we will send another ambulance that is roaming the area. That is not good enough, Mr. Speaker.

I think one of the things that has happened in this province to health care is that we have lost a lot of specialists, we have closed a lot of beds. In the process of closing those beds, we have not provided a service at the level of home care to replace those beds. Now, Mr. Speaker, I am sure you, as an MLA and many other members of this House get calls on a daily basis like I do; somebody who is going through a very difficult time medically; somebody calls and says that their home care is being cut, they are in a wheelchair. I have had cases where people cannot even go to the washroom themselves. What the people in Annapolis said last night what this government was doing - and many families want to be caregivers, I understand that - was that volunteers were becoming the health care system. In other words, if you were fortunate enough to have family look after you, but what if you have no family? Many people in that room last night said they had no family members, so if they get sick, there is no hospital bed.

I have had people tell me about going to Outpatients and what happens is that the doctor and the nurses say, you should be in a bed, but there is no bed. Sometimes they lie on a stretcher in the Outpatients department. I have known people who have laid there for days. They are very sick, but there is not a bed available. I have known others who have been sent home who ended up with worse complications. Yes, the doctor wanted to admit them, but there are no beds. I understand that we cannot have a whole lot of beds, but I know people

[Page 2589]

have come and told me that the doctor says, I know I should not send you home, but I need that bed for somebody sicker than you. I know you are sick, but I have somebody sicker. They are sent home without proper home care.

Why? I think the government is right in saying that we do need home care and expanding home care. The problem is that we have told everybody that there is home care all the way from Sydney to Yarmouth that adequately meets the needs of Nova Scotians. When people pick up the telephone they think that is what is available and that is not what is available.

If the government would come clean and say to those people, we have limited resources, we cannot provide for all of those needs and this is what we are going to provide for. The worst thing that ever happened was then this government decided to take something back from some people who were already getting certain home care. That I know upset a lot of people because they thought they were assessed, they needed this level of home care, the government came along and took it back.

An area that I was amazed at and I asked the minister about it today, in a little place in Annapolis they had a nice little hospital, it is a health centre now. They have one respite bed and two palliative care beds. We all know if we have a family member dying and needs a hospital bed where there are trained nurses and so forth, it would be very difficult for family to continually drive all the way to Middleton - and I know you know the area - or to Kentville. That hospital foundation is funding those beds. We cannot get a commitment from the regional health board - they take over January 1st - that they will fund or even put in the money that is left through people making donations, that it will be used for that respite care bed and the palliative care beds.

To me, this government has their priorities wrong. If they really cared about people and really understood what communities were all about - when the minister said today, oh, you are not in favour of regional health boards. The former Minister of Health told the Blueprint Committee we are going to have regional health boards. Never mind whether it is good for the province, we are going to have them. What we are saying is that we need community health boards with some money, with some input; they know what the community needs, not the people sitting in Cornwallis who have no direct contact with any community that they are covering and the people have no access to them.

Mr. Speaker, I think that this government has a lot of soul-searching to do with regard to home care and I know it is going to be an election issue. If this government has a conscience and any compassion at all for Nova Scotia they will correct the flaws that they have left in the health care system.

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MR. SPEAKER: I would like to thank all the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's debate.

The motion for adjournment has been made.

The House will rise to sit again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 6:30 p.m.]