The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Thur., May 1, 1997

Fifth Session

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1997

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 1297
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Kemptown-Riversdale (Colchester Co.): Roads
- Pave, Mr. E. Lorraine 1298
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Lightbody Rd. (Belmont, Colchester Co.) - Pave,
Mr. E. Lorraine 1298
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 16 - Lunenburg Common Lands Act, Mrs. L. O'Connor 1298
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 299, Health - Care: Consistent - Provide, Dr. J. Hamm 1298
Res. 300, Agric. - NSAC: Graduates (1997) - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Brown 1299
Vote - Affirmative 1300
Res. 301, Day of Justice (03/05/97) - Organizers: Efforts - Salute,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1300
Res. 302, Gov't. (N.S.) - Rural Needs: Address - Begin,
Mr. R. Russell 1300
Res. 303, Culture: Gaelic Awareness Month Steering Comm. -
Recognize, Mr. K. MacAskill 1301
Vote - Affirmative 1302
Res. 304, Econ. Dev. & Tourism/Housing & Mun. Affs. - Mins.:
Bed & Breakfasts - Operators Meet, Mr. D. McInnes 1302
Res. 305, Halifax Fairview MLA - Cheerleaders: Insensitivity -
Apologize, Hon. E. Norrie 1302
Res. 306, Health - N.S. Environ. Health Centre: Opening (02/05/97) -
Best Wishes, Mr. G. Moody 1303
Res. 307, Agric. - Foodland Food Stores: Products (N.S.) -
Promotion Congrats., Mr. E. Rayfuse 1304
Vote - Affirmative 1305
Res. 308, Candace Black (Leicester, Cumb. Co.): Honesty -
Acknowledge, Mr. G. Archibald 1305
Vote - Affirmative 1305
Res. 309, Health - Ambulance Operators: Non-Profit Opportunity -
Loss Condemn, Mr. J. Holm 1305
Res. 310, Culture - Gaelic Language: Lead - Take, Mr. A. MacLeod 1306
Vote - Affirmative 1307
Res. 311, CFB Shearwater - Flood Disaster (S. Manitoba): Efforts -
Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 1307
Vote - Affirmative 1307
Res. 312, Preston Manning - Lib. Party (Can.) Platform Release:
Political Profit - Regret Express, Mr. J. Leefe 1307
Vote - Affirmative 1308
Res. 313, CFB Greenwood - Pilot & Crew: Kossler Award (Sea Rescue) -
Congrats., Mr. R. Russell 1308
Vote - Affirmative 1309
Res. 314, Nat. Res. - Forestry: Sustainable -
Policy Absence Condemn, Ms. E. O'Connell 1309
Res. 315, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Aulds Cove (Hwy. No. 104-Exit 40):
Exit - Improve, Mr. D. McInnes 1309
Res. 316, Lib. Party (Can.) - Red Book II: Title Acronym -
Message Read, Mr. A. MacLeod 1310
Res. 317, Cape Breton Nova MLA - Speaker Resignation (18/11/96):
Free Speech - Favour Thank, Mr. G. Archibald 1310
Tabling Deferred 1311
Res. 318, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Private Profit (N.S. Cpns.): Promotion -
Condemn, Mr. R. Chisholm 1311
Res. 319, The Daily News (Hfx.): Southam Purchase - Regret,
Mr. J. Holm 1312
Res. 320, CBC - Unity Train: Supporters (N.S.) - Congrats.,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1312
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Leg. Counsel - Chief: Gordon Hebb - Appoint., The Premier 1313
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 105, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Supply (N.S.) Guarantee -
Documents Table, Dr. J. Hamm 1314
No. 106, Nat. Res. - Mobil Oil: Royalty Agreement - Negotiations,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1316
No. 107, Nat. Res.: Sable Gas - Benefits, Dr. J. Hamm 1317
No. 108, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Distribution - Percentage Guaranteed,
Dr. J. Hamm 1319
No. 109, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Agreement - Reconsider, Dr. J. Hamm 1320
No. 110, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Job Creation - Alternate Proposals,
Mr. J. Holm 1321
No. 111, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: C.B. - Plans, Mr. A. MacLeod 1324
No. 112, Health - Ambulance Service: Corporate Takeover -
Objective Constant, Mr. G. Moody 1325
No. 113, Educ. - Annapolis Reg. Commun. Arts Council: Grant -
Request, Mr. G. Archibald 1328
No. 114, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Time-Frame - Accelerated,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1329
No. 115, Educ. - School Construction: Public-Private Partnering -
Investment Opportunity, Mr. G. Archibald 1331
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Ms. E. O'Connell 1334
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 1:36 P.M. 1334
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:36 P.M. 1334
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. A. Mitchell 1335
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. A. Mitchell 1335
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 5:38 P.M. 1336
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 1336
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
CBC - Unity Train: Supporters (N.S.) - Congrats.:
Mr. R. Chisholm 1336
Mrs. F. Cosman 1338
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:31 P.M. 1341
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:59 P.M. 1341
CWH ON BILLS REPORTS 1341
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 2nd at 8:00 a.m. 1342

[Page 1297]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1997

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fifth Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Wayne Gaudet

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we proceed with the daily routine, I would like to begin with introductions.

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, through you and to other members of the House, I would like to introduce some Grade 4 to Grade 9 students from Apple Blossom School in Kings West, which is actually located in the Village of Grafton where I grew up. The school has only been going for one year or two years now; I think one year. They have come to Halifax today and they have had the tour of the Legislature. I would ask them to rise, with their leader Mervin Toews, to receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We will commence with the daily sitting of the House at this time.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester North.

1297

[Page 1298]

MR. EDWARD LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to be tabled. One is from the Kemptown-Riversdale area, dealing with a number of roads. They are requesting that work be done and some of them to be paved. That petition is signed by 248 residents. I have signed it as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

MR. EDWARD LORRAINE: The other petition is from the Lightbody Road in Belmont; 25 residents live on that road. That road has been sand-sealed, double-chip sealed. It is badly broken up. It was done in 1988 or 1989. They are requesting that the road be double-chip sealed again or paved. I have signed this petition, as well.

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. 16 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 72 of the Acts of 1897. An Act Relating to Common Lands in the County of Lunenburg. (Mrs. Lila O'Connor)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 299

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

Whereas public relations efforts are more important to this Liberal Government than facts; and

[Page 1299]

Whereas prior to June 1993, Nova Scotians were spared from rhetoric on emergency health care and could depend on getting proper care during an emergency by either calling an ambulance or being taken to their local hospital; and

Whereas Nova Scotians can no longer depend on being given prompt medical attention and in some areas of the province are even being told that immediate attention for critical incidents such as heart attacks will only be available on certain days of the week;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health, members of Cabinet and the Liberal backbench stop concentrating on delivering public relations campaigns and provide a consistent level of health care that Nova Scotians can depend on and value once again.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 300

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro will be graduating the largest class in their history this week; and

Whereas the students that graduate achieve a very high rate of employment which is evidence of its world-class reputation for excellence; and

Whereas the faculty and staff deserve a great deal of credit for their efforts in making this possible;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House Nova Scotians should congratulate the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and the graduates, and wish them continued success.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1300]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 301

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

Whereas May 3rd has been designated as the Day of Justice, a day during which Canadians and Nova Scotians will march in support of jobs, child care, education, health care and pensions for all; and

Whereas a number of events are planned in advance of Saturday's Day of Justice, including a demonstration at noon today against corporate greed; and

Whereas today's demonstrations target MT&T which has laid off hundreds of workers while its profits soar and the Toronto Dominion Bank, a member of the bankers' billion dollar profit club;

Therefore be it resolved that this House salutes the efforts of organized labour and its supporters for focusing the attention of Nova Scotians on corporate greed and its contribution to the growth of inequality among Nova Scotians and Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 302

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

Whereas this Liberal Government took another step yesterday in their steps at destroying the rural fabric of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this latest step was the closure of the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs Assessment office in the Town of Windsor as of 4:30 p.m. yesterday; and

[Page 1301]

Whereas the closure of the assessment office is only the latest in a litany of closures and loss of services imposed upon the Windsor-West Hants area by this Liberal Government;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government begin addressing the needs of rural Nova Scotia instead of consistently wanting to amalgamate everything into gigantic regional offices, which have proven to be more headaches than this government ever imagined.

Mr. Speaker, I think that is atrocious and 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 Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 303

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 Gaelic culture in many communities continues to play a significant role in the life of our province; and

Whereas the month of May has been designated as Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month beginning on May 1st, the feast day of Bealltainn; and

Whereas this province continues to benefit from the resurgence in the popularity of our Gaelic traditions;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly recognize and commend the efforts of the Gaelic Awareness Month steering committee in promoting the Gaelic culture of Nova Scotia.

