The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Wed., May 7, 1997

Fifth Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 1997

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
RESIGNATION OF MEMBER:
Mr. T.R.B. Donahoe, QC (Halifax Citadel) - Resignation Announced,
by Mr. Speaker 1439
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Committee on Private and Local Bills, Mr. P. MacEwan 1440
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 371, Health - Care: Pharmaceutical Soc. (N.S.) & Pharmacy Assoc.
(N.S.) - Leadership Appreciate, Hon. G. Brown 1441
Vote - Affirmative 1441
Res. 372, Agric. - Gunn Family: Diversity (Chalets) - Commend,
Hon. G. Brown 1441
Vote - Affirmative 1442
Res. 373, VE Day - Anniv. (52nd): Contribution (Cdn.) - Recognize,
Mr. C. MacArthur 1442
Vote - Affirmative 1443
Res. 374, Health - Multiple Sclerosis Soc. (Atl. Div.): Efforts - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Boudreau 1443
Vote - Affirmative 1443
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 375, Terence Donahoe (MLA 1978-1997): Contribution - Recognize,
Dr. J. Hamm 1444
Vote - Affirmative 1444
Res. 376, Health - Promotion/Prevention: Cost Benefits - Highlight,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1444
Res. 377, Royal Canadian Legion (Bay Branch No. 117 Charlos Cove &
Ladies Aux.): Anniv. (50th) - Congrats., Mr. R. White 1445
Vote - Affirmative 1446
Res. 378, Yarmouth Co. Mutual Aid Assoc. - Maritime Fire Chiefs
Assoc. Convention (06-09/07/97): Hosts - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hubbard 1446
Vote - Affirmative 1446
Res. 379, Health - Diagnostic Services: Casual Response - Apologize,
Mr. G. Moody 1447
Res. 380, Lun. (Old Town) - Internet Site: Meadoworks Media -
Congrats., Mrs. L. O'Connor 1447
Vote - Affirmative 1448
Res. 381, Timber Leas Senior Club (Timberlea) - Life Members (New),
Mr. B. Holland 1448
Vote - Affirmative 1449
Res. 382, "The Coast Guard" (Shel. Co.) - Anniv. (100th):
Cameron Publishing - Congrats., Mr. C. Huskilson 1449
Vote - Affirmative 1449
Res. 383, Lib. Party (Can.) - Leader (PM): Women's Issue Debate -
Withdrawal, Mr. J. Holm 1449
Res. 384, Sports - Canada Games (Volleyball): Josh Muise (Porters Lake) -
Selection Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 1450
Vote - Affirmative 1451
Res. 385, Pictou Dist. Boy Scout Movement - Scout Camporee:
Anniv. (40th) - Congrats., Mr. R. White 1451
Vote - Affirmative 1451
Res. 386, Health - Care: Pharmaceutical Soc. (N.S.) & Pharmacy Assoc.
(N.S.) - Leadership Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 1452
Vote - Affirmative 1452
Res. 387, MLAs (NDP): Accounting Course - Enrol, Mr. R. Carruthers 1452
Res. 388, Nat. Res. - SIEP: Participation - Encourage, Mr. W. Fraser 1453
Vote - Affirmative 1453
Res. 389, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - B&B (Bruce Fulton-Middle Musq.):
Opening - Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 1454
Vote - Affirmative 1454
Res. 390, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Student: Summer Jobs - Increase,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1454
Res. 391, Health (Can.) - Food & Drug Act: Nat. Products Category -
Establish, Mr. A. MacLeod 1455
Res. 392, Educ. - Aldershot Elementary School: Terry Fox Fund -
Contributions Congrats., Mr. G. Archibald 1456
Vote - Affirmative 1456
Res. 393, Health - Mental Health Week (05/05/97-11/05/97):
Activities - Participation Encourage, Mr. D. Richards 1456
Vote - Affirmative 1457
Res. 394, Commun. Serv. - Secure Treatment Facility (Truro):
Consultations - Urge, Mr. J. Holm 1457
Res. 395, HRM Mayor - Warning (Gov't. [N.S.] Actions):
Lib. Party [N.S.] - Heed, Mr. B. Taylor 1458
Res. 396, Human Res. - Public Serv.: Gender Sensitivity Training - Urge,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1458
Res. 397, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Unemployment: Crisis - Action Urge,
Mr. R Chisholm 1459
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Louisbourg, Town of: CBRM - Leave, Mr. A. MacLeod 1459
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
House Order No. 4, Return Tabled, Hon. S. Jolly 1460
Written Question No. 2, Reply Tabled, Hon. S. Jolly 1460
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Commun. Serv.: Children and Family Services Act [Chapter 10-1996] -
Proclamation [with exceptions.] (30/11/97), Hon. J. MacEachern 1460
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
House Order No. 5, Return Tabled, Hon. Manning MacDonald 1463
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 127, Health: Rehab. Centre - Layoffs, Dr. J. Hamm 1463
No. 128, Health - QE II Health Sciences Centre: Supplies -
Privatization, Mr. R. Chisholm 1465
No. 129, Educ. - Schools: Adults Completion - Funding, Mr. R. Russell 1467
No. 130, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: SAIPEM UK Ltd. Project - Jobs (N.S.),
Mr. B. Taylor 1468
No. 131, Educ.: Fund. Review Work Grp. Report - Implementation,
Mr. G. Archibald 1470
No. 132, Justice - Institutions: Abuse Compensation -
Files (RG-72) Access, Mr. J. Holm 1472
No. 133, Commun. Serv. - Day Care: Spaces - Variation, Mr. A. MacLeod 1475
No. 134, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Sheet Hbr. - Terminal,
Mr. G. Archibald 1476
No. 135, Commun. Serv.: Small Options Homes - Legislation,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1477
No. 136, Educ. - HRM School Board: Teachers - Reduction,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1479
No. 137, Justice - Institutions: Abuse Compensation -
Files (RG-72) Access, Mr. R Russell 1480
No. 138, Health - Reg. Bd. (West.): Hiring - Policy, Mr. G. Moody 1482
No. 139, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Promotion (Tourism) - Increase,
Mr. D. McInnes 1484
No. 140, Fin. - Hfx.-Dart. Bridge Comm.: Expansion - Funding,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1486
No. 141, Fish.: Concerned Fishermen's Assoc. (Canso) - Min. Meet,
Mr. B. Taylor 1487
No. 142, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Birch Grove (C.B. West):
Sewer Project - Funding, Mr. A. MacLeod 1488
No. 143, Health: Hillcrest Nursing Home (Truro) - Downsizing,
Mr. B. Taylor 1490
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 39, Premier Savage - Promises (1993): Broken - Apologize,
Mr. G. Archibald 1493
Mr. G. Archibald 1493
Hon. G. Brown 1497
Mr. J. Holm 1500
Dr. J. Hamm 1504
Res. 9, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Unemployment (C.B.): Seriousness -
Understand, Mr. A. MacLeod 1508
Mr. A. MacLeod 1508
Hon. J. MacEachern 1511
Ms. E. O'Connell 1514
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
EMO: Emergency Serv. (911) Appreciation - Extend:
Mr. D. Richards 1518
Mr. K. Colwell 1520
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 8th at 12:00 p.m. 1523
NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS:
No. 10, Justice - Correctional Investigator (Independent):
Solicitor General (N.B.) - Contacts, Mr. R. Russell 1524
No. 11, Justice - Hfx. Correctional Centre: Repairs -
Inmates House Arrests, Mr. R. Russell 1524
No. 12, Commun. Serv.: Youth Independence Prog. (Tri-County) -
Guidelines, Dr. J. Hamm 1525
No. 13, Commun. Serv. - Brian Titus (Yarmouth): Prov. Assist. -
Denial, Dr. J. Hamm 1525

[Page 1439]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 1997

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fifth Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Wayne Gaudet

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin with the daily proceedings, I wish to advise all members that I have received a letter of resignation from the honourable member for Halifax Citadel reading:

"Dear Mr. Speaker:

It is with great emotion that I tender my resignation as Member of the Nova Scotia Legislature for the constituency of Halifax Citadel effectively upon the delivery of this letter to you.

For over eighteen and one-half years and five provincial elections, I have been privileged to be able to represent the residents of the constituencies of Halifax Cornwallis - Halifax Citadel in the Nova Scotia Legislature.

My emotion is the stronger as I resign today realizing as I do that it brings to an end a period of service to the people of Halifax, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Legislature of my father, Richard A. Donahoe, my brother, Arthur R. Donahoe, and myself which totals almost exactly fifty (50) years.

1439

[Page 1440]

Best wishes to you and to all of your colleagues as you continue to serve the people of the province.

Sincerely,

Terence R. B. Donahoe, QC".

Also, the librarian has asked me to inform all members that extra copies of the 1997 Members' Manual are available. Interested members should contact her office, please.

We will now begin the daily proceedings.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 16 - Lunenburg Common Lands Act.

and that 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, on an introduction.

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise on an introduction. It is my pleasure to introduce to you and other members of the House today, Mr. Russell W. Lusk, QC, who is the President of the Canadian Bar Association. With him is Mr. Ronald Pink, QC, who is the President of the Nova Scotia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. They are here today in our east gallery and I would ask them please to rise and accept the warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

[Page 1441]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 371

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 Pharmaceutical Society has been a major player in health care throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia has also been a major player in working with people in small communities in rural Nova Scotia such as Tammy in the River Hebert area; and

Whereas the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia plays a major role in the economy of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House show their appreciation toward their efforts and leadership in the delivery of health care information throughout their local businesses.

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 Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 372

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 agricultural industry is diversifying in supporting new jobs for rural Nova Scotia; and

[Page 1442]

Whereas the Gunn family in Pictou, who are dairy producers, have expanded their business by building chalets on Fitzpatrick Mountain in Pictou, called Stonehame; and

Whereas this type of initiative is an important example of leadership for rural Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of the House that the Gunns and the agriculture sector be congratulated for investing in rural Nova Scotia.

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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 373

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

Whereas Germany agreed to terms of surrender on May 7, 1945, and VE Day which brought the end of the war in Europe, was declared 52 years ago on May 8, 1945; and

Whereas over 42,000 Canadians gave their lives during the Second World War to maintain freedom throughout the world; and

Whereas all Canadians made tremendous sacrifices and contributed significantly to the war effort both at home and overseas;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the significant contribution made by Canadians for the preservation of freedom during the Second World War by observing one minute of silence in memory of those who gave their lives to bring about peace and freedom.

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

[Page 1443]

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 motion calls for one minute of silence, please.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 374

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

Whereas May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month; and

Whereas 1 in every 500 Atlantic Canadians and their families is affected by this disease; and

Whereas the Multiple Sclerosis Society is a non-profit organization committed to achieving its mission of being a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by this disease to enhance their quality of life;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Atlantic Division of the Multiple Sclerosis Society for their dedicated efforts in finding the cure for this disease of young adults, promoting accessibility to new and promising drug therapies, and educating the public about this devastating disease.

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.

[Page 1444]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 375

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

Whereas the member for Halifax Citadel resigned today so that he may seek the privilege of serving his fellow citizens in the federal House of Commons; and

Whereas Terence Richard Boyd Donahoe has admirably served the people of Nova Scotia and, in particular, his constituency of Halifax Cornwallis-Citadel; and

Whereas the Donahoe family has served the people of Halifax and the Province of Nova Scotia in the House of Assembly for nearly 50 years;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize Terence Richard Boyd Donahoe for the outstanding contribution he has made to provincial politics for 19 years.

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. (Applause)

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 376

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

[Page 1445]

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas the Minister of Health says provincial health care plans cannot afford to cover the $1,440 annual cost for people enrolled in the Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Research Centre; and

Whereas the Minister of Health should know that an ounce of prevention is easily worth a pound of cure; and

Whereas world-renowned transplant surgeon Dr. Marius Bernard estimates the cost of a single heart transplant at nearly U.S. $150,000;

Therefore be it resolved that this House draw to the attention of the Minister of Health the simply arithmetic of health promotion and disease prevention and point out that the prevention of one heart transplant would cover the cost of well over 100 participants per year in the Cardiac Prevention Program.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 377

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legions throughout Nova Scotia play a key role in the life of their communities; and

Whereas Legion members have provided an example of commitment and sacrifice to strengthen the fabric of our nation; and

Whereas Bay Branch No. 117 Charlos Cove will celebrate their 50th Anniversary on Saturday, May 24, 1997;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the members of Bay Branch No. 117 Charlos Cove and the ladies auxiliary on their 50th Anniversary and recognize the many contributions legions have made in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1446]

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 378

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

Whereas the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association's Annual Convention, hosted by the Yarmouth County Mutual Aid Association, made up of 16 Yarmouth County fire departments, will be held in Yarmouth on July 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1997; and

Whereas this convention, featuring guest speakers from both Canada and the United States, is the main educational conference of the year for these fire chiefs who, along with all the members of their departments, provide an invaluable service to their communities; and

Whereas the convention will also feature a manufacturers display of the latest, up-to-date fire-fighting equipment;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to the Yarmouth County Mutual Aid Association for having been chosen as hosts of this convention and wish them every success during the course of the convention in July.

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

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 1447]

RESOLUTION NO. 379

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

Whereas wait times for diagnostic imaging services at the QE II are far longer than the average wait times referenced in documents tabled by the Minister of Health on April 23rd; and

Whereas in response to questions relative to significant discrepancy in the information tabled by the minister and the information obtained and referenced in this House by the Leader of the Opposition, the minister said, "Barium enemas for the Official Opposition take longer."; and

Whereas the minister's response is disturbing to Nova Scotians who have been waiting 6, 8 or more weeks for diagnostic services;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health apologize to Nova Scotians for his casual response to a serious concern and, further, that he table the information gathered and the methodology used to calculate the information he tabled on April 23rd.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 380

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

Whereas a leading computer magazine, PC Computer, named Meadoworks Media's creation of the 1995 Lunenburg County Visitor Guide as one of the top Internet destinations; and

Whereas this year Meadoworks Media has designed, produced and maintained an electronic walking tour of Old Town Lunenburg; and

Whereas the electronic walking tour starts in 1753, marching through time, visiting eight buildings that demonstrate the character of Old Town;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly encourage visitors to this Internet site and extend congratulations to Eric Croft and Tom Rogers for their unique look at the Old Town of Lunenburg.

[Page 1448]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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 Minister of Business and Consumer Services on an introduction.

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: I am pleased to introduce our guests in the east gallery. They are from the Bridgeway Academy, Grades 2 to 8 and they are here today with their leaders Tonya MacNeil, Wendy Murphy, Tammy Chitty and Lori Jenkins. I would ask them all to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 381

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

Whereas the Timber Leas Seniors Club in Timberlea acts as a gathering place for seniors' social activities in the Timberlea-Lakeside community; and

Whereas the Timber Leas Seniors Club recognizes exemplary service to the club's activities through the awarding of life memberships; and

Whereas at the recent annual meeting of the Timber Leas Seniors Club Gloria Publicover, Bill Morgan and Flo Chisholm were awarded life memberships;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly extend congratulations and best wishes to these three outstanding seniors for their outstanding contribution to the activities of the Timber Leas Seniors Club.

I would request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1449]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 382

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

Whereas Shelburne County's weekly newspaper The Coast Guard made its debut exactly 100 years ago this week; and

Whereas The Coast Guard was initially published in Clark's Harbour as a four page, five column weekly; and

Whereas despite many changes in ownership over the years The Coast Guard continues to serve the citizens of Shelburne County, maintaining a strong voice in the Atlantic fishing industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Cameron Publishing in celebration of 100 years of The Coast Guard, "the Voice of Shelburne County".

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

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. 383

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

[Page 1450]

Whereas a need for a national debate on women's issues is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Canadian women hold a larger percentage of low paid jobs than any industrial nation in the world except Japan; and

Whereas the National Action Committee on the Status of Women is trying to organize a debate involving Leaders of Parties running in the current federal election campaign; and

Whereas the Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party has withdrawn from a proposed women's issues debate agreed to by the national Leader of the New Democratic Party;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the Prime Minister of this country for his inability to find enough time on his schedule to debate women's issues with the Leader of the NDP and any other national Party Leader who may choose to participate.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 384

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

Whereas this August young athletes from across Nova Scotia will be participating in the 16th Canada Games in Brandon, Manitoba; and

Whereas Josh Muise of Porters Lake will be participating in his first Canada Games as a member of the provincial boys volleyball team; and

Whereas Josh will be the youngest player on his team, the only Grade 11 student on the squad and the only player on his team from the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Josh on his accomplishments and wish him and his teammates the best of luck in Brandon and also commend the members of his community, family and coaching staff who have supported him over the years.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1451]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 385

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that as a former Boy Scout and leader, I had the opportunity to experience the hospitality of Pictou County as mentioned in this resolution.

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

Whereas the Scout movement is recognized as a force for character building in young men and young women; and

Whereas 1997 marks the 40th Scout Camporee at Camp Smith, Pictou County; and

Whereas Scouts from all over Nova Scotia will meet to test their camping skills and forge new friendships;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the many volunteers of the Pictou County District Scout movement who have made the Pictou County Camporee one of the highlights of the many scouting activities in Nova Scotia and wish them success as they celebrate their 40th Camporee.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 1452]

RESOLUTION NO. 386

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

Whereas local pharmacists are often considered, in many ways, to be the gatekeepers of our health care system; and

Whereas the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia provides information to assist residents in determining the many benefits of the Nova Scotia Home Care Program; and

Whereas the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia further assisted Nova Scotians by providing a voluntary fee reduction in an effort to enhance the Pharmacare Program;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to the members of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia for taking a lead role in the management of our health care system in the province.

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 387

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

Whereas the Leader of the federal NDP, Alexa McDonough, recently released her Party's election platform with flourish; and

Whereas in releasing her Party's platform, Ms. McDonough stated that the NDP would bring responsible fiscal management; and

Whereas it has been revealed that the accounting in the platform document has been seriously flawed, containing many accounting errors;

[Page 1453]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recommend the present NDP members of the Legislature enroll in an accounting course prior to seeking office in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 388

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

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources sponsors the Student Internship Employment Program to provide up to 275 forestry-related jobs to Nova Scotia students this summer; and

Whereas this is an excellent opportunity for students to gain 10 weeks experience in the forestry industry, in preparation for future careers; and

Whereas students employed with this program will assist department staff in a variety of forestry-related projects, such as forestry renewal, wildlife research, forest protection and boundary line clearing and maintenance;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly encourage students to participate in this employment program and recognize that the Student Internship Employment Program clearly demonstrates this government's commitment to assist the young people of Nova Scotia.

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

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 Eastern Shore.

