The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., Nov. 21, 1997

Sixth Session

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1997

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1, Agric. - Hall of Fame (Atlantic): John Eyking Sr. (Millville)
Induction - Congrats., Hon. E. Lorraine 30
Vote - Affirmative 30
Res. 2, Agric.: 4-H Prog. - Success-Applaud/Scholarship Winners -
Congrats., Hon. E. Lorraine 30
Vote - Affirmative 31
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 1, Wildlands Protection Act, Ms. E. O'Connell 31
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3, Sport - Baseball: Hall of Fame (N.S.) -
Richard Mann MLA Induction - Congrats., The Premier 31
Vote - Affirmative 32
Res. 4, Queen Elizabeth II & Duke of Edinburgh: Wedding Anniv. (Golden) -
Best Wishes, Dr. J. Hamm 32
Vote - Affirmative 33
Res. 5, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Select Comm. - Establish, Mr. R. Chisholm 33
Res. 6, Picton Castle - Lunenburg Refit: Builders-Congrats./
Voyage Safe - Wish, Mrs. L. O'Connor 34
Vote - Affirmative 34
Res. 7, Gov't. (N.S.): Mismanagement - Condemn, Dr. J. Hamm 35
Res. 8, Premier/Leader of Opposition - Leadership Battle: Result Same -
Recognize, Mr. J. Holm 35
Res. 9, Educ. - Schools: Conditions Improve - Delay Explain, Mr. E. Fage 36
Res. 10, NSP & Salvation Army: Energy Bills Assist. Fund - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Leefe ^Res. 11, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Demands (Premier) - Table, 36
Mr. G. Archibald 37
Res. 12, Educ. - System (Two-Tiered): Establishment - End,
Ms. E. O'Connell 38
Res. 13, Devco - Donkin Mine: Deal - Stop, Mr. A. MacLeod 38
Res. 14, EMO - Emergency Serv. (911): Consultant - Appoint,
Mr. D. McInnes 39
Res. 15, Fin. - Tax Burden: Low-Income Alleviation - Inaction Condemn,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 39
Res. 16, Transport (Canada) - Halifax Internat. Airport: Funding -
Gov't. (N.S.) Secure, Mr. B. Taylor 40
Res. 17, Health - Homes for Special Care: Legislation - Amend,
Mr. G. Moody 41
Res. 18, Health - Hants Commun. Hosp.: Funding - Provide,
Mr. R. Russell 42
Res. 19, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Deal - Improve, Mr. R. Chisholm 43
Res. 20, Agric. - Livestock: Protection Prog. - Provide, Mr. G. Archibald 43
Res. 21, Gov't. (N.S.) - Public-Private Partnerships: Financing -
Review Priority, Mr. E. Fage 44
Res. 22, Scouts (Canada): Silver Wolf-Award/Natl. Commissr.-Selection -
Congrats., Hon. J. Barkhouse 44
Vote - Affirmative 45
Res. 23, YMCA (Hfx./Dart.) - Peace Medal: TRIAC (Hfx. Co. East) -
Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 45
Vote - Affirmative 46
Res. 24, Educ. - Teachers: Vigour Intellectual - Commend, Mr. J. Leefe 46
Res. 25, DND - Jobs: Cuts - Oppose [Gov't. (N.S.)], Mr. J. Holm 47
Res. 26, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Co-op Housing: Support (Max.) -
Provide, Mr. A. MacLeod 47
Res. 27, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Free Speech: Belief - Min. Confirm,
Mr. B. Taylor 48
Res. 28, Educ. - Issues: Unaddressed - Condemn, Ms. E. O'Connell 48
Res. 29, Fin. - Casinos: ITT Deal - Condemn, Mr. G. Moody 49
Res. 30, Justice - Institutions: Abuse Compensation - Arbitration Use,
Mr. R. Russell 50
Res. 31, Commun. Serv. - Children: Commitment - Detail, Mr. D. McInnes 50
Res. 32, WCB - Compensation: Improvements - Implement,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 51
Res. 33, Queen Elizabeth II & Duke of Edinburgh: Wedding Anniv. (Golden) -
Congrats., Mrs. L. O'Connor 51
Vote - Affirmative 52
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 34, Commun. Serv. - Child Welfare: Improvement - Role Recognize,
Hon. F. Cosman 52
Vote - Affirmative 53
Res. 35, Health - Child (U.N. Convention): Rights - Ensure, Hon. J. Smith 53
Vote - Affirmative 54
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Dr. J. Hamm 54
Mr. R. Chisholm 63
Amendment moved 75
The Premier 75
Mr. R. Carruthers 81
Adjourned debate 85
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Nov. 24th at 7:00 p.m. 85
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
H.O. 1, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Cumb. Co. - Winter Operations (1997-98),
Mr. E. Fage 86