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

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

It is agreed.

[Page 1302]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 304

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

Whereas bed and breakfast operator, Gerry Nolan, has indicated that his industry, which is the backbone of the tourist accommodation industry outside of metro Halifax, is under a two-pronged attack from the provincial government; and

Whereas the Liberals changed municipal assessments so that bed and breakfasts are now taxed at a much higher commercial rate and the BS Tax will rip an estimated 12.5 per cent of the operator's revenue; and

Whereas the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism and the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs recognize that this additional tax burden will push more and more bed and breakfasts, the backbone of tourist accommodations, out of business;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism and the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs meet with the bed and breakfast operators to explain how their onerous tax policies can possibly support such an important industry in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 305

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

Whereas cheerleading is an honoured tradition practised and enjoyed by young people at virtually every high school, junior high school, and universities in Nova Scotia and throughout North America; and

Whereas during Wednesday's debate on Resolution No. 233 concerning Sable gas, the honourable member for Halifax Fairview referred to cheerleaders as, ". . . kind of blind

[Page 1303]

followers who shake their pompoms and say isn't this great.", and further implied that cheerleaders are immature; and

Whereas this insensitive reference belittles and insults cheerleaders at schools across Nova Scotia and are also an affront to the many thousands of Nova Scotians who support the Sable project and want it to proceed;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House disassociate themselves from these remarks and encourage the member for Halifax Fairview to publicly apologize to cheerleaders for the insensitivity and disrespect conveyed in her remarks.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West. (Interruptions)

Order, please. The honourable member has the floor.

RESOLUTION NO. 306

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 Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre will hold its official opening tomorrow morning in Fall River; and

Whereas this world-class facility aims to provide a clean, safe environment for those patients currently receiving treatment, as well as many of the 1,100 patients currently on the waiting list; and

[12:15 p.m.]

Whereas the recent departure of two physicians from the centre, due to the Liberal Government's wavering commitment to addressing environmental illness, will result in longer waiting lists and fewer patients treated;

Therefore be it resolved that this House convey best wishes to the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre as it faces an uncertain future on the occasion of its official opening.

[Page 1304]

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

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 307

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

Whereas TRA Foods Limited of Middleton, supply house for Foodland Food Stores, are promoting Nova Scotia grown products this week; and

Whereas their promotion includes pork products supplied by O.H. Armstrong of Kingston; and

Whereas Foodland is also promoting Nova Scotia grown apples from modern cold storage facilities; and

Whereas Foodland is promoting sour cream and ice cream from Farmers Dairy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Foodland supply house owners and operators for promoting Nova Scotia grown products which will strengthen the economy and provide additional employment.

Mr. Speaker, I will table a flyer to support this resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the member requesting waiver?

MR. RAYFUSE: Yes, please.

MR. SPEAKER: The member is requesting waiver of notice.

Is it agreed that the notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1305]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 308

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

Whereas honesty is a trait that must be instilled in children at an early developmental stage; and

Whereas honesty was certainly prevalent yesterday in the return of more than $300 to Mr. Leo Guyette after he lost his wallet in the vicinity of the Cumberland Mall; and

Whereas this trait of honesty was exemplified by eight year old Candace Black who found Mr. Guyette's wallet and the cash blowing in the wind near the mall and turned everything over to the RCMP;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature acknowledge the honest and sincere efforts of Candace Black of Cumberland County as an example of what makes Nova Scotia's quality of life so enjoyable and makes Nova Scotia such a great place to live.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 309

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

Whereas the Canada Health Act and the Canadian Health Coalition's Ten Goals for Improving Health Care which were unanimously endorsed by this House call for the elimination of profit making from illness; and

[Page 1306]

Whereas the takeover by Maritime Medical of the majority of the ambulance operations in this province opens up the possibility for the non-profit operation of that vital sector to end years of private profit making in the ambulance sector; and

Whereas the Minister of Health has indicated in this House that he is not pursuing the non-profit option in negotiations with Maritime Medical;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns the Minister of Health for failing to take advantage of this opportunity to finally remove the profit motive from ambulance operations in this province, thereby doing the right thing for all Nova Scotians, including patients, ambulance workers and taxpayers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 310

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

Whereas May 1st marks the beginning of Gaelic Cultural Awareness Month; and

Whereas Gaelic culture is a special and integral part of the heritage of our province and our people; and

Whereas while those able to speak ably in Gaelic in Nova Scotia are fewer every year, our cultural industries, especially the talent within our music industry, has provided a platform for the revival of the Gaelic language;

Therefore be it resolved that the government take the lead in helping to sustain the Gaelic language and culture in our daily lives and promote to markets within the country and throughout the world the Gaelic traditions to not only preserve the culture but to support the incorporation of Gaelic as a heritage language and culture to our province.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1307]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 311

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

Whereas Armed Forces personnel from CFB Shearwater are presently in southern Manitoba helping in the effort to protect citizens from the floods; and

Whereas these personnel did not hesitate to answer the call to help their fellow Canadians in a time of distress; and

Whereas already a number of these Canadian Forces members have distinguished themselves through acts of bravery and heroism in the communities that are at risk;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Armed Forces personnel from Shearwater for their selfless efforts on behalf of their fellow citizens.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 312

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

Whereas Preston Manning presents himself to Canadians as the soul of rectitude; and

[Page 1308]

Whereas that same Preston Manning, on Tuesday, received by some nefarious delivery and then gleefully brandished, publicly, a copy of the Liberal Party platform; and

Whereas, clearly, the Liberal Party document had been stolen, thereby making Preston Manning a receiver of stolen goods;

Therefore be it resolved that Preston Manning be called upon to express regret, contrition and, indeed, remorse for stooping so low as to try to make political profit from receipt of stolen property.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 313

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

Whereas a CFB Greenwood pilot and crew have won the Captain William J. Kossler Award; and

Whereas the crew has been recognized with the international award, named in memory of a U.S. Coastguardsman and aeronautical engineer, because of a daring rescue made last fall; and

Whereas the pilot and crew flew beyond their normal range to rescue four people from their yacht during a major storm, lowering two of the rescuers into the frigid waters in 90 kilometre winds to winch the four to safety;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the actions of the pilot and crew for risking their lives to save the four others and offer hearty congratulations on being named the Kossler Award recipient.

[Page 1309]

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 Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 314

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 Nova Scotians have waited over 100 years for successive governments to show leadership with a sustainable forestry policy; and

Whereas this government continues this sad legacy by sitting on its hands and ignoring the recommendations of the forest interests for a new forest management strategy; and

Whereas Nova Scotians' expectations have dimmed even further now that the estimates reveal that the Minister of Natural Resources has slashed $2 million from the silviculture program, which enabled private woodlot owners to engage in sound stewardship practices;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn this government, whose trees grow faster than a sustainable forestry policy.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 315

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 executive director of the Guysborough County Regional Development Authority recently said that the exit to Guysborough County is both unsafe and is a deterrent to the growth of the county's tourism industry; and

[Page 1310]

Whereas the executive director of the development authority believes that with the amount of tourism activity in the Auld's Cove area, Exit 40 at Auld's Cove should be a major entry point to Guysborough County; and

Whereas the exit is especially difficult for cars towing trailers or for larger recreational vehicles;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works and appropriate engineers contact the Guysborough County Regional Development Authority to see whether solutions being put forth by the authority towards an enhanced tourist industry for Guysborough Country can be undertaken sooner, rather than later.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 316

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

Whereas the Liberal Party has traditionally softly campaigned from the left and governed from the right; and

Whereas the Liberal Party's disdain respecting the intelligence of voters is reflected in the soft peddle platform enunciated in the red book II, the sequel; and

Whereas the Liberal Party's promises in the new red book are no more likely to be delivered than the promises in red book 1993 edition;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberals come clean and admit that the real message of red book the sequel is to be found in the acronym of its title - the title being Securing Our Future Together - and the acronym like the content being S-O-F-T, soft.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 317

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

[Page 1311]

Whereas the member for Cape Breton Nova yesterday came to the defence of free speech in this House; and

Whereas the member for Cape Breton Nova during his three years as Speaker displayed a complete and utter disregard for the common practice of free speech; and

Whereas the former Speaker with his personal vendettas, his petty comments, ignorance of procedure and grudges built up over a long period would not have recognized free speech if it had jumped up and bit him;

Therefore be it resolved the members of this House thank the member for Cape Breton Nova for doing the best favour for free speech when he left the Speaker's Chair.