[Page 1454]

RESOLUTION NO. 389

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

Whereas the tourism industry along the Eastern Shore has grown rapidly over the past four years, creating new businesses and new jobs; and

Whereas I recently hosted the 4th Annual Marine Drive Tourism Day, at which time I had the opportunity to talk to many tourism operators and entrepreneurs who are planning to open tourist-related businesses, including Bruce Fulton of Middle Musquodoboit; and

Whereas Bruce Fulton's Bed & Breakfast in Middle Musquodoboit will provide high-quality accommodations and first-class service to tourists during the tourist season, and will also accept guest reservations during the off-season;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Bruce Fulton of Middle Musquodoboit of the opening on his bed & breakfast and wish him a great deal of success in the future.

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 Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 390

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 summer jobs are essential to enable working age students to complete their studies without amassing mountains of debt; and

[Page 1455]

[2:30 p.m.]

Whereas fewer students are finding summer jobs in the 1990's, with the percentage of students with jobs plummeting from 69 per cent in 1989 to 52 per cent in 1996; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia the number of students with summer jobs dropped from 40,000 in 1989 to 37,000 in 1996 as tuition costs soared;

Therefore be it resolved that this House call upon the Liberal Government to improve its paltry efforts to secure summer student employment in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 391

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

Whereas hundreds of Nova Scotian women have found relief from the symptoms of menopause through the use of a cream with natural progesterone; and

Whereas Health Canada has seized a national distributor's supply of this product and the product is not allowed to be sold anywhere in Canada; and

Whereas Health Canada has indicated that they are now doing an investigation and could not give any hope to those suffering from these symptoms and indicate how long the process would take;

Therefore be it resolved that Health Minister David Dingwall and Health Canada be urged to immediately establish a natural products category under the Food and Drug Act.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 1456]

RESOLUTION NO. 392

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

Whereas since 1980, Terry Fox has inspired Canadians to fight to find a cure for cancer; and

Whereas the mother of Terry Fox, Betty, is on a five week tour of Canada recognizing and congratulating schools and students that have raised funds in her son's name; and

Whereas part of Fox's tour will take her to Aldershot Elementary School, just outside of Kentville, to thank them for raising more than $40,000 over the past 16 years towards cancer research, the highest total of any school in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature congratulate and thank Terry Fox, Betty Fox, the students and staff of Aldershot Elementary School, and all the parents and friends who have contributed to cancer research over the years.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice and perhaps you could send a note on behalf of the members to Aldershot Elementary School.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 393

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

Whereas the Canadian Mental Health Association has organized Mental Health Week, May 5th to May 11th, to help Canadians learn skills necessary to improve their mental health; and

Whereas the 1997 Mental Health Week theme is mental health promotion with the slogan, Making Mental Health Matter; and

[Page 1457]

Whereas since 1918 the Canadian Mental Health Association has worked to promote the mental health of all people;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the serious impact of mental health in all aspects of a person's life and encourage participation in the various activities sponsored by the Canadian Mental Health Association's branch offices across Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I 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. 394

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

Whereas the Minister of Community Services failed to consult employees before announcing earlier this year its hasty decision to close the Residential Centre in Truro within four months; and

Whereas the government continues to ignore its employees, residents and residents' families as it juggles the timetable for establishment of a new, secure treatment centre; and

Whereas the government's high-handed actions leave in doubt the future of current residents and employees of the Residential Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Minister of Community Services to consult with Residential Centre employees, residents, their families and the Truro community about the government's plans for a secure treatment facility in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 1458]

RESOLUTION NO. 395

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

Whereas Halifax Mayor Walter Fitzgerald last night condemned the Liberal Government for committing unbelievable sins against Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Mayor Fitzgerald best summed up the feelings of most Nova Scotians when he said, "They're changing the premier - that's not enough. We need to change the party."; and

Whereas Mayor Fitzgerald knows first-hand the devastating effects of broken Liberal promises on taxation, forced municipal amalgamation and municipal service exchange;

Therefore be it resolved that Liberal members and Party leadership contenders heed Mayor Fitzgerald's warning as a sign of what's to come in the next election.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 396

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 family violence prevention initiative and its Framework for Action mandates a training program to ensure that all justice workers comply with the new policy; and

Whereas this government has refused to mandate this necessary step, despite several recent decisions which strongly suggest that certain judges need to participate in the training program; and

Whereas the women's policy published by the Liberal Party in 1993 promised that a Liberal Government, "will implement mandatory gender-sensitivity training" for public servants and such training "will be extended to all judges, lawyers, police officers and social workers.";

[Page 1459]

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Liberal Government to depart from its customary pattern of breaking election promises and do what it said it would do, namely implement mandatory gender-sensitivity training for all professionals employed in the Public Service, including judges.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 397

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

Whereas the Liberal Government failure to implement policies to create jobs affects no group more cruelly than young people between the ages of 15 and 24; and

Whereas the national employment rate for 15 to 24 year olds has fallen from 62 per cent in 1989 to 51 per cent in 1996, with nearly half those jobs part-time; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia the employment rate for 15 to 24 year olds is only 47 per cent, down from 56 per cent in 1989;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the stand-pat Liberals here and in Ottawa to wake up and realize that there is an unemployment crisis in this country.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Presenting and Reading Petitions.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for going back to this order of business.

Today, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the Town of Louisbourg Independence Movement. The operative clause in this petition is, "We, the undersigned, believe that the Town of Louisbourg should not be in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality

[Page 1460]

and should run its own affairs.". Mr. Speaker, this is signed by over 300 residents of the Town of Louisbourg and I have attached my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a return to House Order No. 4 and the answer to Written Question No. 2.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Statements by Ministers.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I am today responding to concerns expressed over the past few months by various interested parties on the matter of private adoptions. Today's response is also the result of discussions with many members from all Parties of the House.

During the 1996 spring session, this House unanimously passed amendments to Bill No. 11, An Act to Amend the Children and Family Services Act. Some of these amendments deal with private adoption and had the unintended consequence of making it practically impossible for some people to adopt a child. We have now identified how to address this problem.

Mr. Speaker, I am today instructing my staff to prepare the necessary documents to proclaim Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1996, effective November 30, 1997. I have also specifically instructed staff that two clauses will not be proclaimed. They are:

[Page 1461]

(1) Subclause (b) from Subsection (1) of Section 68A and it reads as follows:

"where the child is an infant under one year of age, the specified person has been known to the mother or father of the child prior to the mother becoming pregnant with the child or, where the child is one year of age or older, the specified person has been known to the mother or father of the child for more than two years prior to the placement of the child for adoption;"; and

(2) Subclause (c) from Subsection (3) of Section 68A which simply refers to the clause that I just read.

The intent is to amend this Act during the next session of the House to remove these two unproclaimed clauses.

Mr. Speaker, this government is preserving the right for prospective parents to select the adoptive process of their choice. We are also expanding the birth parents' right to select prospective adoptive parents if they so desire. This will make it easier for some parents to adopt children. Most importantly, it will also allow the Department of Community Services to continue with its number one priority - the protection of children. This solution maintains the department's original objectives for these amendments on private adoptions.

We will continue to minimize the risk to adopted children and to ensure the same standards for all adoptions in Nova Scotia. And this new process will increase the likelihood of success with all adoptions, through appropriate education and counselling. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and through you I thank all members of the House for their patience.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his statement. I believe the original bill was Bill No. 11. It was passed here last year and we never did get that particular section cleared up in terms of what the implications were going to be. The question of the impact on private adoptions was subsequently brought to our attention and we appreciate the minister responding in this way in order to try to address some of those issues.

The point here is quite simple. It is a question of ensuring that adoptions are conducted in as speedy and positive and constructive a way as they possibly can and given the increasing pressure and demands on the Children's Aid Society and the Family and Children's Services Divisions across the province, it seemed only responsible in light of that that we not shut off the private adoption network. At the same time, though, it is important that the government maintain some responsibility for ensuring that the process that is followed is, in fact, fair and considers and respects the rights of the birth mother, first and foremost, and certainly the child that is being adopted.

[Page 1462]

I understand this has been run by the barristers and solicitors and even though there seems to be some question still remaining, their belief on the legal interpretation of some of these changes is that it will work out. But I do understand that the minister has indicated that he and his staff will continue to try to resolve this matter.

One little problem that I have is that certainly the Children's Aid Societies across the province will still be a big player in approving the home studies and approving the adoptions, and my concerns rest here, and that is we have already heard of two Children's Aid Societies - one in Cape Breton and one in Truro - who have raised some significant concerns about the pressures on their budgets of the changes in the department and their ability, therefore, to uphold their statutory responsibility to protect the interests of children and families. I raise that and ask the minister to stay vigilant on that issue and ensure, in fact, that resources are always in place in order to protect and allow these agencies to protect the interests of children.

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

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, first I would like to say that unfortunately I never got a copy of this announcement and I didn't see it. Anyway, the minister is indicating that he may have sent one over, but I didn't see it. There are a few things I would like to mention about this bill and this Act. It has been something that people have been waiting for and asking for for quite a while, there is no question about that.

[2:45 p.m.]

I think the ultimate goal we have is to make sure that these adoptions take place and that the outlook is for the children. The phrases that have been mentioned here today and in the bill itself, we have to be sure that it is the children who are being watched out for and that their best interests are being cared for.

I, too, am concerned about the role of the Children's Aid Societies and where they are going and what role they will play in this procedure. More importantly, these agencies have identified that there is going to be a shortage in their funding and they are not going to be sure if, indeed, they are going to be able to operate. As a matter of fact, I spoke to one member of the board of the Children's Aid Society in Cape Breton last night, and he told me that when they run out of money, the members of that board are going to have to resign because they have no way of meeting the obligations placed on them. This is a result of cuts, by this minister, to the Children's Aid Society.

So on one hand we seem to be trying to do what is right for the children; on the other hand we are cutting the funding to the agencies that are out there to protect our children. We have to wonder who, indeed, the Community Services Minister is looking after.

[Page 1463]

Mr. Speaker, with those few thoughts, I will take my place and say thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a return to House Order No. 5, as requested by the honourable member for Hants West.

MR. SPEAKER: The return is tabled.

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 member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage will debate at 6:00 p.m.:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend appreciation to this government, municipal leaders, police, fire, and ambulance services for their outstanding efforts in making the province-wide 911 Emergency Reporting Service protection available to all Nova Scotians.

We will now commence the Oral Question Period which, today, will last one and one-half hours. The time now being 2:47 p.m., the Oral Question Period will run until 4:17 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: REHAB. CENTRE - LAYOFFS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the honourable Minister of Health. The minister is aware and actually presented to the House a resolution acknowledging that this is Multiple Sclerosis Week. All members of the House are very aware of what a devastating illness multiple sclerosis is; some 2,000 Nova Scotians suffer from this illness. One of the treatment modalities that is very effective, of course, is physical medicine or rehabilitation.

My question for the minister. Is the minister aware that at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, as part of the health care reform, a number of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and nutritionists have been laid off and that those services now are harder to address and it is making it difficult for some of these services to be provided as outpatients? Is he aware that these particular people were laid off and does he have any plan afoot to remedy the situation?

[Page 1464]

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: No, Mr. Speaker, I am not aware, but I will take the question on notice.

DR. HAMM: I do acknowledge that that occurred before the minister took over his portfolio and it was not my intention to embarrass the minister. What was going on is that there was to be a change in approach to the rehabilitation service in this province and with that in mind, some 35 beds at the rehab centre were closed. The services that were available to in-patients was to be replaced by two ambulatory clinics: one ambulatory clinic was to be a stroke clinic and the second was a clinic to deal with those with progressive neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy and other illnesses.

The funding saved by closing the acute beds was to be directed to these ambulatory clinics. It has been recommended that these clinics be established but, however, they have not been and the result has been that the effect of the loss of the 35 beds has resulted in it being difficult to admit those with elective problems and it has also put pressure on staff to shorten the length of stay at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre.

The minister is very aware that in rehabilitation, long admissions are often the norm. So my question specifically to the minister is, is he aware that these clinics have been recommended and is he prepared to look at funding of these clinics to replace the beds that were closed in the rehab some time ago?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated to the honourable Leader of the Opposition, and I say this without embarrassment, I am not familiar with the specific circumstances. I will be happy to take it on notice and, in fact, as the honourable Leader knows, we will be in estimates tomorrow for up to four hours and I think I should have the information by then so that we can have a useful discussion.

DR. HAMM: I thank the minister for that answer. I am not surprised, because the minister has had a lot on his mind. Would the minister commit, then, tomorrow to come in with the details of any plan that is in place to establish those clinics, what funding is going to be available and what support staff is going to be provided for the operation of those clinics - particularly physiotherapists, OTs, psychologists, nutritionists, social workers and so on - a detailed plan that is in place?

MR. BOUDREAU: Yes, I will undertake to come in fully informed on the subject and we can discuss it at length tomorrow.

[Page 1465]

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

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE: SUPPLIES - PRIVATIZATION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Health. I had the opportunity to participate today in a press conference with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union on the whole issue of an expression of interest that has been put out by the QE II with respect to what is called Supply Chain Management Processes. It has to do with how supplies are purchased, stored, distributed, used and paid for, valued at - suggested to any company of interest - in excess of $90 million, about a little less than one-third of the total budget for the QE II.

Now let's remember that the QE II, over the past three years, was forced into an amalgamation; four tertiary care hospitals in the Province of Nova Scotia were forced to amalgamate without any plan, without any foresight. Since the QE II has, in fact, been open for business in the past month, we have heard nothing but problems with respect to the operation of that facility including such things as the point I raised here the other day about a senior medical committee of the senior medical staff setting up a committee to examine the operations outside the role and responsibility of the medical advisory committee. I brought that to the minister's attention.

The point being, Mr. Speaker, that we have had a whole line of chaos over the past number of years in relation to the QE II.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: In light of this move by the QE II, Mr. Speaker, to privatize nearly one-third of their budget of the supply of services within their facility, will the minister - and in light of the chaos that is going on right now with respect to the operation - step in and stop this move by that administration and encourage them to get down to business and try to settle the operations of the QE II down?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: That was a bit of a long question there, Mr. Speaker, but let me attempt to respond to it. First of all, the honourable member turns an expression of interest, a call for an expression of interest to deal with the purchase of supplies in the QE II, as proof positive of the chaos in the health care system. That is typical of the approach that he has taken throughout the last two years or so.

If, and I say if, it were demonstrated, Mr. Speaker, that a more efficient way to purchase supplies in a hospital such as the QE II would allow us to direct more money to patient services, would that be a bad thing? I don't see it as a bad thing. Unless you believe there are unlimited resources, and I think the honourable member probably does, then surely

[Page 1466]

we have to, at least, look to find ways to direct more and more of the money to patient services.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister may have thought it was a long question, but we are talking about the largest health care facility in Atlantic Canada, one of the largest in the country. We are talking about a budget of nearly $300 million. So I think that maybe we can afford that issue a little of bit time, don't you think?

Mr. Speaker, when the minister talks about this expression of interest, we are being a bit premature. Well, they said the same thing about the idea of getting into a public-private partnership on Highway No. 104 and look how far down the road we are with that one. They talk about the Triple-P partnerships with the education system and the schools are being knocked off left, right and centre. So I think it is important that we examine this right now.

Mr. Speaker, clearly, this is all about hiving off one-third of that budget to a for-profit company, in other words, in complete contravention of the Canada Health Act, which makes it illegal and a contravention to make profit out of the provision of health care. I want to ask the Minister of Health, will he step in and stop this move to privatize one-third of the operation at the QE II and uphold the principles of the Canada Health Act?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the Canada Health Act addresses nothing concerning the purchase of supplies. This is stretching it to the point of the ludicrous. The question I have for the honourable member is if we can save health care dollars, and I say if, precious limited resources, by purchasing supplies more efficiently and, thereby, directing more money to the patient care, what is wrong with that? Does he oppose that?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have asked this minister, as have others, over the past couple of weeks to direct his attention to the problems at the QE II hospital, instead of his leadership, to focus his attention on what is happening there with respect to the patients, with respect to the staff, with respect to the services that are provided. That minister has not had the time in order to do that. He stands here in this House and says, well, why would we get in the way of this plan to try to save money for the QE II.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask this minister . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: I can't hear you. (Interruption)

MR. CHISHOLM: Well, I am sorry that I woke up the member for Sackville-Beaverbank, Mr. Speaker, but he should also be concerned with the decisions that are being made here with respect to the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[Page 1467]

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the Minister of Health, given the fact that this expression of interest is clearly directed towards a for-profit, a profit-making institution, a large corporation, to come in to Halifax and operate this facility and we would see $90 million worth of services leaving this province. I want to ask the minister, this is clearly in contravention of the Canada Health Act and the principle of not-for-profit, will the minister step in and ensure that this one-third of that budget of the operation of the QE II is not privatized out to a multinational corporation?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, this harangue that we have heard from the honourable Leader of the Third Party is mostly fiction. In fact, he would have us believe that how a hospital purchases its supplies somehow is intricately connected with the Canada Health Act. There is absolutely nothing more ridiculous than that statement. In fact, the harangue about profit, as it drips from the lips of the socialists of the 1930's, as if there were something automatically contaminating about that word associated with anything.

[3:00 p.m.]

The real issue, which the honourable member avoided consistently, is can we find ways to direct money to patient care? Surely that is what the health care system's priority is all about. Not about how we purchase goods. Not about how we purchase toilet paper for the QE II. That is not the priority of government. The priority of government and the health care system is how we deliver quality services to the patient. If we can direct more resources to that purpose by directing fewer resources to the purchase of toilet paper, then I think that is a good thing.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: ADULTS COMPLETION - FUNDING

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: My question is for the Minister of Education. When this government came to power in 1993, in the red book they spoke about their education policy and it included platitudes such as life-long learning, building a more accountable system of education, to invest in Nova Scotia's future, et cetera. There is one group of Nova Scotians who have some concern about this commitment of this government and those are those persons who are over age 20 and want to return to school to continue their education so that they may go on to get better job opportunities or perhaps to go on to higher education. I want to ask the minister if he believes that lifelong learning stops when you reach age 20?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. RUSSELL: My first supplementary to the minister is, if he believes that, why is it that those students who want to return to school after age 20 do not receive funding from the board for their education? Why is it that these students who want, as I say, to upgrade

[Page 1468]

their education to increase their potentiality to get work or to get more education, when they attempt to return to the system they are told that there are no funds available for them?

MR. HARRISON: I assume the member opposite is referring to the public education system, but he would well know that the community college system is heavily funded by the provincial government in the amount of roughly $50 million as are many other opportunities for literacy development, GED opportunities, adult training schools. Considerable funds of public funds are used to support those initiatives for lifelong learners of all ages.