[Page 29]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1997

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Sixth Session

10:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gerald Fogarty

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. All of you will find in your mail slot one of these forms. It contains information which will be of assistance to you and to all of your constituents because there are phone numbers - and you are going to be hearing from your constituents who will be making enquiries about government cheques, EI, TAGS, training cheques and client inquiries. It should be of some assistance to you as you hear from your constituents. So there are phone numbers and addresses there. I would ask all of you to pick one up from your mail slot outside in the foyer. Thank you.

Are there introductions of guests before we begin the daily routine? If not, then we can begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

29

[Page 30]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1

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

Whereas the Atlantic Agriculture Hall of Fame was established in 1968 to recognize outstanding contributions to the agriculture industry of our region; and

Whereas John Eyking, Sr., of Millville, Cape Breton County, a poultry and horticulture producer, has provided leadership to the agriculture industry and the community; and

Whereas Mr. Eyking was nominated by the Nova Scotia Egg and Poultry Producers Marketing Board to be Nova Scotia's 1997 inductee in the Agriculture Hall of Fame for his service to the industry;

Therefore be it resolved that all members stand and congratulate John Eyking, Sr., of Millville on his recent induction into the Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice. It requires unanimous consent.

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 Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2

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

Whereas the 4-H Program began in 1922 in Nova Scotia; and

[Page 31]

Whereas 4-H is marking their 75th year at a special banquet; and

Whereas Janet Rafuse of Lunenburg County, Elspeth Livingstone of Colchester County, Tanya Jones of Cape Breton County and Gordon Henley of Cumberland County will be presented with scholarships based on criteria including their level of participation in the 4-H Program at this banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate the four 4-H scholarship winners and applaud the 4-H Program on 75 years of success in developing our youth of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 1 - Entitled an Act to Preserve the Integrity and Diversity of Wildlands. (Ms. Eileen O'Connell)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas sport in Nova Scotia has a long and glorious history; and

Whereas much of what occurs in this House could be described as sport; and

[Page 32]

Whereas the honourable member for Richmond has proven to be as heavy a hitter on the baseball fields of Nova Scotia as he has been for this government, as the members opposite can attest;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House offer their congratulations and best wishes to the honourable member for Richmond on his induction into the Baseball Nova Scotia Hall of Fame at a ceremony to be held Saturday at the Museum of Industry. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

No more be need said. He still holds the home run record in senior baseball in Nova Scotia. Is it all right to say that, the honourable member for Richmond?

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 4

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

Whereas yesterday marked the 50th Anniversary of the marriage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh; and

Whereas this Golden Wedding celebration marks not only 50 years of a sharing marriage, but also 50 years of selfless service to the people of the Commonwealth and beyond; and

Whereas yesterday's celebration gave witness to Her Majesty and His Royal Highness to recommit themselves to public duty;

[Page 33]

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary which also marks 50 years of public service through their marriage.

Mr. Speaker, I request that you convey this message to Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.