MR. SPEAKER: Before that resolution is tabled, I would like to take the resolution under consideration. Maybe the Page could bring it forward, please.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 318

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

Whereas 84 workers at Acadia University were told yesterday they would lose their jobs on June 27th when the U.S.-based Marriott Corporation takes over plant operations; and

Whereas Acadia University like other universities in Nova Scotia and in Canada has joined the bandwagon to contract out and to privatize services in an attempt to offset federal and provincial cuts to post-secondary education training; and

Whereas Acadia University is also following the example set by this Liberal Government as it rushes to privatize and sell off provincial assets;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns the example set by the Liberal Government which promotes private profit for U.S.-based corporations and discourages local investment in decent jobs for Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 1312]

RESOLUTION NO. 319

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

Whereas concentration of ownership of the media has long been recognized as a threat to democracy; and

Whereas the sale of the Halifax Daily News to Southam removes one more independent media voice in this community; and

Whereas the sale of the Halifax Daily News simultaneously increases the power and influence in this province of Southam's principal proprietor, Conrad Black;

Therefore be it resolved that this House regrets the swallowing up of the Daily News by the Black empire and in the interest of media diversity urges measures to support the growth, development and continuation of independent media in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 320

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 the Chretien Liberals betrayed Canadians by dismantling the CBC rather than providing the stable funding they promised in their red book; and

Whereas the CBC cuts hit especially hard in Nova Scotia where dozens of jobs have been lost and regional coverage reduced; and

Whereas the Unity Train is travelling to Ottawa from both coasts to protest the cuts to the CBC and leaves Halifax today at 2:00 p.m.;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate those Nova Scotians who, unlike the Chretien Liberals, are showing the courage of their convictions with this display of support for public broadcasting in this country.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 1313]

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): I just wanted an opportunity to say a word about an appointment that we made. It gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Gordon Hebb as Chief Legislative Counsel.

If Mr. Hebb would like to stand?

Mr. Hebb has been acting Legislative Counsel for several years. His dedication, his honesty and his knowledge of the House make this an excellent appointment. I congratulate him on it. (Applause)

[12:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House that this caucus totally supports the appointment of Mr. Gordon Hebb as Chief Legislative Counsel and we wish to associate ourselves with the kind words that the Premier directed to Mr. Hebb.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let me say that this caucus certainly concurs with this decision. We have considerable respect for the work of Mr. Hebb. Our staff feels likewise. They have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Hebb and his colleagues in the Legislative Counsel Office on Private Members' Bills and other matters and have found them not only extremely competent but willing to provide whatever assistance and guidance that they possibly can and we certainly respect that.

The Premier called me this morning and advised me, before the House sat, of this decision. I might say, though, that maybe in the future, because these are positions that are servants of the House of Assembly, we might want to consider having this dealt with by an all-Party committee. I raise that only with respect to the future because again, as has already

[Page 1314]

been said, members of this caucus very much respect Mr. Hebb and the work he has done and support the decision to appoint him full time to that position.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we move to the Orders of the Day, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the late debate. The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party will debate at 6:00 p.m.:

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate those Nova Scotians who, unlike the Chretien Liberals, are showing the courage of their convictions by riding the Unity Train for public broadcasting in this country.

We will now commence the Oral Question Period, which today will last for one hour. The time now being 12:32 p.m., the Oral Question Period will run until 1:32 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: SUPPLY (N.S.) GUARANTEE - DOCUMENTS TABLE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Yesterday at the National Energy Board hearings in New Brunswick the lawyer representing the McKenna Government indicated that Maritimes & Northeast has no intention of selling gas in Atlantic Canada. We are simply to be a conduit of gas through Atlantic Canada.

Well, this kind of information is coming forward on a far too frequent basis and the government has not been able to provide us with any assurance that, in fact, we will have a guaranteed supply of gas here in Nova Scotia.

My question to the minister is, will the minister table documents that indicate there is a guaranteed supply of gas to Nova Scotia which is based on our needs and not on the discretion of Maritimes & Northeast?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is raising a good point that was made yesterday at the hearings but the member opposite should realize that this is what the hearings are for, this is a plus that we have the hearings so that any issue that is out there that has to be raised, is raised. There will be access to gas for Nova Scotians. The member opposite should not question that because even Nova Scotia Power has signed a 10

[Page 1315]

year natural gas agreement, as has been announced. The member opposite should realize that this is what the public hearings are all about.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I think the distressing part of all this is that it seems to me that the Government of Nova Scotia is very prepared to let others look after the interests of Nova Scotians, be it New Brunswick Power or the lawyer for the McKenna Government when, in fact, this is a clear responsibility of this government to make sure that Nova Scotians' interests have been put forward and protected.

Now yesterday at those same hearings the lawyer who represents Nova Scotia Power referred to secret documents indicating that Nova Scotians will be precluded from buying gas, unless they commit to the unfavourable postage stamp rate. Now the interesting thing is that the lawyer for the developers didn't deny that these secret documents did exist but said, don't worry. Well, we are worried. What information is the minister prepared to table reassuring or confirming that there are no arrangements in place precluding Nova Scotians ready access to the gas?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, as I have said, Nova Scotians will get gas if Nova Scotians want gas. Nova Scotia, as I tabled here yesterday, has prepared interventions. Fortunately, Nova Scotia will be the last to intervene and that is the best position to be in. We are in the very best position. Others - the 124 that are prepared to intervene in this process - are making their case now. We applaud that and thank them for that and if the member opposite is continuing to read headlines rather than do research he would know that.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps saying that she assures us. This government was in a position with the producers and with Maritimes & Northeast to say, before they arranged any agreement with them, no gas if there is no deal. The minister fails to come up with any evidence which refutes the growing pile of evidence that indicates we may well have been sold down the river. Is this minister prepared to put any piece of paper before this Legislature that guarantees Nova Scotian interests in the Sable Offshore Energy Project?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of companies in this province that are prepared and are speaking with the proponents to have access to the gas for Nova Scotians. We are preparing Nova Scotians, we have a gas Act in this House for that very purpose. I would ask the member opposite to show me a piece of paper to say where I haven't done that?

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

[Page 1316]

NAT. RES. - MOBIL OIL: ROYALTY AGREEMENT - NEGOTIATIONS

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Natural Resources. Yesterday in this House the Minister of Natural Resources tabled evidence, provided this document here, about the interventions by the Province of Nova Scotia at the hearings. It purports to show that this government is taking care of Nova Scotians' interests at those hearings. What it really shows to me and to many other Nova Scotians is that the consultants that they have hired say that the tolls should be based on cost; in other words, the point-to-point model rather than postage stamp.

It is a point that we agree with and that I think many Nova Scotians agree with to ensure that Nova Scotia industries, in fact, benefit from the development of this offshore gas. I am forced, given the statement by the minister yesterday, to ask this question, why is it that if the government is so convinced that point to point is the best way that this minister and her colleagues on the government benches didn't negotiate this and confirm that that is how it was going to happen when they negotiated the royalty agreement with Mobil Oil?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I am quite appalled that the member opposite would expect the government to put anything else on the table for royalties. The royalties are stand-alone, we are making sure that we get the best amount of royalties for the gas offshore. We would not put anything else on the table. We were asked to but no because we would not negotiate away that point to point or anything else. We deserve it, it is our right and we are depending and demanding that we have the point-to-point price here in Nova Scotia.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, increasingly Nova Scotians feel that they are stand-alone in relation to their interests being protected by this government. The point is, if the government was truly committed to this model of tolls then they should have, in fact, agreed and confirmed through the royalty, guaranteed that that is going to be the model of the tolling. The issue that we have at hand once again and these hearings are providing further evidence of the fact that we are getting more and more information bit by bit, as each day goes by, it is being released. It is like the dance of the seven veils. The province isn't coming forward with information, we are getting it bit by bit, in little pieces, from the hearings.

What we found out yesterday is that there have been secret deals signed between the offshore developer and the pipeline developer. Mr. Speaker, that could well hamper the ability of Nova Scotia industries to get access to our gas.

I want to ask the minister responsible, why has she, on behalf of this government, negotiated a deal with the proponents that allow them complete control over what happens to Nova Scotians' gas?

[Page 1317]

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the members opposite are saying that Nova Scotians are concerned. They are the ones who are making Nova Scotians concerned. The point is that this government, in concert with the federal government, has created the review panel for this very reason. This is the action we are taking. He is referring to evidence that the Province of Nova Scotia has put forward, making the very same demands.