MR. RUSSELL: The answer by the Minister of Education is just not factual. In fact, if a student is attending school and for some unfortunate reason they should fail two or three grades along the way, they could reach age 20 and be a continuous student but they would be cut off at age 20, before they could take Grade 12. Does the minister agree with that? Does he support a system that prevents young adults from increasing their education so they can, as I said before, go on to obtain an education that will get them a better job or perhaps future educational prospects in community colleges or universities?

MR. HARRISON: The member opposite is talking about the public funds that are expended to public education, Primary to Grade 12 education. There was province-wide consultation on the regulations that defines entry and exit ages of people in Nova Scotia who would receive public education in our high schools. I would be interested to know if the member opposite would table any submissions he made to those public consultations which established the regulations through wide consultation in this province and if at some point he did in fact write a letter or make a submission that suggested we extend the age, I ask him where he would get the money from?

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: SAIPEM UK LTD. PROJECT - JOBS (N.S.)

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. I do not think it is any big secret that over the past four years relationships between this Liberal Government, and management and labour in the construction industry has steadily been going downhill. In fact, the Nova Scotia construction industry tells us that no contact between them and this Liberal Government was made relative to the agreements being signed in regard to the Sable project. No contact whatsoever.

I have a document here that I will table whereby the Sable Offshore Energy Project proponents have awarded an $85,000 contract to SAIPEM UK Ltd. and it is a pre-sanctioned contract. It includes engineering, project management services and installation methodology. Also, included in this contract is the option of a contract to the United Kingdom company, a possible contract for $69 million, they have the option. I ask the Minister of Natural Resources who tells us, she gives us assurances, no guarantees but she tells us that 4,000 jobs

[Page 1469]

for Nova Scotians will be created as a result of the Sable gas project, I ask the minister how many Nova Scotians will be working on the SAIPEM UK Ltd. project?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is being very selective in what he is bringing forward here before the House of Assembly. I have tabled and discussed on a number of occasions the numbers of benefits, jobs and contracts that have been available and made available to Nova Scotians and Nova Scotian companies. I want to also mention that prior to any approvals, prior to any sanctions by the proponents of the Sable Offshore Energy Project and the pipeline proponents over $10 million worth of contracts have been let to Nova Scotia companies. Nova Scotia companies are preparing very well for this, we are encouraging them, we are working with them, the offshore energy office is pointing out opportunities for Nova Scotia companies for individuals and there are a number of people already working on this project.

For that member opposite to choose one particular contract which, in fact, is a contract dealing with a large portion of a large brig and a large contract on some part of the project that does not have the expertise here in Nova Scotia, is patently unfair and misinforming the public here in Nova Scotia. Everyone who is involved in this project is under the Offshore Accord, guaranteed Nova Scotia content, and we are making sure that is happening.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, after all that fiddle-faddle I think we know that Nova Scotians are not going to get a piece of this offshore project. There is not one Nova Scotian in this $70 million contract and I will table this release for the benefit of the House. Again, I go to the Minister of Natural Resources and ask her what guarantees are in place for Nova Scotians relative to the Sable Offshore Energy Project?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think that I have just given the member opposite the very fact that under the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Accord Act, Nova Scotians are guaranteed work on this project. Also, this government has worked very closely with the proponents, we have worked very closely with Nova Scotia companies and engineering groups to make sure they have opportunities. The companies have broken down their contracts to subcontracts to make sure Nova Scotians have opportunities. Nova Scotians are now getting opportunities, we are working very closely with them, we have taken them on missions to meet with the proponents to make sure they are aware of the opportunities that are available under contract alliancing.

Right now as we speak, right across the harbour here, M & M Industry has a contract for $13 million to refit two rigs right here across the harbour. By Christmas of 1998 you will see two of the biggest Christmas trees in Nova Scotia right across the harbour, Nova Scotia companies building and working on this project. (Applause)

[Page 1470]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I am talking about a contract going to the United Kingdom. I am not talking about two big Christmas trees possibly sitting in the harbour, we hope, before Christmas. I have to ask the Minister of Natural Resources who is working so hard to protect Nova Scotians' interests in this project, who has guaranteed Nova Scotians that they will have a job, I am asking the minister how many Nova Scotia companies bid on this tender, this $70 million project? Why couldn't one of them have received it?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, any Nova Scotia company that has the expertise, has the personnel available in any of the opportunities . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: How many?

MRS. NORRIE: I am telling the member opposite. I am answering his question, Mr. Speaker. I am going to say here and now, right now, in Houston, Texas, there is an offshore technology conference going on and as Minister of Natural Resources for Nova Scotia, I worked very hard to make sure that we have over 30 people and companies from Nova Scotia in Houston, Texas, to meet with all of the companies that are involved in this project, who are involved in offshore projects around the world, so that Nova Scotia companies have an opportunity to meet with them one on one. The members opposite know very well that that is happening because this week I was supposed to be in Houston, Texas, to attend that conference. Premier John Savage has gone in place of the minister so that I could stay here and attend to my duties to make sure we get the Gas Distribution Act through this House of Assembly so that Nova Scotians can have gas when gas is available.

For the member opposite to stand on his feet and make any further accusations is totally inappropriate (Interruptions) If you will allow me to answer. Nova Scotia companies are now getting work; Nova Scotia individuals are now working on that project long before even the approvals or the sanction has taken place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

EDUC.: FUND. REVIEW WORK GRP. REPORT - IMPLEMENTATION

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Culture. The minister referenced in this House his eagerness in moving forward with many of the latest recommendations of the Education Funding Review Work Group Report. I wish to confirm with the minister which recommendations he has approved - all of them, some of them - any of them or are they just under consideration?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we have accepted that report and proceeded on some of those recommendations and are working our way through others.

[Page 1471]

MR. ARCHIBALD: I have a copy of that report and some of the recommendations. One of the recommendations, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister again, that is key to how our teachers are able to perform their role as educators to the future leaders and workforce of the province is to have the necessary support and funding to deal with the government's decision to mainstream students of all abilities.

The review group states that although they received a slight increase in the amount per funded student, it is insufficient to address the needs. Much more support must be committed in the future. What is the minister's response to a key and critical issue addressed responsibly by this funding review group?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we have not only increased money for special education but we have increased the global budgets of the school boards of this province.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, Mr. Speaker, it doesn't rest very well with me or anybody else. The minister can say, I did a good job and we gave everybody more money when, in fact, he knows full well that he has not compensated the schools adequately enough. In 1995-96, the school boards got $30 million for special education, it cost $54 million. The school boards had to find the other $25 million on their own. The recommendation from the special task force indicated that, "The special education grant for 1997-98 be the product of the school board's actual eligible enrolment at all levels as of September 30, 1996, and a monetary rate . . . which represents an increase of $5 million.".

Now, Mr. Speaker, the school boards were short $25 million, they are asking for an increase of $5 million for the next few years. Would the minister indicate what he and his government have in the plans for next year? The minister has indicated that he is in favour of streamlining and keeping everybody in school regardless of ability. Now it is time for the minister to indicate whether his government is willing to pay for their policy or whether they are not going to pay and youngsters right across the province are going to continue to suffer as they are suffering at the hands of this government and the lack of funding that it is providing for the special needs children.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I will remind the member opposite that I am the only minister in the country that can stand on his feet, unfortunately, and say that in this province we spend twice as much on debt service as we do educating all of our children. It is a shame for that member opposite who was Chairman of the Management Board for 14 months, from February 1992 to April 1993, to stand up here, when we are putting money into education, when we are adding to the amount of resources that boards have to build inclusive schools, for him to stand on his feet, as former Chairman of the Management Board, I would love for him to table the amount of debt that increased between February 1992 and April 1993, and I will go and tell those parents why we have less money that we would love to put into special education, but more than they ever thought of putting in. (Applause)

[Page 1472]

[3:15 p.m.]

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

JUSTICE - INSTITUTIONS:

ABUSE COMPENSATION - FILES (RG-72) ACCESS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you to the Minister of Justice. During the debate of the minister's estimates, I asked the minister a number of very specific questions. For example, I asked the minister if any information was discovered, if any information was available, and in the control and so on of government, that may be of assistance to anybody who has a claim against the government for institutional abuse, if that information would be provided and made available automatically to either the claimant and/or their lawyer?

In response to my questions, the minister, on the floor of this House, said, yes, Mr. Chairman, the answer is yes to that. There is no question, that is correct. My question to the minister is quite simply this, is that still the policy of this government and, if not, when did it change its policy?

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, there are several parts to that question. If we are talking about a court action, where a claimant has started court action against the government in this respect, then we have an obligation to disclose to the other party any information which is pertinent to him and any information which we have an obligation to disclose in the matter of litigation. We have always undertaken to do that and that continues to be our policy and our obligation. Any information that we have within our control, we would disclose in the ordinary course.

MR. HOLM: I hear the minister using some weasel words here, trying to squirm away, that he didn't offer during the estimates debate, Mr. Speaker, because this government has a moral obligation as well as a legal obligation. This government said that that ADR process was intended to try to heal and that the government was going to be cooperative and so on in that whole process. Now, the minister, in his answer today, is implying a totally different one than he provided in the past.

Mr. Speaker, I will come to the RG-72 files. These are Community Services files that have been in the government's possession. They knew about them; they had been reviewed by the IIU, the internal investigative unit for the government, for the minister. Also, I might add that they were made available only after a court order, yet the minister or the government required that those lawyers who were looking at them to sign an agreement that said they could not use any information in those files to assist their client to seek fair and just compensation, except for that one individual case that the court order applied to.

[Page 1473]

I want to ask the minister this question. Why is this government and this minister trying to thwart justice, to impede justice, rather than ensuring that justice and fairness is accomplished, by making access to all those files readily available to the lawyers of those who have claims against government for the abuse that they suffered while in the custody of government?

MR. MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, it is very important to know in what context the honourable member is asking the question. When he is asking the question in regard to the ADR process, then that is another matter and perhaps I can deal with that.

First I would like to deal a little bit with the so-called secret files that there has been a fair amount of controversy about. I guess the suggestion is that the government has hidden secret files in the Public Archives.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not a great place.

MR. MITCHELL: Not a great place. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for everybody to realize that the Public Archives, since 1989, has had available a list of all the documents and the files that are in those files which anybody can go to the Public Archives and look at. The other thing I think it is important to realize is that of those 182 boxes of material, only a very small part of them pertain to the case of the victims of abuse. Some of them contain things like the Speech from the Throne for 1969 and press releases for a number of years. Some contain information that is very private, for example, adoption records, perhaps, or records pertaining to applications for social assistance, all sorts of matters over a very large period of time. Some of the files do contain materials which pertain to Shelburne and the possibility that it might be pertinent for the victims of abuse.

Mr. Speaker, when these files, it should be pointed out, were under the control of the Department of Community Services, they consented to them being released. When our department became aware of that, our internal investigation unit went through that and had a very thorough examination of that. Any information which we found, which we believed to be pertinent, was disclosed; in the case of the action that was before the courts, was disclosed to this list on that basis. He had that information.

Perhaps I should just switch and talk a little bit about the ADR process. I think there is a misunderstanding as to how that works and the obligation of the Crown, in this case, as far as disclosing information. My understanding of the way this works is if someone has a claim, then they file their claim. They go and they give a statement. The statement then goes to the internal investigation unit, which has an obligation to look at that and to investigate that and, from that, they make an offer. When they make the offer, they supply all the information and documentation they have in their control, which may be relevant to that particular offer. The big distinction, which is important, is that if you go to court, you have to prove your

[Page 1474]

claim. If you don't prove your claim, you lose. In this case, you submit your claim and it is the obligation of us to look at that and respond to it and make an offer.

In the case of the RG-72 documents, the application was made by the lawyer for the case that is before the court. We agreed to that by consenting to an order. There was no court order, application to the court that forced us to do this. We agreed to it and we consented to an order that the lawyer could go in and he could examine those files if he wished to, for that particular case. He wanted some help and so he asked some of his other lawyers to help him and we said, okay. But they were going there for the purposes of looking for material for that particular case.

Then they say, well, we want to be able to use that information for the cases that we may have. We are saying, okay. We are prepared to go to that extent as well. We want to see this matter brought to a successful conclusion. We want to see the people who have been the victims of abuse properly compensated. We are prepared to do whatever we can do to make sure that this process is successfully completed and those who are entitled to compensation receive it. (Applause)

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that what we want is what the government says that they want at the very end of their statement. The answer is really, therefore, very simple. The question is also, therefore, very simple. The minister had said that his staff, his people, had been through all those files and that they picked and chose. They went through it and what they thought was relevant to an individual claimant or to their case, that that would be made available. His people decided that.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, if you want to expedite the process, if you want to ensure that it is not only fair, but it is seen to be fair, will the minister guarantee that any and all files that deal with persons who were in one of the government institutions where these individuals are making a claim against the government, that either they and/or their legal solicitors have free and open access to any information that the government has on file and will the minister guarantee that that information will be available to them at their request?

MR. MITCHELL: There are two parts to that question, Mr. Speaker. The first thing, he made reference to us going through the information and disclosing what we thought was relevant. I think it is very important to understand in the obligation of the Crown to disclose, that we have an obligation to do that. It would not meet the test that we have to disclose to simply say to a claimant in a court action, there are 182 boxes of material down there. In those boxes is probably some of the information you require. You can look at it, good luck in finding it. If we know that there is information that is pertinent to that court case, we have an obligation to say, here is the information which is pertinent that we are able to supply to you. In this case, the particular solicitor said, well, thank you very much but I would kind of like to look myself and we said, okay.

[Page 1475]

The other question is that there is no way that we want to stand in the way of anybody having full access to information which is pertinent to them in furthering this process but it is very important to understand that there is a large group of files there, most of them are not relevant, many of them deal with very private matters and there has to be a process that has to be gone through for the protection of the public and other reasons but we are not going to stand in the way of solicitors having an opportunity to examine those files, if they wish to see if there is information that is pertinent to their clients that they have a claim to put forward.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - DAY CARE: SPACES - VARIATION

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Community Services. Yesterday's press release announcing 50 new subsidized day care spaces states, "The minister's allocation of the new subsidized spaces closely follows the recommendations of the Nova Scotia Round Table on Day Care.". I wonder if the minister could indicate what changes he made to the final list that were not included in the recommendations made by the round table?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member that the Round Table on Day Care made the recommendations of how the 50 spaces would be allocated. If there is a variation, it would be very small. I don't have the detail of what it is. I haven't heard from any of the members of the round table that it went outside the realm of what they recommended but I will get, within the next 15 minutes, the very particular answer, if there is a variation, for the honourable member.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. So I take it from that, then, you are prepared to table in the House the recommendations put forward by the round table but also the reasons for the changes that were made to this list that were drawn up by the round table people?

MR. MACEACHERN: I think I agree.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Community Services. I wonder if the minister would table in the House the allocation of the 200 subsidized spaces referenced in his press release along with the specific times when these spaces were actually opened in the day care centres awarded these spaces?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member I can have that for him. I don't know if I can get it for 15 minutes but I think it can get it before the afternoon is out. I actually sat with the round table group and I, with my staff, reviewed the allocation

[Page 1476]

of the 200 so it is available but I don't know if I can get it in the next half hour. I will have it for sure before tomorrow for him.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: SHEET HBR. - TERMINAL

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. I would ask perhaps the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism but he is not here today and I believe that it does come under Transportation and Public Works. To the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, Senator William Orr, who is chairman of the federal election campaign and the lawyer for Ceres, has secured a very good deal for Ceres. The dock in Sheet Harbour has been signed over to Ceres. Halifax Offshore had discussions, and they were the operators previously of the wharf, they had discussions for over two years regarding the Sheet Harbour dock with officials of the government. They had been assured they could operate at Sheet Harbour regardless of who the owner was. When asked about this on April 16th, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism indicated that the company wasn't interested because they did not submit a proposal to the government.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is why would an organization that had been assured that they continue to operate down there, even after somebody else is operating, why should they submit a proposal when, in fact, they had been given assurance that they didn't need to because in the future they could continue to operate there?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the member's question. He is accurate that in fact it is part of the responsibility of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in regard to those discussions. I really am not at liberty to be able to answer the question. I will try to find the answer for the member opposite and report back at a later date.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. ARCHIBALD: Never mind then, Mr. Speaker. Who does the Speaker suggest I direct my supplementary question to? The minister does not want to answer. Is there an acting minister today? (Interruptions)

I will go back to the Minister of Supply and Services. This year the Sheet Harbour dock brought in $100,000 in operating. The new contracts for wood chips that they have signed indicate that the wharf will be bringing in $1 million of revenue this year. Perhaps the minister could indicate why on the eve of success, did the province choose to give away the wharf to Ceres Corporation? Perhaps it was because Wilfred Moore was their lawyer. Perhaps it was

[Page 1477]

because Ceres was from New Jersey. Could the minister indicate why, on the eve of success and a $1 million payroll, why did the government decide to give it away?

MR. DOWNE: Just to inform the member again that the responsibility is not Supply and Services, that, in fact, Public Works does have some responsibility in regard to Sheet Harbour, but the economic opportunities that are dealt with in regard to most of the ports are always under the responsibility of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. I would ask the Acting Minister of Economic Development and Tourism to please respond to the appropriate question.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: The honourable member asked that question in this House some weeks ago, the precise question. The Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, I am going to try to remember his answer exactly. It was freely tendered. The project was tendered. They won the tender and they are proceeding. If the honourable member is suggesting that we somehow interrupt, interfere with and stop the tender and give it to someone who has not tendered it, as they used to do, we are not going to do that.

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

COMMUN. SERV.: SMALL OPTIONS HOMES - LEGISLATION

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: My question goes to the Minister of Community Services. It has been over two years since the department released discussion papers on the de-institutionalization and community residential services for adults. Can the minister indicate when the standards will be adopted and legislation introduced regarding facilities for persons with mental disabilities and/or handicaps?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: I can tell the honourable member that we have done a consistent - across the last two years - upgrade of what is happening in our residences for people with developmental difficulties. If he is looking for a piece of paper, I can give him reports on our progress up to this time. I can give him any kind of papers he would like, to indicate where we have come from and that is very important in the discussion from the honourable member of the Progressive Conservative Party. Where we have come from is significant because where we arrive when the former Minister of Community Services received this responsibility and where we are now, I can tell you, I can give you the upgrade and report. I will suggest the honourable member will be very pleased where we have come and a little bit embarrassed of where we had to come from.

MR. MACLEOD: I can tell the Minister of Community Services that I would never be embarrassed where I came from and he should not be embarrassed where he came from.