We are not going to stand now and grandstand at these hearings. The evidence tabled here yesterday is the evidence that Nova Scotia put forward. We have last position at these hearings and we will state our case before the panel, not before the people opposite.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister talks about grandstanding but here what we are trying to focus her attention on is standing up for the interests of Nova Scotians and ensuring that the development of natural gas is to the benefit of Nova Scotians and not to the multinational oil companies that are in here trying to gain greater and greater control. That is what is apparent from everything the minister has had to say in this House, that this government is clearly acting in the interests of those very multinational oil companies and not Nova Scotians.

I want to ask the minister in my final supplementary, is there any reason that could prevent Nova Scotians from coming to that very same conclusion that she and her government are, in fact, operating on behalf of the interests of these multinational oil companies with respect to Nova Scotians' gas?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, what he is asking for me he has in his hand. This government is not investing taxpayers' dollars, not risking the taxpayers' dollars, not putting this government and this province in debt in this project. Private investors are putting up $3 billion for this project. We are the regulators, we are in control. We will remain in control and we are looking after Nova Scotians. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES.: SABLE GAS - BENEFITS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I wish to continue with the honourable Minister of Natural Resources. Now in replying to my earlier question, the minister indicated that it is the Opposition that is making Nova Scotians concerned about the supply of gas. I would like to quote what yesterday a lawyer representing five of the province's biggest energy users in this province said, "Nova Scotia could be cut off from its own offshore natural gas supplies under the $3 billion proposal now before the Sable Project Review Panel.". The lawyer for five of the province's biggest energy users said Tuesday.

The minister is suggesting that we are the only ones, we on the Opposition benches are the only ones concerned. Nova Scotians are concerned. Somebody has to look after the

[Page 1318]

interests of this province. It should have been the minister and her predecessor. What can this minister do to reassure all of those who are concerned that we are not going to get a sniff of Nova Scotia gas?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is reading from newspaper clippings again and I will choose to do the same thing. It says also in the newspaper that Nova Scotia wants a point-to-point price that would make natural gas more expensive the further it gets from the wellhead, giving Nova Scotia customers a competitive edge for natural gas use.

[12:45 p.m.]

DR. HAMM: To continue with the minister. The minister now is starting to at least indicate what the position - although belatedly - of the government is on all of this. It has been announced that the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Limited partnership has commissioned Washburn & Gillis & Associates to begin environmental and socio-economic studies of a proposed lateral pipeline to transport our natural gas to Saint John, New Brunswick from the company's proposed main transmission pipeline.

Can the minister indicate if she has requested Maritimes & Northeast to do similar socio-economic studies relative to laterals to Halifax, to Kentville, to Sydney or to any point in Nova Scotia? Has the government expressed any interest that they would want Maritimes & Northeast to do these studies in Nova Scotia?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I continue to be quite concerned that the members opposite haven't looked at this issue and understood it. The pipeline proposal that is now before the National Energy Board and the review panel is the main transmission line that is under the jurisdiction of the National Energy Board because it is province to province. The laterals that will go from that line to Halifax, to Port Hawkesbury, to Trenton or to wherever in Nova Scotia that Nova Scotians want gas, is under the jurisdiction of the Province of Nova Scotia. We are not giving ours away to them as New Brunswick has done.

DR. HAMM: The minister clearly, question after question, is so soft because this government seems to think that the good nature of the Sable offshore energy producers and the good nature of Maritimes & Northeast is going to look after us all. Well, that just isn't so. If this government is not prepared to demand, from these companies, an advantage for the people of Nova Scotia, the companies of Nova Scotia, relative to our own gas supply, then it isn't going to happen. This minister continues to suggest there is no problem. There is a major problem here, but the minister doesn't seem to be able to comprehend that if this government is not prepared to negotiate and make its position clear and to demand that there will be no gas transmission unless our interests are, in fact, served, then this will be the great Nova Scotia gas give-away. Will the minister respond and give us some reassurance that the Nova Scotia position is being protected?

[Page 1319]

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, that last comment made by the member opposite is totally inappropriate. This is not a great gas give-away. The proponents are here in Nova Scotia investing $3 billion in a project to get the gas out of the ground. No one will have gas until we get the gas out of the ground and that is what we are now attempting to do while, at the same time, the Nova Scotia Government and Nova Scotia authorities remain in control over the regulation of that transmission here in this province and we are making sure that Nova Scotians have access.

If the member opposite would read what I tabled here yesterday, he would understand that. I would ask both caucuses, the Official Opposition and the Third Party, to table here in the House their intervention, what they have done, the questions they have asked the panel on behalf of the people of this province. We are looking after the people of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: DISTRIBUTION - PERCENTAGE GUARANTEED

DR. JOHN HAMM: To continue with the Minister of Natural Resources. It is funny, she wants us to table all kinds of information, but when requested to table some smidgen of proof that, in fact, there is protection for the Nova Scotia consumer and Nova Scotia businesses in this deal, she utterly refuses to do so.

Will the minister indicate, is there some arrangement that guarantees a percentage of gas to Nova Scotians? I ask this question because the information seems to circulate that there is an 80/20 rule - I am not referring to the 80/20 rule that the minister's seatmate is very familiar with - but there is an 80/20 rule in place that would guarantee no less than 20 per cent of the output of the Sable Offshore Energy Project. Is there an 80/20 rule or is there not?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite continues to go down the same line, he doesn't appear to be listening to my answers. We, in this province, if we want access to gas will have access to gas. Nova Scotia Power has already signed a president's agreement for 17 per cent of that and that is enough to heat half of the households in Nova Scotia.

DR. HAMM: To continue with the Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Speaker. Now, my understanding is that the Irving interests in New Brunswick have bought up 15 per cent of the production and that Nova Scotia Power has indicated they are interested in 17 per cent, so that is 32 per cent of the total production. If, in fact, those two arrangements become formalized and, in fact, those two interests buy up 32 per cent of the gas, will the minister indicate how much of the remainder of the production will be available to other interests in Nova Scotia?

[Page 1320]

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is quoting figures now that apparently he didn't know 10 minutes ago and now he is saying he knows that there are people signing up, that the Irvings have signed up, Nova Scotia Power has signed up for access to gas here in the province for the use by the people of this province. Isn't it great that there are companies here that are willing to sign up and to take part in this project. The larger the demand the more successful this project will be.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the minister is fully aware of the fact that these arrangements that are in place do not guarantee that that amount of gas will be made available, because we keep hearing about secret documents, secret documents which it has not been denied exist. Those secret documents are documents that pass between the producer and the pipeline. Those secret documents don't seem to be indicating that there is any interest in providing gas to Nova Scotia Power, providing gas to Irving or providing gas to anybody in Atlantic Canada. What information can the minister table which would guarantee all interests in Nova Scotia that, in fact, the amount of gas that they require will be made available and it will be made available at a preferential price?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite read one headline today and all of a sudden he keeps hearing about something. He has heard it once, he has heard the answer. This is what the hearings are all about. It is a plus that that is there because everybody that is involved and has an interest in this project has now an opportunity to present their case and fight for the Province of Nova Scotia or any other interest that might be there. Nova Scotians will have access to gas if Nova Scotians want access to gas. We are, in this province, fighting for a point-to-point pricing (Interruption) If the member opposite will let me speak. This member opposite who is now deciding to heckle, where was he when the former government invested $450 million of Nova Scotia taxpayers' dollars that we are now paying on the debt of this province, our children are paying for it? We are not investing and we are not taking any risks on taxpayers' dollars. We are going to have access to the gas here in Nova Scotia and we are going to benefit from the largest project ever undertaken in this province.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: AGREEMENT - RECONSIDER

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Natural Resources. The Minister of Natural Resources is aware that the members of the government side are party to a leadership race, and one of the candidates in that leadership race is a former Member of Parliament, Mr. Russell MacLellan. Mr. MacLellan says, if elected he will take a second look at the Sable gas royalty deal. Even Russell MacLellan is concerned about the deal that this government has signed. Will the minister indicate if she is prepared to take a second look at the Sable gas deal that was signed by her predecessor?

[Page 1321]

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member opposite if he is going to quote someone else's comments that he go to that person and ask that person what he means by that comment. I would like to ask the member opposite who he is working for in this leadership campaign?

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again to continue with the minister. It has been widely reported and not been denied by government that in February the Savage Government has asked American owned Mobil Oil, lead company in the Sable gas project, how it defines a resident of Nova Scotia. Will the minister confirm that that question was asked by way of correspondence with Mobil Oil?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, once again the member opposite is reading newspaper clippings for his advice and I am really quite astounded. I assume everything we read in the paper that is quoting the member opposite is actual fact because he assumes that everything he is reading is fact. If the member opposite, I repeat, would read what I tabled here in the House yesterday he would see that yes, indeed we have asked the proponents what is a Nova Scotian because we have to have that definition, what a Nova Scotian is, because we have our definition and we want the proponents to state emphatically what they mean when they say Nova Scotia content. That is not an unusual question, it is the same as what is a Nova Scotian when you want to have someone to have the right to vote here in the province, you have to have that definition. That is logical and sensible.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the minister. So the minister does confirm that the question was asked how Mobil Oil defines a resident of Nova Scotia. My question to the minister is very simple, has she received a reply back indicating to the Government of Nova Scotia who in fact is a resident of Nova Scotia?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, that reply back is happening at the hearings. I am a little uncomfortable here with what is happening with Question Period. We have a formal hearing ongoing here, a quasi-judicial hearing that we have to be very careful that we don't taint with our comments either here or in the public. They don't seem to care about that. The answer to that question was given at the hearings.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: JOB CREATION - ALTERNATE PROPOSALS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I too want to direct a question to the Minister of Natural Resources. I am coming at it in my Question Period exchange from the angle of employment for Nova Scotians, for jobs. Yesterday, of course, the minister did table the evidence that was presented from the province before the joint panel. Unfortunately, that didn't give me the warm fuzzy feeling of confidence in this government that it apparently has given the Liberal Government members. I would like to table as well another intervention and

[Page 1322]

this is the one and I am sure that this gentleman will be known to members opposite, it is from Mr. James Livingstone. Mr. Livingstone is a gentleman who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in the way of a settlement for a wrongful dismissal suit against this government from his position as President and CEO of the Nova Scotia Resources Limited and he certainly is somebody who is very familiar with the projects and certainly highly respected in the industry, given his positions that he was able to be moved into very quickly.

[1:00 p.m.]

One of the questions that was raised, and here, as I said, I am coming at the issue of employment. One of the issues that Mr. Livingstone raised was that none of the proponents nor does it appear that the government looked at other alternative uses for that gas that would have created jobs here in Nova Scotia. Long-lasting, not just short-term jobs, but jobs that would leave long-lasting benefits to the people of Nova Scotia. In particular, the conversion of that gas into electricity and that electricity could then be sold to the New Brunswick and the New England markets as well as to Quebec.

My question to the minister is a very simple question. That is, before the government agreed to the agreement that it entered into, did the government look at the alternate proposals? Did the government look at the potential job creation for Nova Scotians producing that electricity and selling it and if not, why didn't the government look at that? If you did look at it, will you table the analysis that was done?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: The member opposite is again raising concerns that have been answered already here in this House. We are working to make sure this project goes ahead to make sure we have access to gas here in Nova Scotia and all the industry that will flow from that, all the spin-offs that will flow from that, whether it is liquid natural gas, whether it is production of electricity or whether it is a petrochemical industry. That is what this province has to look forward to. That is what will make Nova Scotia a have province.

Yes, we are addressing that and the member opposite is again raising concerns without taking into account the fact that we have already signed over $10 million worth of contracts here in Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia companies, before this project is even sanctioned.

MR. HOLM: When you cut through the baffle-gab in the minister's answer, what is very clear is that the government is saying and the minister is admitting that we have not looked at that. We have not done any analysis on that and we are not prepared to. That is the clear, solid message.

What the government is saying, in the short-term political agenda they are more interested in pretending that they have got some great deal and that we will have some short-term jobs, but they are not prepared to look at the long-term economic benefits. The minister knows, all the members on the government benches also should know, that the gas is going

[Page 1323]

to be provided to the New England markets and the New Brunswick markets that are in competition with industries, businesses, here in Nova Scotia. In other words, they are competing for our jobs. What the government has done by agreeing to the arrangements that they have, they have agreed to that without getting a competitive edge for Nova Scotia.

My question to the minister is very simply this. Why did this government enter into any agreements for the sale of our - Nova Scotians' - natural gas without first having received guarantees in writing that Nova Scotians would have the competitive advantage with that gas so that Nova Scotians would get the long-lasting benefits and jobs?

MRS. NORRIE: We have worked and guaranteed that Nova Scotia will have access to the jobs. It is in legislation. The member opposite may be familiar with an NDP candidate by the name of Howard Epstein who in his intervention with the panel wants this whole project cancelled. (Interruptions) Does he want jobs for Nova Scotia? Does he want gas for Nova Scotia? I think the member opposite should answer that before he continues with his line of questioning. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HOLM: Collect the hot air we have coming from the government benches and we would not need to worry about gas. We are talking about the future of this province for generations to come. We are talking about the future of hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians and the jobs, potentially, for tens and tens of thousands and the government over there is playing politics. The minister in an earlier answer on the floor of this House admitted, whether she realizes it or not, that jobs will be lost when she said that the amount of gas that is being provided to Nova Scotia Power will be able to heat 50 per cent of the homes in Nova Scotia. Therefore, there will be a loss of jobs in the coal industry. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I don't know if she knows that. There has been absolutely no socio-economic cost-benefit analysis done by this government and the panel has said that they will not do it.

My question to the minister is very simple. How is it possible - if you are not playing politics, if you are not just interested in your short-term political agenda - for this government to have entered into these agreements to give away our gas, Nova Scotian gas, without first having ensured that there was a proper socio-economic cost-benefit analysis done?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is now talking about the fact that this government is playing politics? The member opposite is the person who is playing politics. We are working to make sure that this project goes forward, that Nova Scotia gets as much benefit as possible, that Nova Scotians come first. The gas that will come into Nova Scotia has to have a market here in Nova Scotia. It will displace expensive, imported oil, in

[Page 1324]

Nova Scotia, to create electricity. If the NDP had their way, according to the interventions we have heard so far at the panel, there would be no gas or no jobs here in Nova Scotia.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: C.B. - PLANS

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is also to the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister stands in the House today and says she is looking out for the good of all Nova Scotians. I have no reason to doubt that, yet. I would ask the minister if she could explain to us, and to the people in this House and to the people on Cape Breton Island, just what is this government's plan, in respect to gas, for Cape Breton Island?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: If the people of Cape Breton Island want gas and access to gas in Cape Breton Island and they are prepared to work with the proponents and prepared to distribute the gas in Cape Breton, then Cape Breton will get gas. It is up to the community. (Interruptions)

MR. MACLEOD: Do you want to ask the question or do you want me to ask it? The question, Mr. Speaker, my question . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has the floor.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, they are all worried about my health over there and that is good because with the poor health system that we have in this province, they should be scared if somebody lands in the hospital.

My question to the Minister of Natural Resources. Does this government represent Cape Breton Island, too, or do they just represent the interests of their own people? Do you really . . .

MRS. NORRIE: What are you saying?

MR. MACLEOD: What am I saying? I am asking you why you have no plan in place to look after Cape Breton Island. That is what I am asking you. (Interruptions)

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think shame on the member opposite. This government represents all of Nova Scotia (Applause) and our intervention is there to make sure all Nova Scotians benefit from this gas. I don't know if this member opposite wants gas in Cape Breton, doesn't want gas in Cape Breton, or does he want coal in Cape Breton? He won't say whether he wants gas or coal. We are fighting for the benefit of the whole Province of Nova Scotia, and for anyone to suggest otherwise, shame on that person. (Applause)

[Page 1325]

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again my question is back to the minister. The one thing that people on that side of the House should realize and the one thing that everybody in this House should realize is that gas is a double-bladed edge for Cape Breton Island. First, it can and will and may . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Now you don't want it.

MR. MACLEOD: Are you finished? The first thing we have to realize is that it has the potential of putting the coal industry in trouble. The second thing, if gas does not come and there are other jobs to be created through other industrial bases, we are not going to have that advantage because of the sloppiness of the deal that this government put forward. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACLEOD: Are you finished, Miss Doolittle? What I want is the very best deal for Cape Breton Island and one-fifth of the population of this province. I don't want to be treated like a second-class citizen, nor do the people I represent. What we want to know is, when is this government actually going to stand up and do something that is positive for the people of Cape Breton Island instead of standing around and step dancing?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I am reminded of the saying, some of my friends are for it and some of my friends are against it; I am with my friends. The member opposite doesn't know which side he is on.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - AMBULANCE SERVICE:

CORPORATE TAKEOVER - OBJECTIVE CONSTANT

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health, I am sure is aware that the Ambulance Operators Association, for the last four years, or almost five I think now, has not had a contract with the Department of Health. The minister is also aware that the ambulance operators of this province were moving towards a high-performance system for over two years now. They were told that they had to move in this direction and many of them were doing that. Some of the small operators were bought out.