[Page 1478]

My second question to him is that there are clearly more people looking for community-based residential options than there are spaces available. Could the minister tell us approximately how many Nova Scotians are waiting for a community residential placement? Could you indicate the process for determining how these placements are made?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the precise number on any particular waiting list but I will get it for the honourable member if such a thing exists. I don't know if there is such a thing as a waiting list but, if there is, I would be pleased to provide it to the honourable member. I will also give him the very detailed precision of if a vacancy occurs, how it is filled. I will provide that to the honourable member without hesitancy.

MR. MACLEOD: I wonder if the Minister of Community Services could tell us how the government can freeze the number of new small options homes and, at the same time, pursue deinstitutionalization. Specifically, what community-based services have been expanded to allow for this deinstitutionalization and provide for reintegration into the community? Could you table the information, indicating the programs and services that have been expanded while this has taken place?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I would be honoured to do that. If I could take a moment to tell you that the small options moratorium has not stopped the deinstitutionalization. Mary's Hill, for example, while we stand here the village of Mabou is, in fact, building a small options facility for some of the residents who have been in Mabou all of their lives. We have postponed the closure of Mary's Hill to allow the building of that small options. It is being built by the Municipality of Inverness. We have committed to do that, in fact that is happening while we are here.

Likewise, we have spoken to Warden Ed MacDonald about a possible second small options, in case some of the other people in Mary's Hill want to stay in Mabou, so that is being considered.

As we stand here, in terms of Sydney, there is a program in place to build small options facilities. Community-based options facilities is what they call them, Mr. Speaker, for those people who are being deinstitutionalized. That is a fact, we are doing it right now.

There are some of the people who are located in the CTC in Sydney who had very heavy care, Mr. Speaker, and we have to build a very particular type of facility to do that and we are in the process of doing it. We have delayed the closure of the CTC in Sydney until such time as that is ready.

Likewise, I can tell the honourable member, some of the deinstitutionalized situations, especially from the CTCs, have brought people into the schools. I can tell you the present honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, who was the former Minister of Community Services, was very careful in doing that, made arrangements with the Department

[Page 1479]

of Education and Culture to allow additional monies for that transition. That was done and we are very pleased with that.

I will provide the honourable member with all the details of that process and I would be pleased to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - HRM SCHOOL BOARD: TEACHERS - REDUCTION

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The members of this House know that this year's budget for education shows an increase of $13 million. The Halifax Regional School Board, by virtue of its size, would probably receive at least one-third of that increased funding. I would like to ask the Minister of Education why it is that at a regional school board meeting tonight the board's budget committee will consider the prospect of cutting 93 positions for the coming school year?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I assume the member opposite is referring to the draft budget of last week, which laid out a variety of options to bring in a balanced budget, one of which was the reduction of teaching positions.

MS. O'CONNELL: Well, Mr. Speaker, this government's Speech from the Throne, as we all recall, commits the government to a program to reduce class sizes in Nova Scotia, starting next year. Yet this year, with more money available, class sizes will clearly be larger in Halifax. The question is, how many millions will it take next year to bring class sizes back down to this year's level, so that the minister can get on with his initiative of lowering class sizes?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I assume, because she didn't answer my question, that what she was referring to was last week's draft budget, which contained a variety of options for bringing in a balanced budget here in metro. It is my understanding, and we have worked with the board, to try and look at problems and solutions confronted by them in terms of the overall budget to try to minimize and perhaps even eliminate staff reductions and solve problems as primary day equity and so on. Again, I think we are talking about a hypothetical decision tonight, or a decision tonight based on information that is perhaps four or five days old. I would simply advise the member opposite to wait until the board actually tables, for consideration tonight, steps it plans to take to balance its budget.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that all along the minister has been trying to convince the Opposition that less is more and now we are finding out that the opposite is true, and more is less. When will the minister admit he has had it all wrong here?

[Page 1480]

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that more is more, and that what we have here is the fact that the province has managed to not only balance its budget but find additional dollars to put into education at a minimum $13 million, of which a large portion goes to the metro area because of its size. The fact is I think the member opposite would be well advised to wait until the board's meeting tonight before we have a debate about what they might or might not do or say.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

JUSTICE - INSTITUTIONS:

ABUSE COMPENSATION - FILES (RG-72) ACCESS

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice, the Attorney General. The Minister of Justice was asked a question, while I was out of the House momentarily by the member for Sackville-Cobequid in relation to the files in RG-72. I understand there is one lawyer who has been given permission to go through the files to see if there is any pertinent matter to the case that he is handling for a certain client. Other lawyers were also told that they could go through the files; however, they were subject to certain restrictions. I was wondering, could the minister inform me what are these restrictions preventing the other lawyers from looking through the files?

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, I will try to give the short answer. These files contain a lot of private information that pertains to matters other than the court action which is before the courts now; in fact, only a very small portion of that information in those 172 boxes is relevant to the court action which is before the courts. We have an obligation to protect the privacy of people that these files affect. We also have an obligation to disclose any matters that are relevant in the litigation matter. There is one case, to the best of my knowledge, now that is before the courts and this involves one plaintiff. We have an obligation to disclose information to that plaintiff or his lawyer.

We believe that we have fulfilled that obligation because we went through all of that information and had a very careful look at it. We picked out all the information which we thought was relevant and have disclosed that to the lawyer. The lawyer for that particular claimant was not satisfied with that and he wanted to have a chance to go through all that information himself; that is his right. We agreed to that and we signed a consent order giving him the right to do that.

A time was set up for him to go in and view the information and we made people available to be with him and to copy it and all of these sort of things. He wanted some help and asked to have some friends come in and assist him and we agreed. We said yes, but the purpose was to assist that particular lawyer to view the files to see whether there are files relevant to his particular court case and that was the restriction put on it.

[Page 1481]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I certainly thank the Minister of Justice for that very short answer. Actually, I heard that answer when I came back in and I couldn't believe my ears and that is why I asked for a Reader's Digest version of his answer. I got the full answer; yes, indeed. The thing is the minister's staff went through the files and supposedly took out the information for this particular (Interruption) Well I am sorry but that is what I have been told and that is what was reported.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. RUSSELL: In fact, he just told me that they did. The thing is this lawyer, whatever his name was, I don't know what his name is, he goes in and the first box he opens he finds a document that is of value to him. Surely to goodness, in fairness to those other solicitors who are handling files for the several hundred, I think there are still a thousand cases out there, Mr. Speaker, those lawyers should have equal access to go through those file boxes to determine if indeed there is evidence in there that is going to be of substantial help with them in preparing a case to take to the Minister of Justice to get compensation for their particular clients. Would the minister agree that fairness would dictate that they should have a go at them?

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, the information that we thought was relevant was copied and supplied to the solicitor for this particular case. It is still there for him to look at. He claims he found other information which is relevant; maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Time will tell on that.

I guess I would like to go back and just talk a little bit about the ADR process because I think it is very relevant, Mr. Speaker. If they go outside the ADR process and sue the province, then they have to prove their case. They have to go to court. They have to have the evidence which they can show to the court and justify they do, in fact, have a case. If they don't do that, the case is thrown out. The alternative dispute resolution process was an alternative to the court process so they did not have to go through the rigours of cross-examination and do it in a faster, easier way. They do not have to present documentation to prove their case. They submit a claim. They say, this is how I was injured and this is what I am seeking compensation for.

The obligation then goes to the Crown to examine that and to investigate it to see whether, in fact, there is a claim and then to make an offer and respond to that and give them the information they may require in order to respond to any offer that we make. Ordinarily, there was not the requirement for that information to be given to the lawyer. In this case, they want to see it. We are not going to stand in their way and say they cannot see it. We will find a procedure that is going to protect the interests of people who may have information in those files that are not pertinent to this, but we will make sure that everybody who has an interest

[Page 1482]

in these files, has a client who is making a claim, will have an opportunity to examine this. We will make sure that everybody, as I said before, who has a claim, can make that claim and if they are entitled to compensation, can receive the compensation they are entitled to.

MR. RUSSELL: I wish them luck because, quite honestly, it appears to the public, and it certainly appears to the victims of abuse, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Justice is putting impediments in the path of these people who are trying to get a claim. The minister himself has admitted in the House that this is going to be a two year process. He is asking for people to suffer further abuse, I would suggest, by the way in which this case has been handled. In fact, I like the way that the former Minister of Justice was handling it more than the way this Minister of Justice is handling it.

Will the Minister of Justice bring back Justice Stratton to take a look at this process and to try to develop some system that will settle these claims fairly and rapidly?

MR. MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, we have had several looks at this. Mr. Justice Stratton has had a very detailed look at this. We know what the problem is. What we have to do now is to make sure that we bring this to a conclusion as rapidly as we can to make sure that people who are entitled to compensation receive it. We are doing that. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - REG. BD. (WEST.): HIRING - POLICY

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. I am sure the Minister of Health has had some correspondence, and probably talked to his colleagues from Lunenburg, about the significant upset in the community over a recent hiring decision by the Western Regional Health Board. I am referring to a position that I am sure he is aware of, and that is program manager of Addiction Services. Agencies and communities throughout, I am sure, Lunenburg and around are questioning the irregular hiring process that threatens, I believe, a community-based program. The minister I know has been made aware of the community-based concerns of the community and I am wondering if the minister has appealed to the regional board to revisit that decision to not hire somebody with experience in community-based programs and go with somebody that has not the experience of community-based programs in drug dependency.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: As the honorable member knows, this budget year, those programs in drug dependency were devolved to the regional health boards and they have assumed full operational responsibilities for them. In doing that I might say that the Department of Health indicated that the funding for those programs would be non-portable. In other words, none of the funding that is attached to those programs as they devolved to the regional health boards this year could be redirected to other programs. In fact, we felt in a year that was bound to have some transition challenges attached to it that we would at least

[Page 1483]

assure that funding would be available as it existed in the previous fiscal year, at least in that amount, if the regional health board sought to add more, then of course they were free to do so.

The particular circumstance that the honourable member brings to the attention of the House is one that has been raised with me both by the member for Lunenburg West and the member for Lunenburg who have drawn it to my attention and it is one in which I have indicated to them and I indicate to the honourable member that I will attempt to become more familiar with in a detailed way with the proviso that we cannot usurp the responsibilities of the regional health boards in discharging their sphere of jurisdiction.

MR. MOODY: Thank you very much and I thank the minister for saying that he will look into the matter. I understand the person that was hired has no clinical experience, in fact, did not meet the basic requirements. I think what the minister is beginning to understand, if this person has a great reputation that did not get the job in community-based programs and I know from listening to the minister that he supports community-based programs and there is a great concern that if a process took place whereby, I believe, the panel that was doing the interviews disbanded before the scores were recorded and did not do reference checks on everybody. I know what the minister is saying about giving this group the authority, but I am hoping that he would make sure that this group goes down the same road of community-based programs that I believe he says he wants to do and his government wants to do. If this western health board is hiring somebody else who is going in a different direction or may go in a different direction that he would have some concern.

I am wondering, given the undertaking that he has given and I appreciate that, what kind of a time-frame would the minister be talking in having a look at what transpired and having a look to follow up this particular issue?

MR. BOUDREAU: I have indicated to members from Lunenburg and I will indicate to the honourable member that partly dependent upon the schedule of the House and the requirement for me to be here in the House, perhaps as early as next week, I may be able to arrange some meetings so that I may better inform myself.

MR. MOODY: I thank the minister again and I thank him for that commitment. That is a reasonable time-frame and I do not have any difficulty with that. I know that both members from Lunenburg appreciate the kind of excellent community-based program that was run by this program manager and I think it would bear well if all the western regions could have this kind of community-based program that I believe was second to none in the province and I am sure the members have already indicated that to you.

I am wondering if the minister, in checking, if he finds that there is some reason to have that whole process reviewed, that he will require the community health board to take some action. In other words, he controls the funding; the funding as he said, is for a particular

[Page 1484]

reason, if he believes in community-based programs, it is to be directed, at least in the coming year for community-based programs. I am wondering if the minister would give the commitment of that undertaking? I appreciate the time-frame as he undertakes his review.

MR. BOUDREAU: I think we have to be concerned that any decision of any regional health board in any area of their responsibility has to follow provincial guidelines, standards and policies. Many of those policies, by the way, are vetted and indeed reached through what has now come to be the Provincial Advisory Council which involves the Minister of Health, the Deputy Minister and the Chairman of the Board and CEO of all the regional health boards and the non-designated organizations, what I refer to fondly as the Gang of Nine institutions. We have to ensure, that is part of our responsibility, to see that those programs follow those guidelines and policies.

As well, we have some responsibility, and I recognize this, to ensure that due process is followed. That doesn't mean that we can always ensure every decision is the same decision we would have made if it were our responsibility to make that decision. I know the member understands that and within those parameters, I am certain that we will address his concerns in the very near future.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: On an introduction, Mr. Speaker. It is Question Period, so I will be brief. I would like to introduce to all members of this House a guest in the west gallery. We are joined this afternoon by a councillor from Halifax Regional Municipality, HRM, Mr. Robert Harvey, from District 20. Bob, of course, is one of those very hard-working, dedicated councillors who is showing the leadership in taking responsibilities as the municipality is trying to grapple with the very substantive difficulties that they have, certainly, in funding as they go through the budgetary process. I would like to ask Bob, who is here visiting us today to see how we conduct our business, to rise and receive the very warm welcome of all members of this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM: PROMOTION (TOURISM) - INCREASE

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question was to go to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, but I understand the Minister of Community Services is the acting minister and he may be able to answer my question, but, if not, I will have it on the record anyway.

Mr. Speaker, concerns are being expressed by the two major players in Nova Scotia's tourism industry and those being TIANS and also the Air Access Committee of the Hotel Association of Nova Scotia. They believe that Nova Scotia must do a better job of marketing

[Page 1485]

Nova Scotia and that we are not doing enough. New Brunswick had a major flyer in the Chronicle-Herald the other day. I had it here. I don't have it to hold up, but it was a tremendous article and I had tourism people at home saying to me, what are we doing in Nova Scotia to promote tourism? Could the minister tell me what is he doing or what is he going to do about these concerns of these two major players in the tourism industry?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I will try to respond on behalf of my good friend, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. He, at the present time, I don't know if the honourable member knows, is over in England with the launching of the Matthew, representing Nova Scotia. He took with him Natalie MacMaster and the tourism people here. It is a significant event. What is happening, of course, is we in Cape Breton have a significant debate with the people from Newfoundland about where the Matthew landed and where John Cabot landed. He is doing that at the present time. My understanding is that after that is he is talking to the business community, both in England and in Ireland, to talk about bringing business here as well.

So the promotion is there, Mr. Speaker, and I can go further than that. I flew down from Sydney on Monday and inside every Air Nova and Air Canada plane in the region, there is a brochure about Nova Scotia; each and every one of them. In fact I think the number of copies is 80,000 that have been circulated around the country.

[4:00 p.m.]

We also have another brochure that we circulate to educators and it is travelling across the country. Who is paying for it? The people of Nova Scotia are paying for it but it is returning itself over and over in tourism. It is growing and growing. I want to suggest to you (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, I must have hit a chord here because I have to tell you that in terms of the reputation of Nova Scotia as a place to arrive, it is growing and growing. For example, in terms of Louisiana the honourable Minister responsible for Acadian Affairs has just come back from Louisiana and we are getting significant connections between Grand Pre, and the honourable member would know, for example, that the apple industry is now going to start exporting apples from Nova Scotia, from Grand Pre, down to Louisiana.

The honourable member is right. There is more to do and we are continuing to do it and I welcome the involvement of TIANS and I will bring it directly to my good friend.

MR. MCINNES: I hesitated in asking the question but anyway. There is no doubt the Department of Tourism is doing promotion and I did not say they were not doing any promotion. I know there is a lot of good promotion but we have to do more because tourism is a $1 billion industry in this province.

AN HON. MEMBER: And we are losing our market share.

[Page 1486]

MR. MCINNES: We are not doing as well as P.E.I. and New Brunswick and I think that we have to keep at it. Will the minister provide for me . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: He will not even listen.

MR. MCINNES: He does not want to listen, either. Will the minister provide for me the total amount of dollars being used for promotion in general across the area? The minister did last week table with me all the advertisements, all the papers and whatever, and it was a big list, I will tell you. He still did not tell me the exact amount of dollars that we are putting into advertising. Would the minister do that?

MR. MACEACHERN: I can tell the honourable member that we not only can provide him with what we spend, but what we spend in partnership with other agencies. We are joining with many other agencies to do things, private sector and not-for-profit organizations, to advertise Nova Scotia. In fact, I can tell the honourable member and coming from Pictou County I think he would appreciate this from his hobby, one of the things they are working with is the Canadian Golfing Association, for example, to promote golfing in Nova Scotia, which is a new effort that our tourism people are working on. I can tell you that this again is expanding. We can do more and we will do more and we will get better and better at this.

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

FIN. - HFX.-DART. BRIDGE COMM.: EXPANSION - FUNDING

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Finance. It has to do with the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission which comes under the minister's responsibility. As you and other members of the House may know, the Bridge Commission is undertaking a project to expand the capacity of the Macdonald Bridge. They have asked, and received agreement from Cabinet, for, I believe, $3 million, maybe $5 million, I am not quite sure.

My point, though, to the minister in asking him the question is, does the Minister of Finance as the custodian of this money, believe that this is, in fact, a wise expenditure of Nova Scotia resources?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: I think the premise may be wrong for the honourable member. The Bridge Commission did not ask the government, the Department of Finance, for $3 million. Apparently the Bridge Commission has that and I assume that the honourable member has asked the Bridge Commission, which is a commission; it has a chairman and members representing, in part, Cabinet, government Order in Council appointees plus representatives from the local municipality. No, the province has not given $3 million or some other number he used.

[Page 1487]

MR. CHISHOLM: Clearly, the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission is under the responsibility of the Province of Nova Scotia and the expenditure of this money has to be approved by Cabinet. I would like to ask the minister - and there was a letter in the newspaper today by a former Mayor of Dartmouth, Joe Zatzman, where he raised some concerns that the cost of this third lane would be in the area of $60 million and could clearly end up costing current bridge users much more money and for a longer period of time - I would like to ask the Minister of Finance, has the government satisfied itself that this project can be carried out without either damaging the viability of the Bridge Commission or forcing considerably higher tolls on users?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, again the honourable member seems to be using numbers other than those of the Bridge Commission, which is charged with operating the bridges. The number used by the Bridge Commission for the reconstruction of the deck and expansion is $51 million and not some other number. The Bridge Commission is on record as saying that they can carry out the project without increasing the toll costs for the foreseeable future.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I guess the response from the Minister of Finance perhaps underlines a bit of the problem that we have here and that is the lack of accountability of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission. Many people have suggested that the Commission is, in effect, out of control. The plan that they have right now for the expansion of the bridge has been developed almost in complete isolation of the regional traffic plan. I would like to ask the minister once again, given the significant problems that the Commission has had over the years, given the fact that it is in effect not accountable to anyone, will the minister agree to enter into discussions with the Halifax Regional Municipality with the view to making the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission a part of the Halifax Regional Municipality?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, it may be that there is some misunderstanding and maybe the honourable member needs more information in terms of accountability and responsibility. There is a nine person commission and four members of that commission are members of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Jerry Blumenthal is a commissioner; Graham Downey is a commissioner; Ron Cooper is a commissioner; and Clint Schofield; so there is involvement and I rest my case.