My question for the Minster of Health is, the operators want to know, was it always the intent to mislead the association, because they were given the idea from the department from the beginning that if they got this together, they, the initial operators of this province, would be the operators down the road when we moved into the system? Has it been the

[Page 1326]

intention of the department all along to not give it to the operators, to give it to some large company like Maritime Medical Care? Was that always the objective of the department?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it has always been the intention of the Department of Health to improve and upgrade the system, to rationalize it, to consolidate it, yes, and to provide not only top quality service, but a similar standard of service across the province. That is what has come about. The announcement we made a couple of days ago is a giant step forward. I must say that those operators who will sell, presumably, to Maritime Medical Care will sell because, obviously, they want to and they think it is a good business deal and we are not about to interfere.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I don't think they are selling because they want to. They are being forced out because Maritime Medical Care, as I understand it, is going to be doing many of the things to supervise the system that the department did previously. So they know. The handwriting is on the wall. Some of these companies have gone out and have technically been moving towards a high-performance system. Some of them have bought out other companies. They have spent money moving in this direction, as the Department of Health indicated they wanted them to do.

I am asking the minister, will there be any compensation package for those companies that went on the premise that they bought out these other companies, invested in the high-tech performance system, knowing they were going to recover these funds over a period of time? They couldn't buy anybody out without the blessing of the department. Knowing that the department would give them, obviously, money over a period of time to pay off those capital costs, is the department still going to honour those contracts if they are taken over by Maritime Medical Care?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member may be operating under the misapprehension that those companies are being forced out. In fact, that is not the case. Let me assure him that if those companies, any of them, want to stay in business, want to operate in the ambulance system in this province, they will be given the same deal, the same financial arrangement as MMC and if, in their business judgment, they want to continue on that basis, it is fine by me. But I think what you will discover is that many of them, because that is the indication that we have, will prefer to sell. When they sell they will get a good business deal, I presume, and if they don't get a business deal, they won't sell. That will be up to the buyer and the seller.

[1:15 p.m.]

Our concern is, first of all, to pre-qualify the buyer and there is no question about MMC and to ensure that there is a reasonable business plan after it takes place and then to monitor standards. We will continue to do that. If there is any particular buyer out there that

[Page 1327]

thinks that he or she or they want to stay in the business then they are welcome to but they are going to have to be competitive.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I think they have always been competitive because the rates have been set by the department, so they have to be competitive. If they can't operate under the rates then obviously they can't stay in business. The minister knows that. They are being forced out and they can be forced out by the department, that sets the rates, or they have set the rates.

I would ask, in my final supplementary, if the minister could tell us if the province will continue to set the rates and fee structure for ambulance services after Maritime Medical gets into the ambulance business or will that be left up to the discretion of Maritime Medical? Right now, the department has done that. The minister indicated yesterday a lot of the supervisory capacity will be taken over by Maritime Medical. Who will set the rates and fee structure after Maritime Medical take over whenever it is in the near future?

MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, the government and the people of Nova Scotia remain the customers. We are the ones who pay and we will negotiate and set the rates. What we won't do is we won't set one rate, for example, for Maritime Medical and then have a much higher rate for some other operator who simply wants to remain in the business at that higher rate. If he can remain in the business at the same competitive rate, then good luck, but if he can't then I suggest he should enter negotiations to conclude a sale.

MR. SPEAKER: On an introduction, the honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.

MR. WILLIAM MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the House I would like to introduce in the east gallery students from the Sackville Adult Education Program and I would like to ask them at this time to stand and receive a warm welcome from the House. I would also like to say there are some students from the Cole Harbour area who will be properly introduced by the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: On another introduction, the honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: I will just extend to the students from the Cole Harbour Adult High School through you, Mr. Speaker, a welcome as well. They have already received a warm welcome from the House. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will be adding one minute further to Question Period, which will take us to 1:33 p.m. Thank you.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 1328]

EDUC. - ANNAPOLIS REG. COMMUN. ARTS COUNCIL: GRANT - REQUEST

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, what a fair and kind person you are. My question is for the Minister of Education. It is with regard to the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council which is an organization I am sure you are quite familiar with. There are about 175 members who are involved in the arts council and at the present time they are in financial distress. The minister has received a letter and a fax from this organization looking for a one-time grant of about $30,000. Last week the Government of Nova Scotia aided the music industry to the tune of about $3.5 million. I was wondering if the Minister of Education would be able to indicate whether he will look favourably upon the request of the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased if the member opposite would table the documents during Question Period so that I could see what he is referring to. In a general sense, I think this government is really proud of its record on the arts in this province. The new Arts Council is up and running with a budget of $1.3 million supporting arts groups and arts communities from one end of the province to the other, double the amount that was expended but one year ago. A request that they have been making since 1958 has been done by this government, in fact, during a very difficult economic time, created in no small part by the former Chairman of the Management Board. This government has supported the arts community from one end of the province to the other.

As to the specific request for this council, if the member opposite would table the document, I might be able to give him a more specific answer today. On a general answer, we support arts communities and arts groups from one end of the province to the other.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for giving us that fine dissertation on something or other. I asked him a very simple question. He received mail, he received a fax and now he is asking me to table it in the House? He is the Minister of Education, can he not read? Does he not understand how the mail and the fax system works? I received the information, I read it and I understand it, I am asking the question, it was the information that was sent to the minister.

Would the minister indicate in plain and simple terms, will he undertake to examine the request from the Annapolis Regional Community Arts Council and look into their request for a grant of $30,000? They may not be benefiting from all the good things the minister has been doing for the last 12 months. In fact, they are not - they are in dire straits. They sent a fax to the minister indicating they were in dire straits. Would the minister please indicate that he will look through his stack of mail and not expect me to do it for him? When he gets to his office will the minister please indicate he will look into it and look favourably upon their simple request?

[Page 1329]

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, what I am offering is to look at it immediately. If the member opposite will table the document I will try to give him an answer immediately.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't have it in the House. I cannot believe it, I cannot believe the number of documents that the Premier, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Community Services, have been asked to table, do they ever table anything? They never, ever table anything they are requested to. This sanctimonious minister who will not even read his mail is asking me to do it for him. Will the minister return to his office and look after the request from the Annapolis Regional Community Arts Council? I know, Mr. Speaker, that you have spoken to him on behalf of this group as well. He doesn't listen to people and he will not read his mail. Will the minister agree to return to his office after today's Question Period and look into this request?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, really. All sorts of accusations about who is doing whose job here. The former Chairman of the Management Board while the province's debt rose to $9 billion is accusing us of not doing our job. While we are on the subject of returning and making commitments, I would like to table before the House today the commitment that was made yesterday to table the cost comparisons on school construction before and after on new public-private partnering and old methods for the member opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: TIME-FRAME - ACCELERATED

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister did say today that if our Party had its way that there would be no gas industry in Nova Scotia. I wanted to say right off that that is indeed not true but as my colleagues have pointed out, there are so many questions that have been emerging around the project. One of them is why this particular project? And the other one is, why now? I want to ask this government why it has accepted the accelerated time-frame of this company when we still do not have the assurance that it is in our best interest?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I don't know exactly what the member opposite is referring to whether this is in our best interest. I don't understand that question because she has had documents given to her, now there have been documents tabled in the House. We just had an introduction of a group of high school students sitting in the gallery. Those high school students would like to have the opportunity to stay in Nova Scotia, to be able to live here and to work here.

We have the opportunity now for the largest project ever to come aboard here in Nova Scotia, the largest opportunity to be a producer of a well, to be a producer of natural

[Page 1330]

gas so that those young people that sit in the gallery have an opportunity to live, to grow and to learn here in the Province of Nova Scotia. If the New Democratic Party had their way, this project would not go forward, there would be no gas and there would be no jobs for the young people.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I thought it was pretty clear to everyone in this House that the accelerated timetable would mean that gas would be onshore by 1999. Our understanding is that the American regulatory authorities won't even look at this. They won't even touch it for another six to eight months.

My question is a simple one. I think it is a reasonable one. Why can't we use those six to eight months to explore some of the important issues that are raised by this project? That isn't going to cost anybody a job 5 or 10 years down the road.

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what the member opposite is referring to when she is standing here worried about the gas access in the United States. I am worried about gas access here in Nova Scotia and to make sure this project goes forward. We are working to make sure it comes forward in the best interest of the people of this province so we will have all of the benefits that will flow from it for the young people of this province and the future generations.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, then I would ask the minister this question. Is it the view of the government that if we wait until there is sufficient time to examine all aspects of this proposal for leaving Nova Scotia and going all the way through the pipeline, that gas will disappear in the meantime, or that these partners will no longer be interested in developing it?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I guess what the member opposite is asking me to do is to tell the young people of the gallery that they can wait another 10 or 15 years. We have an opportunity here to have our proponents invest $3 billion in a project to get the gas out of the ground and onshore here in Nova Scotia. We will have that by 1999. It is necessary now for approvals to happen so that the Gas Distribution Act is out there so anybody in Nova Scotia, individuals or companies, want the opportunities, they will have them. We are not in rush. We are here because we want to make sure this project happens and it happens with all the regulatory approvals that we have under our control. We are not investing the dollars, but we are definitely in control. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 1331]

EDUC. - SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION:

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERING - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. A New York investment firm said in a recent article that during the next decade, education will be the area in which it is easiest and best to make money. He is talking something like a 700 per cent return on your investment. This was Leaman Firm. The province has got us into some deals with private partnering in school construction, so the Minister of Education is right up-to-date with the Leaman organization. The unilateral decision means that we will remain in the dark as to what the contract is going to be over the next 20 years. The minister has just tabled some documentation.

I am wondering if the minister had considered the recommendation from the investment houses when it began and that it would be the best area for private enterprise and companies across North America to invest in school construction when he entered into this private partnering arrangement?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we seem to be trading questions about tabling. Could the member opposite please table the document to which he is referring so that a substantive answer can be delivered. I assume he is referring to a New York investment prospectus, brochure, marketing effort, that suggests that construction in the public sector, and, specifically, schools, is a good investment? Could he table that information on the floor of the House?

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I was wondering, since Leaman has recommended that a 700 per cent return on investment could be expected from the construction of school and other learning institutions, if the minister could comment on whether he was aware of that and what avenues he explored prior to entering into this public-private partnering that he is involved in?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, once again, I will repeat my request. Would the member opposite please table the document to which he is referring so that we can have a substantive debate on what happened when and who consulted with whom? Would he please table the document he is reading from?

MR. ARCHIBALD: Again, we have a minister refusing to answer a question. The Minister of Education will not answer the question; he wants to ask me a question. He will have, if he is fortunate enough ever to get re-elected, an opportunity to perhaps ask me a question.

[Page 1332]

[1:30 p.m.]

I am asking a very simple question. The financial institutions in New York are suggesting education is the place to put your money to get the biggest return. Does the minister realize that? Was he aware of that when he began his secret consultation? Look, it is so secret we can't even find out, in the Annapolis Valley, what the price of the land is where this private partner with the minister is going to build a school. We don't know what the final price of the land will be; we don't know the cost of the construction; we don't know what the rental will be. There was no consultation with the . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ARCHIBALD: The question again, was the minister aware, did he have any idea in the world where you could get returns of 700 per cent and education was the most favoured area recommended by the financial institution in New York to invest your money?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am almost tempted to rise on a point of privilege without being assured of what that is exactly. It seems to me that as a member of the Treasury benches, to have reasonable and substantive questions from the Opposition is a privilege that I should enjoy in this House. Would the member opposite table the document to which he is referring?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member, as he understands the practice in this House, when a member makes reference to a document, that member is asked to table the document, please.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, thank you. Again, I didn't read anything from a document. I want to know why this minister is behaving as such a blessed coward. He has been asked questions and he stands here and says, I will not answer unless you table a document.

I am more interested in the information than the tabling of a document, Mr. Speaker. It is a very simple question. First, I asked him a question today and he admits that he doesn't read his mail, and now he is telling us he doesn't read information that is available in the media, in the public press.

Now, Mr. Speaker, would the minister indicate whether he is paying any attention at all to the fact that it is recommended that you invest in school construction and education because it will give you the largest return on investment? Now this is a very simple question. Would the minister please indicate whether he has looked into this or whether he was aware of anything at all before he got into this private and public partnering?

[Page 1333]

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we have already offered, and will do so, table the report on the results of the public consultation that took place on public-private partnering in this province, one that shaped policy.

Let me repeat, the member opposite is attempting to create all sorts of illusions and fantasies and fiction. Would the member opposite please follow the Rules of this House and table the document to which he refers, so that he can get substantive answers to his questions? We are talking about substance, not style, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North is asked to table the document that he made reference to, please.

The time allotted for the Oral Question . . .

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I did not read from any document in this House for that question. I resent the implication of that minister indicating that and, if it was so simple to have something tabled, we would have a lot more information coming before us than we do at the present time.

I did not read from any document. I have some notes that I have on my desk. I want to know where this member gets off hiding from an answer by saying I won't answer the question because you won't table it. Well come on, Mr. Speaker, he is not a little child any more, tell him to answer the question.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member is very much aware of the precedent in this House, that when a member makes reference to a document, that honourable member is asked to table the document.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I didn't read from a document.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Table it. Table it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

[Page 1334]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to say something very briefly; it will take only a minute or two. On April 17th in Oral Question Period in this House, I asked the Minister of Health a question about a particular case, a catastrophic home care case in this province. The minister, in his reply to me, made a commitment in this House to meet with me to discuss this catastrophic case. Between then and Tuesday of this week, there was no meeting. There was no time and place arranged and no meeting ever took place.

On Tuesday of this week, I tabled a written question asking the minister what was the time and where was the place for this meeting. I have not heard a reply from this written question that I tabled, so I rise this afternoon in the hope that, with my having raised it and just simply reminded the minister how important this is to one particular family in Nova Scotia and how important it is to compassionate home care, that the minister open a dialogue and discussion with me and that we are able to at least discuss it and move on to other things.

I did want to bring it up and perhaps twig the minister's memory. He is busy; we are all busy, but I would very much appreciate the minister acknowledging the written request and giving me a time and a place so that we may sit down and talk about this and move on.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[1:36 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]

[5:36 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Dennis Richards in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks leave to sit again.

[Page 1335]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 9 - Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 7 - Financial Measures (1997) Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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

[Page 1336]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[5:38 p.m. The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Dennis Richards in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. Committee of the Whole House on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Wayne Gaudet, resumed the Chair.]

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.

[Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate those Nova Scotians who, unlike the Chretien Liberals, are showing the courage of their convictions by riding the Unity Train for public broadcasting in this country.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

CBC - UNITY TRAIN: SUPPORTERS (N.S.) - CONGRATS.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon and have the opportunity to participate for a few moments in an issue that I think is important to many Nova Scotians, if not many Canadians, and that is the whole future of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as an important public institution in this country in not only the development of culture, but also the transmission of views and news throughout different parts of this country.

When the CBC was originally set up, it was designed for that purpose, designed to give everyone an opportunity to share in what was happening in different parts of the country. I think if you talk to anybody today, and as they reflect on their impression of the CBC, they will probably tell you that what they glean from the CBC or what they gain from watching the CBC is a better understanding of what it is that Canadians think and what Canadians do in other parts of this country, both in rural parts of the country and in urban centres.

Over the past, I guess 10 years at least, the CBC has been going through very difficult times. The CBC began to find itself under attack as an institution in terms of its funding under the Tories, under the Mulroney Government, back in the 1980's, as people, it seemed, in positions of power and authority began to, I believe, decide that we did not need a public broadcaster in this country, that the public broadcaster was competing with private

[Page 1337]

broadcasters and, therefore, taking some of their market share; in other words, some of their revenues and we should not be putting our tax dollars into it.

Of course, you and I know, Mr. Speaker, that what the CBC, both French and English, give us in this country is more than just a private appreciation for what is going on; it gives us a public appreciation. It gives us a presentation of all different views, opposing views, contrary views, views that are not necessarily accepted by the majority of Canadians and, also, of course, it has been a great institution in fostering talent here in Nova Scotia, local talent, both musical and dramatic, in terms of a role in screenwriting and plays and in acting, directing and, in all facets of film production, the CBC has played an important role.

Under the former Tory Government in Ottawa, the CBC found itself under a very significant threat, as I would suggest that the corporate friends of the private broadcasters got to the decision makers and said, listen, we are getting just too much critical thought out of the CBC and what we need to do is to cut that back and we also need to cut back the exposure and the presence of the CBC on the airwaves and in the homes of Canadians, so that we can take up that room in the private broadcasting sector.

In 1993, in the election campaign eventually won by the Liberals federally, Mr. Speaker, there was some significant commitments made to the friends of the CBC and all of those who do, in fact, support and appreciate the work of the CBC.

The Liberal Government through the red book said back in 1993 that they, if elected, were committed to stable funding of the CBC, that they would restore funding and maintain it at a stable level for years into the future. What happened? After that government was elected they continued the significant onslaught, cutting funds left and right in the CBC and it has threatened its regional operations. We are down now to one camera and one television reporter in Cape Breton. They used to have a station in Cape Breton with a local news program and that is no longer here.