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

FISH.: CONCERNED FISHERMEN'S ASSOC. (CANSO) - MIN. MEET

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy House Leader has told me that the Acting Minister of Fisheries is the Minister of the Environment, so I would like to direct my question to the Acting Minister of Fisheries.

[Page 1488]

The minister may be aware that the former trawlermen in Canso and area have formed a group called the Concerned Fishermen's Association. These unemployed Nova Scotians have completely and solidly rejected your federal counterpart, Fisheries Minister Mifflin, his plan relative to TAGS and Employment Insurance. I believe that the Minister of Fisheries - not to be confused with the Acting Minister of Fisheries - has been contacted by the local MLA for the area relative to going to Canso and meeting with this group, this group that wants to go back to work. I wonder if the Acting Minister of Fisheries is aware of this concern, and is he aware as to whether or not the Minister of Fisheries is prepared to go to Canso and meet with the trawlermen?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I can definitely say that our Minister of Fisheries - not acting, but the full-time one - never shies away from consulting with the fishing industry, whether they be fishers or ministers of equal importance in Ottawa. I would answer the question by saying, yes, I am sure that the Minister of Fisheries will be aggressive in that area.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Acting Minister for that response. Again, I want to emphasize to the Acting Minister of Fisheries, so he can convey the message to the Minister of Fisheries, that the group, the unemployed Canso trawlermen, these men want to fish. They don't want employment insurance, they don't want welfare. They want to go back to work. To my understanding, to the best of my knowledge, Seafreez has allocated their quota to other jurisdictions. The changes to the Employment Insurance Act, yes, the qualification standards have been lowered, if you will, to 420 hours, but that means that those trawlermen will only be able to receive up to four months of employment insurance. They don't want that; they want to go back to work. Thank you.

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

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS. - BIRCH GROVE (C.B. WEST):

SEWER PROJECT - FUNDING

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. I am sure that the minister is aware that earlier in this session I tabled a petition by the people of Birch Grove concerning the sewer problems they were having in their area and I have also had some correspondence with the minister's office. The question I have for the minister is this.

The group of people who represent the Birch Grove area met earlier today with the MP for that area. He was willing to commit $680,000 to this project as the federal part of the funding. My question to the minister, is he ready and willing to match his counterpart's commitment to this project and put up the province's share of that money?

[Page 1489]

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the question is a bit odd. I don't know if he is referring to a private partnership. Otherwise this would be - as the member would know, the projects are nominated by the municipal units so it is a most unusual way for this to proceed, through the floor of the House of Assembly. There is a priority; there needs to be a nomination. It is the three levels of government. It goes before a Management Committee and that is decided. So that would have to be in the allotment. So it is very inappropriate.

I don't know the purpose of the question today. It seems like the work would have to be done and if he can help those people work with their municipal unit, then that is the route that we will have to go. If he is just trying to please the people in his area and to act on their behalf, I commend his activity but it is not really the process, it has been well set up. The mayors and wardens, and everyone, know how this process would be working. I would suggest that the honourable member acquaint himself with the process.

MR. MACLEOD: Again to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, I would point out to him that I am quite aware of the process that takes place and I would think that the federal member from that area would be aware of the process. It was he who decided that he was going to commit the $680,000 and, therefore, I would think that the process must have been followed and that this minister should be more aware of what is going on in the area and be aware of what his federal cousins are doing in the lines of making promises to people in the communities. Yes, it is an important project and yes, I do want to see this project go ahead.

I will change gears a little bit here. In relation to another petition that was tabled earlier today, regarding the Town of Louisbourg, I wonder if the minister would consider and answer this question. Is this minister prepared to listen to the option put forth by the Town of Louisbourg Committee and consider allowing these people to have their independence again? Will he meet with these people and talk to them about their plan?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am not really going to stand here and add to some theatre. It is sort of activities like this that I guess people look at Question Period and say it is a zoo. What that member has just said about the project relating to his first question is really totally out of order and he knows that.

As far as the Louisbourg matter, that is a matter for the local people to deal with. There is a process for this. Maybe it is that the session of the House is winding down and he wants to get some brownie points for when he goes home, so he can distribute some of this in Hansard. I find this really irrelevant. There is a process to go through and the amalgamation process has taken place. Louisbourg will benefit, like all the various areas. There are needs there and they will benefit from the amalgamation. That is quite pure and simple. A proper request and will be dealt with in a proper manner.

[Page 1490]

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

HEALTH: HILLCREST NURSING HOME (TRURO) - DOWNSIZING

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question to the Minister of Health. The minister is aware that the pressure on nursing homes over the last number of years has resulted in downsizing and, in turn, downsizing has resulted in those who work in the facilities carrying increasingly heavy loads. I know the minister received correspondence from personal care workers that work at Hillcrest Manor Nursing Home in Truro.

[4:15 p.m.]

I am just wondering if the minister would be willing to meet with that group and when would be the best time for the group to meet with the minister? The Hillcrest Manor Nursing Home workers would like a meeting with the minister. They have sent you correspondence. I wonder if the minister could tell me, perhaps, because I know he is a very busy individual. They would like to meet with the minister, perhaps for an hour, sometime next week, and could the minister tell me how I could convey that message back to them regarding a possible time, date and place?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member bringing that matter to my attention here. Of course, we are a little uncertain of our schedule next week as a group. We don't know whether we will be in the House or whether the House will have finished its work. I would suggest the best thing to do, if the honourable member wants to continue his representation, he might contact the office next week, assuming that we have finished our business here in the House.

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

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member for Cape Breton West. He asked a question about day care spaces and the assignment. I would like to table that, if I could.

MR. SPEAKER: The information is tabled.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday, in Question Period, the member for Kings North asked a question about the quality of a particular company that was asked to do some financial benchmarking. By inference and comments made. . .

[Page 1491]

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. There is no reason for that minister to be trying to indicate that there is anything derogatory about my comments. I wanted to know who the company was. You would have thought that the minister responsible would have jumped up and said, this is who they are and this is why we hired them. I wasn't making any derogatory comments. That gentleman should withdraw making suggestions that I was saying anything derogatory about a company doing business in the province because I had nothing but praise for the company. They are smart enough to hoodwink this minister. They deserve our praise.

MR. HARRISON: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite rises on a point of order to clarify and to speak about a reputable Canadian firm and once again, suggests that they would hoodwink a Minister of the Crown. I ask that he withdraw those remarks because here I am about to table what is an established record of a fine Canadian company and this member opposite uses the privilege of this House to impugn motives and to, in fact, I would say, damage the reputation of that company. I ask that he withdraw those remarks. I will table the fine record of this Canadian company that has served this province, including his government, so well.

MR. SPEAKER: The information is tabled.

MR. ARCHIBALD: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker. At no time do I wish to impugn the motives or the quality of the company. The only person that I am suggesting that is less than straightforward is the Minister of Education, the previous minister, for getting us into this long, involved situation and for the minister to say, prior to any information being tabled anywhere in this Chamber, that he has found a better way to build schools. He is going down the road without any proof, without any information, other than a two page document written by the people that want to do the work. Of course, if you hired a carpenter to come to your house and you were standing there looking at your wooden steps and you said, I think I should have steps. The carpenter would say, you sure do. How soon can I build them? This is the kind of arrangement this minister has.

Mr. Speaker, this minister, in trying to suggest that I would impugn any company in Canada is wrong and the minister should not even think that. But his motives and his direction within the Department of Education, I will stand in my chair anytime and indicate to you and all members, I think that he is a less than stellar person.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, again, on the point of order. The member opposite clearly tries to escape from the use of the term hoodwink to the Minister of the Crown, a company that is a reputable Canadian firm.

Let me quote a letter from the project manager to the chair of the Restoration Committee of the Parish of St. George on the prospective clients of Hanscomb Consulting Limited, the company which he suggests would never hoodwink anyone - again I will repeat

[Page 1492]

my demand that he withdraw those remarks - "From a project owner's perspective, I can only state in conclusion that Hanscomb Consulting Limited has been the most vigorous in protecting the owner's interest and has been a most satisfactory project manager.". I will relate to the former Chairman of the Management Board that it was his government that, in fact, hired Hanscomb to do 20 projects during his tenure, a company of high calibre and should be respected and this member should withdraw those remarks, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On the point of order raised, I will certainly undertake to look back at Hansard and report back to the House. I certainly would say at this time rather than the point of order being in order, it is rather a dispute among members.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Question Period there was a question in regard to the products being used, namely pit run material for the work on the Highway No.104 western alignment. The Subgrade Capping Material that was put down was about eight inches thick and on top of that we used Type I, Type II gravel to meet our requirements. The use of the Subgrade Capping Material results in a superior pavement structure and it provides for non-frost between layers of subgrade and provides an improved quality of durability and drainage for the highway. At the end of the day - it points out in a report I have back from a briefing from our engineering staff - it will actually allow the highway to last longer than the normal processes we use today.

I would like to table in the House, the briefing note I received from my staff for the member opposite who is questioning the use of, the term he used "pit run", another term that we sometime use is capping material, quarried rock or pit run.

MR. SPEAKER: The information is tabled.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I should advise, I guess through a point of order, that Nova Scotia specifications call for and have called for, on 100-Series highways, 12 inches of crushed rock for the subgrade. Can the Minister of Transportation tell us and tell all Nova Scotians if the highway from Alma to Salts Springs, for example, will we be able to use pit run on that highway?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member's point of order, I certainly would rule on that. It is not a point of order and the honourable member will have a chance on a future day in Question Period to ask these questions.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: On a point of order. I am wondering, I thought I knew the Rules of the House but, they are changing so rapidly, I am not - even with the new green book today - able to keep up with them. Ministers rise after Question Period, and I always thought Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers came under that headline. Ministers

[Page 1493]

jump up and table without calling for that and we do not have any order in where we are going.

I am wondering if you would take under advisement or review this matter and get back us to know what kind of order we are running under, what rules we are being governed under and I am willing to abide by them but, if they are continuing to change, it is causing me some concern.

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: On a point of order. It is my recollection that it has been precedented in the House, at the end of Question Period, for ministers, in particular, to rise and report on certain information they promised to provide. I gather that is what the Minister of Transportation and Public Works was doing, he was giving a report relating to something that had come up to clarify it. I think that is certainly the precedent of the House over the years. It is obviously not in order during Question Period, and this is at the end.

MR. SPEAKER: On the point of order that the Opposition House Leader raises, I certainly will take that point under advisement and report to the House on a future day. Thank you.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: On a point of order, I hesitate to rise after the intervention of the Opposite House Leader, but it is just to give him the evaluation report process that he requested in the provision of ambulance dispatch service. I will table this with him and with the House. There were 36 proposals received with four finalists and the successful bidder was Novastar, a registered Nova Scotia company.

MR. SPEAKER: The information is tabled.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 39.

Res. No. 39, re Premier Savage - Promises (1993): Broken - Apologize - notice given Apr. 14/97 - (Mr. G. Archibald)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, Resolution No. 39 is being called and I am the first speaker and I introduced the resolution some time ago. The resolution deals with the election and the promises that were made. The question arising from the reading of that

[Page 1494]

resolution is, what happened after the election victory of this government, and what happened prior to the call?

There was this period during the election in 1993 when the government was promising Nova Scotians a lot of things. Mr. Speaker, you may have noted of late that this government is not as popular as it once was. The reason for that is many-fold. Not only did the government not live up to its election campaign promises but it dreamed up some new ways to discourage and make Nova Scotians angry. "Therefore be it resolved the Liberal Leader apologize to Nova Scotians for breaking so many of his election promises." That is the nub of this whole resolution.

Nova Scotians deserve an apology. Why should this government and these ministers apologize to Nova Scotians? Why don't they apologize for the construction of toll roads? In the red book that they published prior to the election was there any mention of a toll road or a toll tax? There certainly wasn't. I think the members of the general motoring public of Nova Scotia deserve an apology for this government misleading the people at the time of the election.

How many Nova Scotians thought for a moment that we would have a casino in Nova Scotia?

AN HON. MEMBER: Not Gerry Fogarty.

MR. ARCHIBALD: No, that is right, not Gerry Fogarty. In fact, there were three around-the-province tours by legislative committees. Each committee came back and they said no, we don't want casinos. But what did the Minister of Finance, now the Minister of Health, do? He said, we are going to have casinos, we are going to have one in Halifax and one in Sydney. They are going to make millions for the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, they are going to provide thousands of jobs, they are going to be the best thing that ever happened. They said most of the people coming through the gates of the casino are going to be tourists.

Now right off the bat I thought, tourists coming to Nova Scotia to go to the casino. It sounded strange, I found it hard to believe and in fact, the report tabled last year indicated that my earliest belief was true, the casinos are being populated by Nova Scotians and all we are doing is recycling Nova Scotia money and the percentage on the top is going to the American owners of the Sheraton Casino. Is the Premier going to apologize for putting casinos in Nova Scotia?

Will the Premier apologize to the charity groups in Cape Breton who thought they were going to be sharing the profits of the casino in Sydney? There haven't been any profits to share. Is he going to apologize for misleading those people?

[Page 1495]

Is the Minister of Education going to now apologize to the people of Nova Scotia for the amalgamated school boards? Our caucus recently met in Antigonish and in Guysborough and we were besieged, we were deluged by parents of concerned children going to school in that area. We have been deluged by parents in various regions, in fact, in all regions because the school boards are much too large, they are out of touch with the schools. Will the minister and the Premier apologize to Nova Scotians for bringing in an amalgamated school board system that is doomed to failure?

[4:30 p.m.]

You don't have to be a world-class genius to realize the fallacy and the foolhardiness of the size. If you are living in Halifax, you drive down the South Shore until you get to Hubbards and then the school board starts for southwestern Nova Scotia. You drive through Hubbards, you drive through Queens, you drive through Shelburne, you drive through Yarmouth, you come all the way around the corner and head up to Clare. That whole loop of the province is a school board.

One of the interesting things is that it would be easier for a parent in Clare or in Digby to drive to Halifax to see somebody at the Department of Education than it would be to drive all the way around to the office of the regional school board for that area. You see they were poorly thought-out, poorly researched and it is not working. Will the Premier now apologize to Nova Scotians for misleading them down the line about an amalgamated school board?

What about amalgamating the City of Halifax? The Municipality of Cape Breton County? What kind of bizarre situation do we have before us? When we look back to 1993 and read what was in the Liberal red book - now, I am not making this up but boy, when I am finished reading this, if you don't think Nova Scotians deserve an apology, then there is something wrong with your thinking. This is what they said in 1993, "A Liberal Government will not change municipal boundaries and structures before providing full information to the public on the impact of such change, including the costs and benefits of available options, nor before members of the public had a full opportunity for input and critique.".

Did you hear that, Madam Speaker? This is what this government said they were planning and standing for in an election. Is it any wonder that politicians are not trusted? When you have a man running for Premier of this province and saying that there won't be any amalgamation before members of the public have had full opportunity for input and critique. How much input was there that Thursday night when the Premier called in the mayors of Halifax and Dartmouth and the county and they met in his office. Do you remember that night, just before he ran his car into the light pole down in the parking lot? How much consultation was there? How much critique? How much input? Absolutely none.

[Page 1496]

I think that resolution is bang on. The Premier should apologize for intentionally misleading Nova Scotians. It is not right when a Party runs for office on one platform and then forgets about it after the election.

Now education, we had last week several parents of youngsters who were going to Landmark East. Did this government indicate to those parents in 1993 that they were going to cut the funding out from underneath their children? Certainly not. Those parents deserve an apology, Madam Speaker.

Agriculture, the funding cuts in agriculture, was that in the red book? Were any farmers told before this government was elected in 1993 that support programs, that the communication network that had been so well established between agriculture and the department, would be abandoned after the 1993 election? No. In 1993 this government said they were in favour of agriculture. Outside of the Minister of Agriculture, I would like to see one member of the Liberal Government stand up and speak on behalf of agriculture.

Agriculture is at the crossroads in Nova Scotia and needs a government that has a spot for agriculture. In 1993 when the government was campaigning and all the members wanted to get elected, they thought agriculture was important. Where is it now? I think this government owes the farmers of Nova Scotia an apology, Madam Speaker.

Last year in the budget, the municipal tax on farmland. There is nobody in this Chamber who can defend that, not one single person. The Premier, upon meeting with the Federation of Agriculture, a year and one-half after it was done said, we made a mistake. He didn't say he was sorry. He said, we made a mistake, we are going to try to fix it. Well, in the fixing, they haven't tried very hard, Madam Speaker. The farmers in this province are owed an apology.

Natural gas is a hot issue right now, Madam Speaker. When did the government suddenly decide that 50 per cent ownership of a pipeline transporting natural gas was a liability and not an asset so they gave it away? When will the government apologize to Nova Scotians for giving away an asset worth several million dollars?

What about the Port of Sheet Harbour? Built at the taxpayers expense, just when the port comes into its own with gypsum and wood chip sales so that the revenues are going to be increased tenfold this year over last year, just when it begins to become a million dollar a year revenue generator, that is when the province said, we don't want it anymore. Senator Willie Moore, the chairman of the Liberal campaign in Nova Scotia and lawyer for Ceres, you take it, give it to Ceres, the local people don't need it any more. How many acres of land does Ceres now control on the Eastern Shore? Who is going to work there? Indeed, the workers, the people who stood by Sheet Harbour and tried to keep it going for these many years deserve an apology from this government.

[Page 1497]

I don't think they will get an apology from this government. I think humbleness and apologies are beyond this government's thoughts. When you are as arrogant and as rude as most of the ministers in this government are to the people of Nova Scotia and show so little regard introducing the HST - my daughter bought a pair of sneakers yesterday for $69 and paid $13 in taxes, new tax on a student - you owe all the people of Nova Scotia an apology, Madam Speaker. I hope that a minister from this government will stand in his place and do some apologizing for the mismanagement of the last four years.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

HON. GUY BROWN: Madam Speaker, if anybody owes anybody an apology in this province, it is the former government in this province and everybody that was on the ballot for that Party in 1993. They should be apologizing on a daily basis. I want to tell you, when I came in here as the senior member of this House, I was never so shocked and hurt in my life when we started looking at the financial books and the mess of this province. That is a fact. There is nobody that can get away from that. You know, in fact, June 1993 - I want to tell you, never has a government in the history of Canada, even during the war times, taken over a debt that was as massive and mismanaged as the one in Nova Scotia.

I want to tell you, I am proud that I was elected in 1993 and I am proud of all my colleagues because we saved this province for our children and our grandchildren. Every Liberal in Nova Scotia and every resident of this province, it doesn't matter if they are tied to the Tory Party, the NDP, or don't vote at all, should really analyze what has happened in this province. You know, this crowd sold Nova Scotia Power a couple of years before the election. Where did that money go? It was going to make us so rich. I was opposed to the sale of Nova Scotia Power and today we are seeing some of the reasons come home that the Tory Government moved to sell it because they needed cash so bad. They could not be honest with Nova Scotians.

The next move was to start selling our Crown land and our parks, but thank God in 1993, the people of this province never gave them a chance to do it. They blew money. It was unbelievable. John Buchanan was a nice guy. A lot of them are my friends. I am not against them personally, but there is one thing that every honest person and every editorial board should be saying - that Nova Scotia was never so mismanaged as it was under that bunch that was on the ticket in 1993.

I am proud of this government and I want to tell you I am proud of the future that this province has, I am proud. We made some hard decisions. We had no choice when we were sworn in in June 1993, we never had a budget. We had absolutely nothing. The former government went to the people without a budget. Do you want me to tell you what their over-expenditure increase was in 1992-93 and it was not published. It was $1.435 billion, 26.49 per cent of an increase on the debt load of this province dealing with direct debt.

[Page 1498]

No wonder they never had a budget. No wonder they did not tell Nova Scotians what was going on. I am telling you, I am proud of our record. I know people are upset, but I would hope that these people would analyze what we took over, which is public, not political, talk, available in every library in this province. We saved the social programs we have here. We saved the future of this province, instead of going bankrupt.

I want to deal with some facts as are outlined in the resolution the honourable member brought forward dealing with taxes. I do not want anybody in this House to forget this, in 1994 we lowered the income tax reduction for low income people by (Interruptions) Some of the Tories are laughing. Laughing! You know . . .

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. BROWN: . . . $200 per head, $105 per child. Madam Speaker, we phased out income tax at $15,000. We removed from the workforce of this province, the low income, the seniors, 150,000 people from the tax rolls of Nova Scotia. This Party and this government should be proud of that. It never happened before in this province.

Now, 1997. Low income tax reductions. Let's tell the whole story. Let the Liberal members in this House start telling the story as it is. In 1997 low income tax reduction is now $300 per head. Now in 1997 $300 per head. That is the low income tax credit I am talking about. I am not talking about the roll-back. I am talking about the low income tax credit. $300 per head. Now $165 per child in this province.

The phase-out continues in our program, approximately 220,000 Nova Scotians will receive relief under this program - 220,000 Nova Scotians.

[4:45 p.m.]

Madam Speaker, also in 1997 - and let's not get the two of them confused, they are two different issues - in 1997 there will also be a general tax reduction in the tax rate in this province for the first time since income tax was introduced in Nova Scotia, from 59.5 per cent to 57.5 per cent of the federal taxable income, which is 3.4 per cent. So we have $300; $165 per child, plus we have 3.4 per cent reduction for all Nova Scotians. It doesn't matter if they are making $100 or $500,000 a year.

I want to tell you, yes, the 1997 sales tax changes, yes the base was broadened but the rate has fallen in many cases from nearly 19 per cent in this province to 15 per cent. The amount of tax will be collected and how these people say we are collecting more tax is beyond me because the record is very straightforward. Why do we get grants from the federal government? Why was Tory Ontario complaining about the deal for Nova Scotia? Why was Tory Alberta complaining about the deal for Nova Scotia? Because we are losing $118 million a year net loss on tax that we are taking in for three years. We feel we have confidence in the

[Page 1499]

future that the economy will pick up to offset that three years down the road, Madam Speaker.

We have plugged loopholes. Ever since I have been a member of this House, that was in a former government and while I was in Opposition, Madam Speaker, this is now, and with my Cabinet colleagues and my caucus, I have been so upset about mail order houses competing with the businesses in the Province of Nova Scotia. They don't pay property taxes, they don't employ anybody. They were shipping goods into this province and taking jobs away from the retailers and the stores we had here. We closed that loophole.

He says, yes, some of them likely still are; I would like to have their names and addresses, I will tell you, because I want every one of those people reported. I say to all members of this House, it doesn't matter to what political Party they went, if there are still people sending things here through mail order or through television sales, I want to know about it and I will report it to Revenue Canada because it is so unjust that the Nova Scotia business person who pays property tax has to compete with people beyond our borders who have no responsibility to the education system, the health care system or anything else in this province. It is unfair and we are trying to deal with that. Yes, it will take us time to catch up.

I want to talk about fuel tax because the honourable member had it in the resolution. May 1, 1982, they were all members of that government, most of them, who are sitting in the Opposition now. All the former ministers, most of them were elected in 1978. So if you were sitting in this House on this side in 1978, you were sitting here, unless you passed away, in 1982 or you resigned. So they were all here. I don't think they resigned, they are all still there today.

Let me tell you, and don't anybody ever forget it, on May 1, 1982, 4.7 cents a litre at the peak was the gasoline tax in this province. Don't forget this. When this crowd came in, before they went to the polls again, the litre tax was 4.7 cents. February 28, 1991, before we arrived, the tax was 13.8 cents a litre on gas. So the Tories, from 1982 to 1991, increased it from 4.7 to 13.8 cents. Today it is 13.5 cents a litre, plus about 2 cents a litre with the HST, the 15 per cent. It has gone from 13.5 cents to 15.6 cents, 2.1 cents. (Interruption) Well, I am telling you it is.

Anyway, Madam Speaker, so you talk about taxation. What have we done? I just went through the massive lowering of income tax that we have had in this province. On two occasions, on three occasions, low income twice in 1994, low income this year and plus 3.4 per cent. We are also, for low income people, which includes senior citizens on low incomes who don't pay income tax, we have a special application they can get so they can get a cheque back from the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1500]

We are getting this province finally on financial track and I want to tell you that every Nova Scotian should do everything in their power not to let that crowd get their hands on the books again and put this province in debt, where it was before. That is our role and that is what we have to do in this province.

I want to tell you we did it for low income. Those under $28,000 a year with two children will now save $330 a year. Those people over $70,000 a year with two children will save $270. So we have lived up to the Liberal philosophy and that is looking after those most in need and I am very proud to be a member of this government. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, first of all I have to make one observation about the resolution. On the resolution that is before us, again the Tories took the easy way out. I say that they took the easy way out because they gave us 15 minutes to speak about Liberal broken promises. Now it would have been a challenge if they had asked us to speak for 15 minutes about the commitments and promises that the government made that they kept. That would have been a challenge, but it is no challenge whatsoever to fill up several hours of discussion and debate talking about the commitments that were made that were trashed and thrown into the garbage.

The previous speaker did an excellent job. If people listened to him he could have given fiction writers an example, he would have been an inspiration to fiction writers. A lot of what we hear in here is indeed nothing more than fiction. When you write good fiction, of course, I don't claim to be one who is skilled in the art of writing and that kind of thing as you can probably tell from the way I speak - within every area of fiction there normally has to be some tiny thread of truth. If you ever read an historical novel, in an historical fiction novel there is normally some reference to something that is accurate and something that is true and from that you spin your stories.

This government, like the one before it - you know this government is no better than the last government in this regard - the two of them have had the ability to look for that little segment of truth in history and then from that they spin or weave their fictional stories that they go out and try to sell to the public. Maybe some of the members, some of the authors of the speeches for government members could give writing courses for those who are involved in writing fiction.

One of the things that the previous speaker talked about and he talked about it at some length, is how the government was able to bring down the deficit. The truth of the matter is, yes, the deficit in this province has come down, no question about that, we acknowledge that without any hesitation up front, but there are a couple of points that I want to make on that before I get into some other things.

[Page 1501]

First, for this government to say that they did not know the dismal state of the finances in 1993 is totally untrue. I invite the previous speaker and I invite all members of the Liberal caucus to go back and look at the speeches, look at what your own still Premier said prior to the election and he was almost bang on in terms of the amount of the debt that we were facing in this province and the deficit - almost totally bang on. Despite knowing that, the government went out and made their fairy tales. They went out and they spun their fiction about what they were going to do - it has turned out to be fiction.

There is some truth that we have reduced our deficit for other reasons. One, of course, is that the amount of money that we have received from the federal government in the way of transfers has been higher than it has in other years. We always seem to have been getting these adjustments and our transfer payments keep going up. Do you know why they go up? They go up, Madam Speaker, I am sure you know this, is because Nova Scotia compared to the other provinces across this country have been doing so poorly. Transfer payments go up when your economy, your strength, relative to that in other parts of this country are doing poorly - they are to equalize, to help bring up the poor regions.

As a consequence of us and the governments, both Tory and Liberal doing so badly in helping to spur the economy here, we did poorly and those other parts of this country that had stronger economies, monies were collected there and they came to us.

MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: On a point of order, the member just answered his question about the unknown deficit in 1993. Yes, we did get an increase in transfer payments because the deficit was underestimated by the previous government. When the deficit came to light then the federal government coughed up the additional funds that it owed to this province. Since then, I think you will find that things have changed dramatically.

MADAM SPEAKER: I do not think that is a point of order, but perhaps a point of clarification.

MR. HOLM: It is a point of opinion from the member, not even a point of clarification and I would suggest before he invests his $10,000 and throws his hat into the ring to go after the top job in the Liberal Party that maybe before he does that he might want to get some more advice and information on how the deficit has worked, the various years and also how to calculate revenue.

Another way that the province has reduced its deficit and that has absolutely nothing to do with this deficit, but I am very grateful that happens as all Canadians are. That is as a result of reduction in the interest rates, we have saved tens of millions of dollars on the financing of our debt. That is something that we are all benefiting from and it is something, that if governments in the past, whether they be Tory or Liberal on the national level had brought in regulations, controls to prevent those high interest rate policies that have been

[Page 1502]

followed, then we would have less expenses, less interest and then we would have less borrowing as well. One goes hand in hand with the other.

[5:00 p.m.]

So, the deficit has gone down not as a consequence of more people working or making more money in this province, it has gone down because of factors that this government has absolutely zero to do with. In fact, we now have in Nova Scotia the same number of people that were unemployed that we had in 1993. Unfortunately, we have more people who in their employment are having to work at part-time jobs or casual jobs because many of the full-time jobs have disappeared. In those areas, compared to the national average we are still faring badly.

This government made all kinds of announcements and commitments. Another way that they have reduced the deficit is by doing exactly what they said they would not do. I sat on the same side of this House as members like the previous speaker, the member for Cumberland South who when he was Municipal Affairs Critic in this province for the Liberal Party railed against the former Tory Government, as well he should have, offloading costs at each and every opportunity to municipalities. He was extremely critical as were his colleagues about how the Tories were passing their debts, their costs down to the property taxpayers, which we all know, or all reasonable thinking people know, is a regressive form of taxation because it doesn't take into consideration a person's ability to pay. Those who are on low and fixed incomes who happen to be living in a home that they have lived in for many years and they have that property escalating in value, their property taxes keep skyrocketing at the same time that the most wealthy and the largest businesses get tax break after tax break. Those are the ones who get the breaks and this government is continuing the Tory practice of old of passing those costs down to the property taxpayer.

We were told that amalgamations were going to be saving money. There was supposed to be all these dollars. The government is telling us this year that there is an additional $14 million going into education. That on top of the $11 million that supposedly is there as a result of the amalgamation should mean there is $25 million more in education. If that is the case why is it that the schools are being starved? Why is it that the school boards are unable not only to maintain their staff, they are also unable to provide the extra resources that our children need who have learning disabilities, who need those special assistants so that they too can grab that brass ring to get their education so that they in the future will be able to participate to the best of their abilities in the economy of this province? It is not there, Madam Speaker, and we are hearing instead that there are going to be more layoffs and reductions in programs and services.

Amalgamations of municipalities were to save all kinds of money as well, but you, I and all other residents who live in HRM can expect a sizeable tax increase this year when we get our second property tax bill unless the municipality makes major cuts to programs and

[Page 1503]

services and/or staff. This government has again transferred many of those costs down to municipalities, whether that be the roads, the social services, you name it. What this government did in their so-called service exchange that was supposed to be equal, what this government did was in fact offload more costs. They are even going to make money off them and school boards and others on their BST.

I listened to the previous speaker standing up and saying how the BST only increased the price of gas by a couple of points. I would suggest to that member, I don't know where he was but I know the day before and the day after it was imposed, that the price value on those pumps that I pulled up to went up a lot more than that, they went up by 8 per cent. Any gas station that isn't increasing that amount, they would be breaking the law because the government imposed an 8 per cent tax.

The member also talked about how we have the first income tax reduction in this province. They like to make it sound like it is a huge amount, 3.4 per cent, but that is only off the Nova Scotia portion. So when you break it down under the total tax bill, it is less than 2 per cent. Who pays the most and who is going to benefit the most? Those who have the biggest incomes, those who are making the greatest numbers of bucks and have the largest taxable income, they are the ones who are going to receive the greatest amount of tax reduction.

Those who are in the middle income tax brackets, those who are in the lower income brackets, they are going to save very little, if any, on that tax reduction but they are going to pay 8 per cent more on their gasoline; they are going to pay 8 per cent more on their home heating fuel; they are going to be paying 8 per cent more on many essential items like clothing and children's school supplies, footwear, you name it, it has gone up. For those in the middle income brackets, those in lower income brackets - not those who are going out and buying new fur coats every second month throughout the winter, Madam Speaker, or going off on these huge journeys (Interruption) It could be a raccoon coat, the member over there, the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, it could be any kind of fur coat. Those ones will save on those.

The individual families are the ones who are struggling, this government has betrayed, whether it is in those areas, whether it is with regard to casinos, whether it is with regard to protecting the health care system, whether it is in regard to the privatization, whether it was in regard to how they are treating workers in this province; they once promised that they were going to work in partnership and, of course, as soon as they got elected that notion also disappeared. Madam Speaker, did you give me the signal that my time was up?

MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, you have about 15 seconds.

[Page 1504]

MR. HOLM: That is what I thought you were doing, Madam Speaker, and I haven't even started. As I said when I began, it would have been a very easy topic to talk about for several hours. Talking about actual commitments that this government honoured since they have been elected, 15 minutes would be far too much time. I don't have that kind of an imagination that I could have strung it out that long on that kind of a topic.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise and speak to Resolution No. 39, introduced by my colleague, the member for Kings North. It is a good resolution and I think it gives us an opportunity to look back at what was said in the spring of 1993. I remember it very clearly as we were all very busy in the spring of 1993. The weather, fortunately, was a little better than it has been this spring so it was not quite as uncomfortable campaigning as it would have been this year, but it was interesting.

The people of Nova Scotia made a determination in 1993 that they were going to change the government. The electorate does that from time to time. They had made a decision that it didn't really matter what the incumbent government was saying, that there was going to be a change and change they had.

The question now remains with them, was it a change for the better? I think initially they felt it was. I remember the feeling in the summer of 1993 that Nova Scotia had a new government with energy, a massive majority - goodness knows, it was a massive majority - and things looked very bright, indeed, on the political front in Nova Scotia. They remember very clearly what it was that the government got elected to do because they did have an election platform that was well documented.

Let's look at a few of the things that were said that simply have not come to pass. Some of those were well-chronicled by the previous speaker. It is impossible in 15 minutes to go over the entire legacy.

Let's look at a simple one. "Nova Scotia Liberals are committed to protecting the Children's Dental Program from further erosion.". That is a simple one.

AN HON. MEMBER: From further decay it should be said.

DR. HAMM: Yes, further decay would have perhaps been a more apt description. That is what they said. They, when they were campaigning, were saying - the current government said - we are going to protect the Children's Dental Program. Well, what happened? They took $3 million out of the program. They took two years off the program and they put a means test in terms of certain restorative procedures. That is not protecting it from erosion at all. There is an easy one. Simply a commitment not kept.

[Page 1505]

If it only ended there, perhaps we would be debating a different resolution. This government has, from the time it took office, forgotten the people of Nova Scotia. It forgot its platform and it forgot its commitment to consult.

Do you remember the one, and this is part of the Liberal Party platform in 1993. MLAs and Cabinet Ministers will hold town hall meetings simultaneously with the State of the Province Address. Remember that? Remember making that promise on the doorsteps when you campaigned in 1993? You probably forgot that one. It is not one perhaps you have been reminded of too often. I do not remember a town hall meeting in Glace Bay simultaneously with the State of the Province Address. I do not remember one in Sydney. I do not remember one in Yarmouth. (Interruptions) Yes, exactly.

Well, it is funny how easy it is to get carried away in the election process. I think it is important that we think about that because we are probably not all that far from another election process here in Nova Scotia.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: I rise on a point of order, Madam Speaker. The honourable Leader of the Opposition made reference to town hall meetings in Sydney, that none were held. I can inform the honourable member opposite that I had six town hall meetings in the City of Sydney in my riding since the 1993 election to discuss issues of the day that our government brought in. I would just inform the honourable Leader of the Opposition that I did hold town hall meetings in Sydney.

MADAM SPEAKER: That was a point of clarification.

DR. HAMM: I accept the information provided by the member. As a matter of fact, I had a town hall meeting in Sydney as well. It was very well attended and received a lot of useful information. They go very well in Sydney. They are very popular and we had a good turnout.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Madam Speaker, I wonder if the honourable member would entertain a brief question? I would like to ask the member if the Party opposite, the Opposition Party, is going to have the same policy they had the last time during the election in my constituency when they staked off 23 roads in my riding, spent all kinds of money, did all kinds of water tests and everything and went around promising everybody that the roads would be paved, knowing full well there was no money to pave them?

AN HON. MEMBER: You guys cancelled the contract.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 1506]

DR. HAMM: The member for Eastern Shore indicates that all of the planned road maintenance in his area has not been carried out. I would suggest to the people of the Eastern Shore that perhaps if the government had not changed, that some of those commitments would have been kept. At least, and I think that opens the question. I hope the member for the Eastern Shore has already approached the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to make sure that those roads are included in the $59 million program that he has announced just recently. I am sure he will get a commitment from the Minister of Transportation and Public Works that that will be done.

AN HON. MEMBER: Maybe they will buy a mobile asphalt truck.

[5:15 p.m.]