Our news program here in Halifax, the centre of this province, has in fact been cut back to the point where you can't get any local news on the CBC on the weekend. Radio programs are being cut back as well. What it is is a loss of public voice and if you combine that with the greater concentration of corporate control over the media, what you can see happening is a real threat to the views and the whole issue of disparate views being presented to the people of this country and certainly, of this province.

We had a recent example of that, of course, as Conrad Black, who owns the largest media conglomerate in this country through now, Southam News, has taken over one of our two daily newspapers in this province, the Daily News. It is not a good sign when you have that kind of control by one or two people over media in a country as large and as diverse as this country.

[Page 1338]

Today, as I mentioned earlier in a resolution in this House, I talked about the May 3rd day of protest for justice that has been organized. It begins actually today on May 1st as a unity train it is called. It will travel from both Halifax and from Vancouver to meet in Ottawa on May 3rd and representatives of all parts of the country will come together in a protest in Ottawa to talk about what is happening in this country. Included in that is the lack of a public voice that is represented through the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

I think from my perspective as a Nova Scotian, as a Canadian, as a politician, as a member of this House and certainly, as a member of the New Democratic Party, I am deeply troubled by the lack of support the CBC has received. Not only did the Liberals betray the supporters of the CBC when they made that commitment back in 1993 and then turned their backs on it much like they did with the GST and the job promises. I see that the impact of that decision will have such a tremendous impact on the lives of people here in Nova Scotia, in terms of what they are able to understand about what happens in other parts of the province and country, from Newfoundland right across to Vancouver Island and certainly to the northern regions of this province, as well as all places in between.

I think it is important that we maintain that sense of national identity through a public broadcaster, that we have a public broadcaster that is able to foster and to help develop local talent, regional talent and national talent. That is the way that we are going to be able to continue to maintain our identity as Canadians and our culture as Canadians in all fields, including the arts, including the theatre and certainly, in terms of the disparate views in this country about issues like politics.

I see my time is up, I just want to again say that I urge all members to support the idea that we need to have a strong, a properly and an adequately funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in this country.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.

MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased to be able to stand in this House and enter this debate on the question of stable funding for the CBC. When I started to try to organize my thoughts on this question, I wanted to take a look at the past, the present and the future. I don't know if that can happen in 10 minutes but I will certainly make a somewhat shortened stab at it at any rate.

One of the things that became abundantly clear to me when I studied some mass media communications at Mount Saint Vincent University was the very essence of the structure of our country, the north-south, east-west configuration, the huge geographic border that we have, all meant that somehow we had to have something that pulled us together, in terms of nationhood.

[Page 1339]

If you go back to the early laying of the rail line across this country, everybody associated the national rail with nationhood status but certainly as the national rail became replaced by air travel and other modes of transportation, it became obvious that if there was one major cultural linkage for Canadians, it existed in the form of the CBC as a corporation because the CBC not only services the huge geographic boundary east and west but it also serve our cultural languages, it serves the northern regions of Canada with seven different languages in radio programming. So it really becomes very clear if someone stops to think about the ramifications of a national CBC system, that it underlies the very fundamental basis of what it is to have a sense of culture and have a sense of nationhood in Canada.

Now when I think of being a little girl, and that wasn't yesterday, I think back to the time of pre-television, I mean I go back a long way. I can remember listening to The Shadow, I think it was, on radio. Kids in the old days were entertained by their imaginations. They listened to radio and while there was no picture in front of them, their imaginations went wild. So I am sure that for every child in Canada there was a different mental image of what The Shadow was because that was the joy of listening to radio. You could literally let your mind explore and figure and imagine what this creature looked like whose voice was coming out over the airwaves.

At the same time that I was listening to The Shadow there were a lot of little boys and girls building crystal radio sets. Now doesn't that sound like a dinosaur time, it is so long ago? Who remembers crystal radio sets? Well, I have a husband who does.

I think about my first exposure to television; I was 14 years old and it was a little black and white set. It received one channel, the CBC. That introduced our family to those wonderful Saturday nights in hockey land. We always saved time together as a family, with boyfriends hanging around but we watched hockey on Saturday nights and the variety shows, and things like that, and Wayne and Shuster. What a wonderful institution Wayne and Shuster became. So that is my little walk down memory lane because I think that as much as one says that radio and media shape our culture, as Canadians, most of the men and women of my generation would have been shaped from some of those programs that I just referred to. Not only was I left with a lifelong love of classical music, having spent several months in bed with rheumatic fever as a child, literally only with the radio as my companion, I happen to think that the CBC and its cultural significance cannot and must not be ignored by anybody in this country. So much for the past.

I know I must skip forward, because of the time interest, to the present. When I say the present I will talk about 1993. Certainly when the federal Liberal Government took power in 1993, they realized that hanging around everybody's neck in Canada was a $42 billion deficit. That was passed on to them to deal with.

[Page 1340]

Certainly when a government takes over as a new government and looks at the books and gets all the audits done and realizes what they have inherited, obviously if they are going to deal with the financial constraints imposed by that kind of a deficit, they have to do something about it or they would be selling short the futures of all Canadians. So the government of the day, the Liberal Government, realized that if it was going to get its fiscal house in order it could not pass on restraint or constraint restructuring to all departments of government and exclude the CBC. So in reality, the hard choices were made that the CBC along with all the other partners in the Canadian purse had to look at how it delivers its programs, had to analyze its bottom line, had to come to grips with what does it do best, what should it not do at all and really had to take a very serious look at its own structure.

[6:15 p.m.]

I do not think there is a business in Canada that has not done that in the last 10 years. Many companies have had to restructure and look at how they spend their dollars. The CBC found itself essentially in the same position, looking at significant revenue shortfalls. Revenue shortfalls not only from constraint from the federal government, but the revenue shortfalls from loss of revenue from advertising. So it ended up, as I understand it, that the CBC budget was reduced by $272 million which really forced the CBC as a structure to seriously analyze what it did best and where it intended to go in the future.

I do not think most Canadians realize that we have northern radio coverage in seven languages. We have French coverage in Quebec and outside of Quebec. We have Armed Forces services. We have international broadcasting. We have an emergency broadcasting plan for the nation. We have significant FM and stereo development. We saw colour TV introduced in 1966 and that was not that long ago. We are certainly looking at satellite transmission and we are looking at digital facilities. This whole broadcast media is going in fundamentally new directions, building on a foundation from old services that were in place since that banner year in 1936 when all of this came about.

1936 was definitely a banner year. That was the year when a national service was put in place. There is a reality in Canada and it is that we are parked on a very long boundary, sitting next to an economic giant called the United States and we are always flooded with programming from the United States. It does impact on our culture. We would be fools to think it does not. One of the challenges facing the CBC in terms of the cultural identity of Canadians is what do you do with your programming? Do you import and pay for American programs or do you insist on all Canadian programs? That is a fundamental question that has to be faced because it centres really on what are the things that unite us as Canadians.

Well, we have a national identity and I think that the CBC is a very significant player in that national identity. It is nourished by sharing in our talent. It is nourished by seeing other Canadians as we do every day and every night on television and we listen to them on radio. It is nourished by listening to excellent news that informs us, and informs us beyond a 30-

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second news clip. It is nourished by worrying as a nation about floods that are affecting Canadian men and Canadian women. I happen to think that the CBC is the one and only national link to our collective family. It definitely binds us in identity. It binds us in body. It binds us in spirit. For that very reason, I think it is critically essential that the CBC is fully supported and I know in the next five years that the CBC will be receiving something in the range of $878 million from the taxpayers of Canada. That is money extremely well spent.

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

The House will now recess until 6:30 p.m.

[6:20 p.m. The House recessed.]

[6:30 p.m. The House resumed.]

MR. SPEAKER: I will call the House back to order. The House will now resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[6:31 p.m. The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]

[7:59 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 made some progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, the hours tomorrow will be from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Following the daily routine we will be dealing with Private and Local Bills for Second Reading, Bill No. 16; following that until 10:00 a.m. we will be dealing with Committee of the Whole House on Bills and continue with Bill No. 6; from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. it will be Committee of the Whole House on Supply and in that committee we will continue with Natural Resources and in the subcommittee with Fisheries and Aquaculture;

[Page 1342]

and following that from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. we will reconvene the Committee of the Whole House on Bills and continue with Bill No. 6, if that this completed possibly Bill No. 7.

I move that the House do now rise and sit between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

[8:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Before we adjourn for this evening, I would like to inform all members of the House that coming up this weekend the Nova Scotia Youth Parliament will be hosted by our staff here at Province House for their annual debate competition. So I would like to remind all members to remove any sensitive items from their desks for the upcoming weekend activity. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

The motion for adjournment has been made.

The House will now rise to sit again tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 8:01 a.m.]