DR. HAMM: Now, one of the hot issues right now and bearing in mind that we have a Premier who was the president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and he had some very strong views on amalgamation. Madam Speaker, I know this is a subject on which you have agonized on occasion, very strong views on municipal amalgamation. Remember what he promised when he did not like the position taken by the incumbent government about amalgamation. He was quite prepared to say something that he felt would be popular and would be appealing prior to an election because the Premier and the members of the government were campaigning on a promise of, "A Liberal Government will not change municipal boundaries and structures before providing full information to the public on the impact of such change, including the costs and benefits of available options, nor before members of the public have had full opportunity for input and critique.".

That must have seemed particularly strange here in metro the night that the Premier suddenly had to call the mayors of the four municipalities here in Halifax County to Province House to tell them that the next day, unannounced, there was going to be a municipal amalgamation. That certainly was contrary to what the Premier, and this government, was saying when it was campaigning in 1993. No wonder there is so much cynicism about this government, no wonder the government that was so popular in 1993 is having so much difficulty in relating to the people of Nova Scotia in 1997. They are looking back to what this government said it was going to do and now they have seen what the government has chosen to do. Tough decisions - the tough decision was to say what you were going to do before the election - that is the tough decision. Tell the people the truth before the election, that is what is tough.

Remember when the Liberals had the answer to putting Nova Scotians back to work. Remember 30-60-90? Well, I participated in 30-60-90 because one of the interests that I had in 1993 was the unemployment in my area. I was concerned that the young people in my particular community were having difficulties getting jobs - it was not only the young people. I thought, there are a lot of unemployed in Nova Scotia, maybe has 30-60-90 has something to do. I went to meeting 30 in Truro and a number of people attended and there was great

[Page 1507]

optimism that this program was going to work. I was a little bit dismayed because I would have thought that a government that was campaigning on putting everybody back to work would have something in mind when they were saying that. I went to meeting 30 and then I went to meeting 60 and that was held in my community because remember that is when they started having regional meetings. I know practically everybody in this House attended at least one of those meetings.

As I sat there and listened, I realized that there was not a direction, there was not a plan and that the government did not have a new approach to job creation. They were simply finding their way and it was certainly a different story from what we were hearing prior to May 25th. Well, it is interesting that despite the fact that we have had a tremendous economic resurgence in the country since this government took power that we still have transfer payments that are higher than we anticipated because this province under this government has not participated in the resurgence of the economy. That is a fact. Do you know what is happening? Do you know right now that every year since this government took power, all the reported years, average weekly family earnings are down? We are now the second lowest in the country.

Do you know that under this government that the percentage of part-time jobs is increasing and the percentage of full-time jobs is decreasing and that is serious. That is the kind of thing that is happening and well-paying jobs are disappearing, but the government does not have a formula to produce jobs of equivalent earning power. I think that is a sad commentary on the government that was talking about jobs, jobs, jobs.

The other thing, too is the government was not talking about an increased tax burden back in 1993. As a matter of fact, we all watched the now Premier say on province-wide television that there would be no new taxes. He could solve the problems of the province with the existing tax burden. That was in the spring, but before the leaves turned colour that fall, we had $79 million of new taxes from the government that promised no new taxes.

This seems to be getting under their skin, because rather than defend their actions, they are now looking and saying, what are you going to do, Mr. Leader of the Opposition? That is a good question and, yes, the plan will be forthcoming. The nub of the approach will be that the expectations will not be caused to grow higher than we can deliver. That is really what is wrong. This government created expectations it could not fulfil and therein lies the problem.

It is interesting that the government seems to have not been able to fulfil its mandate. It has not been able to keep its election platform, the commitments that it made, but there doesn't seem to be any shame on the faces of the government. They don't seem to say, well, we failed. Yes, we didn't do what we said we were going to do. It is still a case of full speed ahead. Never mind what we said. This is what we are doing. I don't think that approach is effective. I don't think that this government has been able to create any optimism in this

[Page 1508]

province. When I go around and talk to the people in rural Nova Scotia, when I go around and talk to the young people, they have no confidence in this government because, simply, they don't believe the government. The government is not believable and therein lies much of the problems for this province. Until we can restore a sense of believability in government, then this province is not going to prosper. The failure of this government to be believable is hampering the progress of this government to a real future.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 9 and, because of the time, we will have 10 minutes from each speaker.

Res. No. 9, re Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Unemployment (C.B.): Seriousness - Understand - notice given Apr. 11/97 - (Mr. A. MacLeod)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Madam Speaker, I stand today to speak on Resolution No. 9, "Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government attempt to understand the seriousness of the deplorable situation and begin developing a long-range economic strategy for Cape Breton, instead of just hoping that the unemployment picture will somehow go away.".

Madam Speaker, I want to make it very clear that I am not pleased to be rising in the House today to speak on this subject. As far as I am concerned, all politicians do too much talking on the issue and not enough about it. Sadly, the Liberals have, since the last election, neither talked nor listened to anybody about the unemployment in Cape Breton.

Nearly two weeks ago, Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition stood in this House and he suggested some reasonable ideas and measures to help stimulate job creation in Cape Breton. These ideas came from the people of Cape Breton, because since becoming the Leader of the Official Opposition, the member for Pictou Centre has travelled to Cape Breton many times. The member has sat down with business people in Louisdale, which is located in the riding of Richmond, where the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism calls home. He sat down with the business people in the town of Louisbourg in my constituency. He has talked to union members in Glace Bay. He has met with the people from the Cape Breton Economic Development Authority in Sydney and many other Cape Bretoners. Most of all the Leader of the Opposition has listened to Cape Bretoners on what is needed to create jobs.

[Page 1509]

Madam Speaker, when he stood up in this House to speak about different methods of job creation, the Leader of the Opposition did so based on the advice and counsel given to him by literally hundreds of Cape Bretoners. What was the response from the government to these reasonable, Cape Breton-based suggestions? The member for Cape Breton Centre stood up and criticized the Leader of the Opposition and said he was a come-from-away member. He obviously had not listened to the Leader of the Opposition, which is a typical response of Liberals, since they haven't listened to anybody in the last four years.

This is a Party that campaigned on a policy that leadership begins with listening. I just wonder where the leadership is and who these people have been listening to in the last four years. Ever since the 30-60-90 fiasco, there has been little government action on job creation and no meaningful consultation with Cape Bretoners to find solutions. This certainly was not the Liberal's promise of 1993.

Let's look at the member for Cape Breton Centre's next door neighbour, the Minister of Community Services. In May 1993, when the minister was just the member for Cape Breton East, he said the following, "No matter what anyone tells you the most important issue in this election will be to find a solution to the chronic unemployment that is crippling Glace Bay and Cape Breton in particular.". He was right, there is no question that that was an important issue in the election; the sad part is he did nothing to resolve the issue that he identified.

Let's ask the member for Cape Breton The Lakes. In April 1993, when he was an Opposition politician looking for votes - and he is the current wannabe Premier - this is what he said, "We need to support community development. Let's support them with money. Those who are in business, let's give them a chance to expand.". Those were all words that were put out during the 1993 election campaign, but what happened to them? They forgot about those words, they forgot about what they said and they forgot that the real issue was to try to get people back to work.

In simpler language, Cape Breton Liberals on the campaign trail in 1993 were either dishonest or irresponsible in what they said. The nearly 18,000 unemployed in Cape Breton are paying a high price for the broken Liberal promises. To paraphrase a commitment from the current Minister of Economic Development in 1993, the Liberals campaigned on jobs, jobs, jobs and what did we get? A job, job, job. We had the highest unemployment rate in Canada. It is unfortunate that the main qualification for getting any job in Cape Breton these days is to have a Liberal card in your back pocket and high influence with certain Cape Breton Cabinet Ministers.

Since the Liberals assumed office in June 1993, all of the following economic figures have become worse: employment; unemployment; and the labour force participation rate. The official unemployment rate for March 1997 stands at 27.4 per cent, the highest rate in Canada for the third consecutive time. The highest rate in Canada. In fact, Cape Breton has the

[Page 1510]

distinction of a Canadian record for the highest unemployment for March of this year. That is the legacy of this government in Cape Breton Island. Liberals should hang their heads in shame, never has there been such a large contingent of government members who have done so little in creating jobs for people in Cape Breton.

There are no quick fixes for job creation; but the Liberals haven't produced any fixes, whether they are quick, slow or in-between, They haven't produced any positive measures for economic growth or anything to encourage community economic development. They haven't done anything to encourage a better-educated workforce and they haven't done anything to encourage businesses to be involved in job creation.

The Liberal front benches like to talk about Statistics Canada, they like to talk about the projections for Nova Scotia to lead the country in a private sector investment. Well, I would challenge the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism to table the regional breakdown of that investment program. How much of that investment is actually coming to Cape Breton Island? When are the Liberals going to promote the advantages of Cape Breton Island?

[5:30 p.m.]

Several weeks ago the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism talked about the great trade mission that he and the Premier had to Italy. The minister talked about the great leads for companies which might invest in Nova Scotia. Madam Speaker, Cape Bretoners have heard the same rhetoric from the previous Liberal trade missions to Cuba and North Korea and China. There was no benefit for Cape Breton then and there is no benefit now. The only one that ever got any benefit from a deal that was struck was when the Minmetals deal was struck. There was a mainlander who also benefitted from the Minmetals deal, a politically neutral lawyer by the name of John Young. Well, I would challenge the minister to remember Cape Breton's advantages and promote them when all those Italian leads come here this summer; talk to them and tell them about the good parts of Cape Breton Island. Show them the incentives that have been waved around the City of Halifax; show those same incentives for the Island of Cape Breton.

Madam Speaker, why does the University College of Cape Breton receive less provincial funding per capita than any other university in Nova Scotia? Is that fairness? The multimillion dollar innovation program for university research announced by the federal government is targeted, for the most part, to larger institutions that focus on sciences.

Madam Speaker, we could go on and on about the different problems we have on Cape Breton Island and the problems that we have in the coal industry and in Sysco. The fact of the matter is, if we could stabilize those two industries today and keep them just as they are, with those people working, we would still have the highest unemployment rate in the country and we would still have to find a way to make a better deal for the people of Cape Breton Island.

[Page 1511]

Let no one in this House forget that people on Cape Breton Island are also Nova Scotians and they deserve to have the best representation they can have and they deserve to be able to go to work and hold their head up proud. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Madam Speaker, I had a very pleasant, neat sort of speech provided here but I think the honourable member has motivated me to be original and clear, if you would like. I would like to start off with his coal industry comments. The defining moment for the coal industry in Cape Breton, despite its difficulty, came when the group opposite, the Tories under Donnie Cameron, privatized Nova Scotia Power. At that particular time we were on the opposite side of the House, representing Cape Breton. The members from the UMWA can speak to it very aggressively, they sat in the House and watched the whole debate that went on for over 100 hours, in which we said at the particular time, the public policy of Nova Scotia on the coal industry is inextricably linked between the coal industry and the use of coal by Nova Scotia Power.

We said at the time that privatization will do several things; first of all, it will change the contractual relationship between Nova Scotia Power and the coal company because the government will give up interest, because the bottom line is what will drive it. We said that.

Number two, we said at that particular time, and I repeat that, that the employees of Nova Scotia Power will have something to be concerned about. We were told no in this House over and over again. We were told at that particular time, for example, and I come from Glace Bay, you talk about jobs, I said the Seaboard Power Corporation will not last two years after the privatization. It is closed; it has one person looking after the plant, to make sure that nobody is hurt there.

I was told at the time that $1 million has been spent on investment looking after that, so it shall not be closed. The honourable Leader of the Opposition talks about promises. That was a promise made by that government in this House and it is a matter of record . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . the promises you made in the red book.

MR. MACEACHERN: Oh, here we go now, here goes the honourable member. They had their opportunity here. Nova Scotia Power at that time fixed in place the possibility that the coal industry would be wiped out, at that particular time.

What happened then, in terms of the development of the coal industry, is that we ran into the trouble that we have now and we have to make do because Nova Scotia Power is private, has to make an arrangement in favour of its stockholders.

[Page 1512]

I want to say, Madam Speaker, that buying coal at $61 a ton, which they stopped payment on, forced the coal company back to the table because it almost collapsed them because of cash flow, done because of the government of the members opposite. You talk about promises. You can read through there. There were five commitments made to the people of the coal industry of Nova Scotia, none of them was kept. We said that and it was ignored. I am going to go on here, if I could, for a moment, just to remind the people, if they like, about the industries of Cape Breton. (Interruption)

This is about Cape Breton, guy. Get with this now. The honourable member here is talking about something he knows little about because he has spent little time there, except when he is campaigning. It is the only time he comes, Madam Speaker. When they campaign, they come there and promise it all. We know this. We have seen it all. When they have meetings in Cape Breton, it looks like the federal Tory caucus. There is the spokesmen and three other people they brought with them because they can't bring anybody there. I think we are getting to the crowd opposite. This is very important.

I want to address something that the honourable member for Cape Breton West said, because he should know better. When he talks about the University College of Cape Breton, very quickly, first of all $15 million in infrastructure by us with the federal government. Secondly, a new technology centre, $1 million a year by us and the federal government for Cape Breton. To continue, in terms of Cape Breton, the funding formula referred to under us is finally providing fair treatment to the College of Cape Breton after they, for 15 years, penalized it for being in Cape Breton, underfunded it year after year and we have made up for it.

Madam Speaker, I am going to talk about long-term planning. One item that we haven't had a chance to talk about in this House is the Leader of the federal Conservative Party has come out with this tax point thing that he is talking about. Here is how it works, so everybody will understand. Equalization works this way, and it is going to allow us to get on our feet. We are not going to stay the way they left us. We are going to become independent and self-reliant. It works this way, tax points on this side, cash on this side. Let's talk about this. If, in fact, when the economy goes down, the tax points become less valuable and the cash goes up. If we do better, tax points go up and cash goes down. This is how equalization works so that Canada works. That group opposite are supporting, and I heard them support, I heard the honourable member for Hants West support this, which basically says, we are getting rid of the cash and we are going to focus our attention on tax points.

Now, watch what happens. Suppose Nova Scotia has one bad year. Our tax points become valueless, Madam Speaker, and the chances for Nova Scotia, the chances for Cape Breton will collapse. How we can get any support for that equalization and the honourable member, here is what is happening. (Interruption)

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 1513]

MR. MACEACHERN: The Leader of the federal Conservative Party is giving up on equalization just like they gave up in past times on how, in fact, you share the wealth of Cape Breton. Madam Speaker, let's look at this. Here is what is happening. The people who are supporting tax points are three provinces. We, by the way, Newfoundland, P.E.I. - and even now, with a Tory government in P.E.I. - New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have fought for the last three years to make sure it doesn't go to tax points because that was a suggestion that was made. It is understood by all Atlantic Canada provinces that we will be penalized by tax points. But who favours it - Alberta, yes; Ontario, yes; and British Columbia, yes. Why? The rich provinces will keep valuable tax points.

Here is what they call it, Madam Speaker, and Ontario is the greatest advocate of this. It is called fair share. In other words, they want, for every dollar of wealth in Ontario, it stays there. That Leader of the Conservative Party nationally is supporting that and that crowd opposite is supporting it and you better tell the long-term planning they will strip Nova Scotia of any chance to get on its feet because it will be crippled in the interim. We will become self-reliant and Cape Breton will. It is going to be harder in Cape Breton because we have structural unemployment, which is significant, a lot of help from the crowd opposite, coal industry hurt by privatization.

AN HON. MEMBER: Don't you talk about the coal industry with what you guys are trying to do with it.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACEACHERN: The honourable member opposite is a bit irritated. It is the crowd opposite, with the support of their federal partners, who, in fact, closed down Devco, gave them five years to become independent no matter if they have a bad year or not. That time came to a close and here is what happened, because of the difficulties the federal government stepped in with $79 million to give them a chance to get on their feet, they did that. The crowd opposite put a death knell on Devco, the crowd opposite with the help of their federal partners, and we have a chance to free that and it requires several things. They have to become self-reliant, they know that (Interruptions) we can talk about Sysco another time. Call another resolution, I would be pleased to do that.

Let's look very quickly at several things. Long-term planning, in Cape Breton we have to do several things, the universities, the schools - I will just give you some things about the schools, they are talking about training opposite - $15 million expansion, I said that, new funding formula, new technology centre for University College of Cape Breton. On Marconi Campus, the community college which is located just behind UCCB because we had two and now we have one but it has more students than it had before, more programs and more chances for jobs than ever before at that one campus, to the credit of the staff and the people working there.

[Page 1514]

In the public schools because it is about education, we have two of the finest schools that there are in this province, maybe in this country. By the way, we have one in Queens as well if you want to talk about it and we have one in Antigonish. We have one in Glace Bay which is a model, it was the first of that pattern and number two in Sydney. By the way it has windows, they build schools without windows, it is the oddest thing I ever saw. We have windows that open. They would build schools in a pasture and then we can't open the windows and you have air quality problems, it is bizarre.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member is down to his last minute. Are you willing to entertain a question?

MR. MACEACHERN: Yes.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: I wonder if my honourable colleague is aware of the fact that the air conditioning system in the new school which he claims he is responsible for in Queens is so foul that the people in the school are on the verge of suffering from probably environmental illness as a consequence?

MR. MACEACHERN: Madam Speaker, I am not aware of that but I will refer it to the minister and we will check that out. We have a very good team that does that. The most important thing that may be a risk to us and every member of this House better recognize that, if that idea of tax points which is promoted by Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia gets any hold in this country, the idea of equalization across the country will die. Let me repeat for those of us in Cape Breton, if that message carries across the country, carries across the province, the success of Metro will not help Cape Breton, it will not. We on this side of the House support equalization, we support helping Cape Breton, the coal industry, the steel industry and getting people back to work and we are going to continue to work at that as long as we keep that crowd out of office. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Madam Speaker, I rise in support of Resolution No. 9, "Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government attempt to understand the seriousness of the deplorable situation and begin developing a long-range economic strategy for Cape Breton.".

It is very easy for my Party to support this resolution because in fact, over the years we have attempted to find out as much as we could from the people of Cape Breton in various sectors in industry and community groups about how they see the future of their own economic development. We have done that time and again both formally and informally. The

[Page 1515]

most recent formal session for that was in late February of this year and I want to talk about that in a minute.

What we see happening with this government is not only no long-term strategy for the economic development of Cape Breton but we see harm done to Cape Breton in terms of infrastructure, damage to the health care system and education which in fact work against the development of the economy in Cape Breton because it makes it harder and harder for companies and people to choose to settle there.

With our most recent jobs forum in Cape Breton, we sat down with a fair number of Cape Bretoners from different industries and different communities and we listened to what they had to say. In fact, we feel so strongly about helping the government to get on with this long-term strategy that we sent the most significant comments to the Premier so that the government could get to work on it, because we would like to help. I believe that if the government were to follow the suggestions that we had made for the beginnings of some kind of a program and plan, that Cape Bretoners would be better off, certainly, than they are without that help and with what might be called, loosely, the help of this government.

[5:45 p.m.]

It is important to understand what we did. We did not get together with Cape Bretoners so that everybody could whine and complain about the terrible situation, though it would be most understandable if they did, given the long-term suffering of Cape Bretoners when it comes to jobs and the economy. This session was designed to be constructive and a wholehearted attempt to get down to particular specific things that could be done by Cape Bretoners and the government to improve the lot of all. The purpose of it was constructive and the results were certainly useful and interesting.

There were four general comments that Cape Bretoners made here that I think are of extreme significance and should be heeded by the government. The first one was that Cape Bretoners need to work together to do this. Now that may sound perfectly obvious, except that it has not been happening when policies are top-down and governments do not listen to the people who live in those communities, but pay lip-service to economic development without seeing it through.

They commented on the out-migration of Cape Bretoners and the point was made that if Cape Bretoners want to leave, that is one thing but, if they do not, they are in an extremely difficult situation.

The second consensus that came out of this jobs forum was that the keystone industries, is coal and fish, have to be stabilized, not that they are going to be the only future in Cape Breton but because they will provide some kind of a base for job growth as we move into the new economy.

[Page 1516]

The third general point that was made by the participants at the jobs forum was the view they expressed that Cape Breton must receive its fair share of provincial government expenditures, whether public service jobs or assistance to information technology firms and cultural enterprises.

There is the old economy and the new economy both represented there. There was a sense among the Cape Bretoners who attended that there was a rather large discrepancy, in funding for cultural industries, between Cape Breton and the mainland, in particular money that goes to Halifax for the development of cultural industries.

The last general thing they told us was that despite the rhetoric, community economic development is still being frustrated by bureaucratic control and political interference, and that is an issue that has to be dealt with if the people of Cape Breton are going to have some hand in their own fate and their own destiny.

There was a whole list of specific and concrete suggestions from the jobs forum. I probably will not have time to go into all of them, so I will just highlight a few of them. Here is one very concrete, specific suggestion - and I will say it again, the Premier and the government have from us everything that we got from this. There is no holding back on the information that could be helpful to the government if it was serious about a long-term economic strategy and not just about throwing money at something before an election - the first thing that could be done is begin negotiations with the Public Service unions with a view to implementing a plan for increasing the share of the provincial Civil Service jobs in Cape Breton. Cape Breton has 20 per cent of the province's population and only 6 per cent of those jobs. Another one is to take concrete steps to redress the imbalance in provincial support for the information technology sector. Millions of dollars have been poured into those firms to set up in the Halifax area and Cape Breton has been largely ignored in this respect. There has been a lot of talk about Donkin in here and instead of jeopardizing the future of Donkin and Devco by giving it away for $1.00, keep it, work with the workers and make it run efficiently and effectively.

The next point that people in Cape Breton raised with us is that we should support the band councils in their efforts to use their powers of self-government to combat unemployment on Cape Breton reserves. Unemployment on some reserves can be as high as 75 per cent.

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I guess I am rising on a point of order or a clarification. The member opposite just made a comment that somebody was giving away Donkin Mine for $1.00. I think the member opposite should correct that statement. Nobody is giving anything away for $1.00. Under legal terms, the title of Donkin has been given for $1.00. There has been no exchange of funding. I think the member opposite is spreading information that is incorrect and I would appreciate it if she would withdraw that and state the actual facts to this case.

[Page 1517]

MS. O'CONNELL: The whole question of Donkin seems to me to be an issue of whether it is public or private. The whole point of retaining Donkin seems to me to be to preserve the whole system.

I am just going to go on and say that there are a number of other things, but probably the one I will mention in the few seconds that I have left is the importance of the University College of Cape Breton and how essential it is to the economic future of the Island. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, that concludes Opposition Members' Business for the day.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, following the daily routine and Question Period tomorrow, we will have the Committee of the Whole House on Supply and will continue with the Minister of Health in the committee and in the subcommittee the Minister for the Technology and Science Secretariat. Following that will be the Committee of the Whole House on Bills and we will continue with Bill No. 6 and if time permits, we will be doing bills for third reading.

I move that the House do now rise and sit between the hours of 12:00 noon and 8:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The Adjournment debate has been chosen as announced earlier and won by the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend appreciation to this government, municipal leaders, police, fire, and ambulance services for their outstanding efforts in making the province-wide 911 Emergency Reporting Service protection available to all Nova Scotians.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

[Page 1518]

EMO: EMERGENCY SERV. (911) APPRECIATION - EXTEND

MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure this evening to take a few minutes and talk about this particular resolution that I presented. This resolution deals with the province-wide 911 Emergency Reporting Service.

I want to take just a few minutes and provide a little historical background to this service. I want to start by saying that Nova Scotia, again, is the leader in this particular area. Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to have province-wide, from one part of our province to the other, a system of 911 emergency reporting. It did not come about just as easily as that, it came about with a great deal of effort and support by a whole variety of services across the province. Originally this service was announced, I believe, back in 1988, in the Throne Speech by the then government. They said, it is an important service, we have to do it. In fact they planned for it for 1991; they also planned for it in 1992, in 1993, but it didn't happen.

Mr. Speaker, I want to give you what I believe are the two main reasons why it didn't happen. The first is, there was no political will to make it happen. Second, they said we didn't have the technological systems and abilities in place, we couldn't put it together. But really what it boiled down to, although that may have had some validity, it was a weak issue because if the political will was there, they would have made it happen.

So what happened from there? As we all know, in May 1993 Nova Scotia made a wise decision and elected this government. Immediately we recognized the need and put a plan of action in place. We said that this service was a critical service for our province and the people of this province. So immediately we put together a plan of action. We started out in the beginning of 1994 and said, every household in this province must be registered with a 911 address; they must be catalogued and databased, in order to make sure we can move ahead, and that is what we did. We started that process in 1994.

The minister responsible, the Honourable Wayne Adams, took it upon himself and his department officials to cooperate with municipal governments across the province and started the process. We said at that time that it was a target that every household, with 100 per cent database accuracy, was the only system that we would accept; anything short of that was not good enough. So the database was put in place and every household was registered.

Now I might tell you quite easily, Mr. Speaker, there have been a few glitches, there is no question about that, but each and every one of those glitches has been identified and, in fact, the technology that is in place, the computer structure in place, has a built-in program so that it can identify some overlapping and deficiencies and it has a self-correcting mode in it.

[Page 1519]

We continued, Mr. Speaker. In 1995 we started the implementation process. We partnered with MT&T and they put a great deal of investment into this particular project and started to bring on-system, region by region, various parts of our province. Now, as we know, here in this fiscal year of 1996-97, each region across the province, with the exception of this one small section right here in the centre of metro, has been on-line with the enhanced 911 system. Region 1, which is the north part, Cumberland, Colchester, East Hants; Region 2, Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth, Queens, Shelburne; Region 3, Pictou, Antigonish, Guysborough; Region 4, Halifax, Lunenburg, West Hants; Region 5, Cape Breton, Richmond, Inverness and Victoria Counties are all on-system.

In my own area where I live, in Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, the service by the RCMP now, Mr. Speaker, like everywhere else in the province - with the exception of right here in metro, as I have indicated - when an emergency occurs, what do they do? Grab that telephone, dial 911 and a proper response to their emergency is given.

When we think about that, Mr. Speaker, it is a tremendous advancement in a very short period of time; 911 makes like easier for Nova Scotians; 911 provides a security blanket, if you like to think about it in that way, for the people of this province so that when an emergency occurs, whether it be an issue that should be responded to by the police authorities, fire authorities, ambulance systems or whatever, we now can boast that from one end of this province to the other, our people have that security blanket.

[6:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the system, although not quite a full year in operation, is having tremendous success. This past year, even though it hasn't been a full year in operation, in excess of 50,000 calls have been registered by the 911 data base system. I want to just emphasize how critical that is. As I mentioned already, we haven't been in operation for a full year and, at that time, not the whole province was on system, but 50,000 calls came through on that program. We are making progress and very soon, from one end of the province to the other, each resident, each household, will have access to the system.

The system has an interesting configuration program to it. There are seven answering points in place all across the province, six active and one soon to come on. They touch every area of the province and are operated in a very efficient manner. Configuration in itself though is something that we should pay a little bit of attention to. When I talked earlier about first the willpower, political well-to-do, and the technology, what did we have to do? We went out and we said, what is already out there in the marketplace that we can tap into? We looked at what was there and there were tremendous assets already in place and we motivated them and got them in operation.

[Page 1520]

The policing authorities across the province, including the RCMP and municipal services, the fire department services, had systems. We didn't want to reinvent the wheel. We wanted to merge those together, add to their already existing programs and expand to make sure that each region of the province was properly serviced. In doing so, Mr. Speaker, what we have done is we have really used the economies of scale to allow for the extreme volumes that will, no doubt, come in place here.

I want to speak just for a moment, Mr. Speaker, and I know my time is running short, of when you are developing a system such as the enhanced 911, that it comes about not by a single department of government, it crosses over a variety of areas. We have the Department of Health and the Department of Education. We have the Department of Transportation and Public Works, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs, all integrated and using part of this enhanced 911. Along with our partners at the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the RCMP and MT&T, we now have a system in place that is really providing a tremendous asset to the people of this province.

As well, Mr. Speaker, there are some other interesting components, that 911, by itself, allows us to expand on. We will soon be introducing the Integrated Wide Area Network, which will replace the current provincial radio system and that system is being developed through the Technology and Science Secretariat. The ambulance system that we often hear so much about and the critical component that it plays in the delivery of health care is also part of this new system and allows for greater service to our people. Mapping is a critical component to this, which is provided by the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs and now has the creation of a digitized civic address program that allows for crossing over of one department to another so that government is starting to work as a cohesive unit.

I know my time is up and I think this is such an important service to the people that I thought it was important to bring a little bit of attention to this very important issue, allowing Nova Scotia to receive an enhanced system, the first in Canada. We are very proud to be part of it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: I want to stand today and talk about 911 and concur with the honourable member who just spoke. In my area, over the past four years, we have had a tremendous amount of problems communicating with the emergency response people. It actually went back a lot further than four years.

In a rural area such as mine, you had one telephone number for the RCMP, and you had another telephone number for the fire department and, if you were in an area very close to the border of the fire department, you actually had two numbers you could call; all different. As

[Page 1521]

well, with that, if you wanted to call an ambulance, you had two or three numbers, depending on what time of the day it was that you had to call.

During the process of many calls that we have had and where the delays have been, 99 per cent of the calls that were received that the response time was slow, it was because of poor communications. The communications usually broke down in several different ways. The individuals making the call did not know who to call. In one case, in my riding, I had an individual, a lady who was very upset, she had a small child and she called the local hospital. Now our local hospital has never done emergency response. They will come in and help people when they need them, but if it is something that is really urgent, the ambulance will come and make arrangements with the hospital for a doctor to come, or transport them to Dartmouth or Halifax, whatever the situation may dictate.

She called the hospital on this particular evening and the hospital said we do not dispatch ambulances and hung up. Now what does she do? She does not know who to call next. After scrambling through the phone book to try to find different places to call, about 15 minutes went by; that is a very critical time in an emergency situation. Fortunately, the response was handled by the local fire department and at that time, on their own, they had received training and were able to stabilize the situation. If the situation had been a lot worse, the small child perhaps would have died or maybe had permanent injuries as a result of not being able to get through immediately because people did not know where to call.

With 911 it is very simple. You call the 911 number. You are immediately connected with people who can help you. In my area it has been really rewarding because we have seen the first responders program, and I have talked in this House many times about the first responders program, it is a program I am very proud of and I am proud of the people in the first responders program, and the fire departments in my area that have done such an excellent job to help develop that program for the province. It is only through access to 911 and immediate response that now, when a call comes in, the fire department is dispatched immediately, as well as an ambulance and whatever other emergency vehicles are required.

Actually, when the fire department is called, even for a fire call now, they are backed up by the ambulance which, in most cases, when there is a fire there are usually injuries with firemen or people who are involved with the fire. It is very nice to see that type of cooperation and 911 ties it in so nicely, with one call you have access to all these people, all the people with the expertise.

I am going to talk a little bit more on the first responders program. In the rural areas such as I live in, an ambulance may be as far as 20 or 25 minutes away, even if they are standing ready and all set to respond, and that is just because of the geographic location. I can tell you from personal experience that I have had recently that a call was put in from my place for me. I had a first responder. The first responder arrived at my house in about a minute and one-half, in a rural area; the second one arrived about a minute later; that is two and one-half

[Page 1522]

minutes. Both people who arrived - actually three of them arrived - were fully trained and trained to handle pretty well any situation until the ambulance got there.

Also, now, with the new system, they are in immediate contact by radio with the ambulance and, if necessary, with the emergency room at the new QE II. That opens up another terrific tool towards preventing further injury and actually saving lives. I have seen that in my own area, it has been a tremendous improvement. This is the way I feel we have to go.

In today's society it is hard to believe that the most difficult thing we have is communication because you take it for granted; you pick up the telephone and you call a friend or you call a place to order something or you make an inquiry, it is so easy. With the injection of 911, now it is so easy to communicate to emergency response people.

I know there was a lot of concern at first that when the 911 went in place there would be a lot of false alarms, and I believe there have been some, but I think the positive effect that 911 has had, with faster response time and easier access to emergency people and staff, has far outweighed any problems there have been in that area. I will really be pleased when the regional municipality finally gets their new facility in place and 911 is province-wide, which I believe is going to happen this summer. It is also nice to see that it is in my area before that has happened and moving forward with that type of response, I think is very important.

Now I can remember the first time when we sat down with the fire departments in my area and we were talking about the first responders program and it really ties into 911 in a centralized response system. We sat down and talked to the different fire chiefs and it was quite an interesting meeting. I called the meeting of the fire chiefs who had never, by the way, ever met each other before in a formal setting, to say how can we help each other, even though some of them had done that through mutual aid but the mutual aid was just in some geographic areas and they worked together very well. We hauled in six different departments and sat down with the departments and it was quite an interesting conversation. As the evening started, it just really started out the fact that we were there, we were going to discuss this problem on communication, or how we can perform emergency response with the fire departments and who was interested.

Well, very quickly in the evening the fire departments themselves took the meeting over and they were talking communications. The biggest problem they had in the areas where the volume of calls had gone up was communications; number one, communicating with their fire department and their central dispatch; communicating from the call centre to dispatch from their departments and then back to the call centre again, in the case of emergency.

What used to happen was they used to have to call in on the radio, talk to central dispatch; central dispatch would have to relay the message on to an ambulance or to the police department. That took a lot of time, and that is after a resident, who probably had

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never called the emergency response people before, taking the time to look up the telephone number in the phone book because in the phone book in my rural area you have to go under the heading where I live and in several different communities in my riding it is the same, to Chezzetcook. They you go down through Chezzetcook and look up the RCMP and, lo and behold, someone in Halifax answers the phone, after hours.

Or, if you wanted an ambulance, then you have to go to the white pages and try to figure out which ambulance covers the area you live in. So by this time you have a big problem on your hands. Not only that, if you don't really know the fire department number, you pick up the phone and you probably call one fire department and their answer is, we don't cover that district. Then you have to try to find the other phone number. So, while all this is going on, your house has probably burned down, if you are foolish enough to stay in it, still on the phone, or someone has had some pretty serious injury that they will probably never recuperate from.

So the fact that we have had 911 put in, and with the first responders program and the new ambulance program we have in the province, I think we have probably one of the best first response programs in the country. I am sure that over the next few years, as it evolves and improves and the communications systems get tighter and tighter, it is going to be a lot easier for people to access these services that they should have accessible all the time and much faster. In these situations I know the critical time in a fire - I was a volunteer fireman for many years - is only a matter of minutes. So if you can get the call in and cut the response down by ringing the appropriate fire department in time, you actually can probably save some of your property and, hopefully, some lives.

I personally feel that 911 has been a major step forward for the Province of Nova Scotia. I am looking for its continuous development. I think over the next several years the saving in property loss and in actual human life and suffering will be tremendous. Thank you.

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

The motion for adjournment has been made.

The House will now rise to sit again tomorrow at 12:00 noon.

[The House rose at 6:15 p.m.]

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NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

Given on May 6, 1997

(Pursuant to Rule 30)

QUESTION NO. 10

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Alan Mitchell (Minister of Justice)

The recommendation was made through a 470 page report submitted to the New Brunswick Solicitor General to talk with the other Atlantic Provinces about hiring an independent correctional investigator to look into jail complaints across the region.

(1) Has the New Brunswick Solicitor General been in contact with the Nova Scotia Minister of Justice on this issue?

(2) Has the Justice Minister considered such a request?

(3) If and when such an approach is made, would the Minister of Justice commit to forwarding any correspondence on the issue?

QUESTION NO. 11

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Alan Mitchell (Minister of Justice)

During the period when repairs were done to the annex of the Halifax Correctional Centre, many inmates deemed "low risk" were sent home to serve house arrest.

(1) How many inmates were deferred from serving their predescribed sentence due to the repairs?

(2) Was an evaluation done on the effectiveness of alternatives to their initial sentencing orders?

(3) If an evaluation was undertaken, please provide a copy.

[Page 1525]

QUESTION NO. 12

By: Dr. John Hamm (Leader of the Opposition)

To: Hon. John MacEachern (Minister of Community Services)

(1) Would the minister provide a copy of the guidelines concerning the Tri-County Youth Independence Program?

(2) Who is eligible for this program? How is it funded? How many young people may participate at a time? Does the program involve services beyond that of providing shelter? If so, what other services are provided?

(3) Does the Family and Children's Services Division of the Department of Community Services pay Tri-County a fixed monthly allowance to provide its programming? Is Tri-County required to provide residents a personal monthly allowance?

(4) Does this situation violate existing conflict of interest legislation or policy respecting employees?

(5) Does this situation comply with provincial legislation regarding the public care of children and the licensing of homes responsible for such care of children?

(6) What regulations, standards and/or outcome measurements are in place with respect to this program's courses and eligibility?

QUESTION NO. 13

By: Dr. John Hamm (Leader of the Opposition)

To: Hon. John MacEachern (Minister of Community Services)

A Yarmouth resident by the name of Brian Titus was cut off provincial assistance more than two months ago due to a five day suspension from high school. He has since indicated that the suspension was based on poor judgment on his part. He asked to be reinstated but was denied. This person has yet to receive a response to his appeal, despite the fact that social assistance officials confirmed receipt of his written appeal. Mr. Titus is living on $355 a month in municipal assistance.

(1) Will the Minister of Community Services explain why his department has had such a slow turnaround on Mr. Titus' appeal?