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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 5

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 joint panel examining the Sable Offshore Energy Project has decried the Liberal Government's total lack of vision for the development of our offshore natural gas resources; and

Whereas the Sable project should only proceed if it can be clearly demonstrated that Nova Scotia consumers, businesses and taxpayers are getting the maximum return from the exploitation of this non-renewable natural gas resource; and

Whereas it is the duty of this House to ensure that we do not disinherit future generations of Nova Scotians by squandering this resource in return for a few short-term jobs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House establish an all-Party select committee to study the Sable gas deal, particularly the issue of natural gas liquids, and make recommendations on how best to maximize economic benefits for Nova Scotians from the offshore.

Mr. Speaker, I would seek waiver of notice.

[Page 34]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 6

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

Whereas the Picton Castle, a 179 foot square-rigged three mast ship, will depart Lunenburg tomorrow on an 18 month trip around the world to trade goods with people in such exotic locales as Cape Town and Zanzibar; and

Whereas the Picton Castle was once a rusty North Sea trawler that has undergone a $2 million refit in Lunenburg over the past year involving six traditional boat-building enterprises and employing as many as 100 people; and

Whereas according to the ship's captain, Dan Moreland, Lunenburg was chosen for the refit because of its history, its ice-free port, its relatively mild climate; and its concentration of ship-building companies;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish the captain and the crew of the Picton Castle a safe and prosperous voyage, and congratulate the shipbuilders and workers of Lunenburg on a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver or notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.

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 Leader of the Official Opposition.

[Page 35]

RESOLUTION NO. 7

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

[10:15 a.m.]

Whereas the Liberal Government's legacy for the last four years will be remembered for bad deals, bad faith, bad decisions and the bad taste that is left in the mouths of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has signed on for one bad deal after another including; the HST, casinos, Sable gas, public-private partnerships for schools and highways, tire recycling, Pharmacare - the list is endless; and

Whereas whether it is Premier number one or Premier number two, the bad deals, the bad management and the bad faith continues;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government be condemned for its bungling and mismanagement and its abject failure to plan and implement a vision for a prosperous, safe and healthy Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 8

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 straw man from the Tories has been critical of the sheepish Liberal lion; and

Whereas the Tory straw man chastised the Liberal sheep because they put into practice previous Tory Government policies like municipal amalgamation, tax harmonization, health care cuts and privatization; and

Whereas the straw man in attacking the sheepish Liberal lion has merely reminded Nova Scotians of the destructive Tory past;

[Page 36]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that the battle between the Tory straw man and the sheepish Liberal lion will not produce the kind of strong, creative new leadership that Nova Scotians require.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 9

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

Whereas this government bungled its public-private partnership initiative, leaving thousands of Nova Scotian parents, teachers, students and their communities wondering if or when their school will be repaired or replaced; and

Whereas while the Education Minister has finally resurrected the School Capital Construction Committee, he also has a responsibility to release that same list; and

Whereas the government has been sitting on the School Capital Construction Committee's priority list for almost two months;

Therefore be it resolved that this government explain why it is twiddling its thumbs on the issue, while so many parents and teachers and students are left with unhealthy, overcrowded and ageing schools.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 10

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

Whereas the BST/HST is another bad deal that the Liberal Government forced on Nova Scotians; and

Whereas for over six months the Premier has promised that he would fix this bad deal which we should all be reminded he voted for as a Member of Parliament and as yet nothing has come of that vague promise; and

[Page 37]

Whereas Nova Scotia Power and the Salvation Army launched a fund yesterday to give assistance to Nova Scotians who cannot pay their energy bills in part because of this unfair tax;

Therefore be it resolved that these two organizations be congratulated for their leadership in organizing this fund to assist Nova Scotians to keep warm this winter.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 11

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

Whereas the joint review panel slammed this government for its lack of vision and foresight in protecting Nova Scotia's interests with respect to the Sable gas development; and

Whereas yesterday's Speech from the Throne had precious little to say about the single biggest economic opportunity ever presented to Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this government has no bottom line, no vision, no foresight, no plan and no backbone and is squandering the jobs and the economic benefits Nova Scotia should be receiving from the Sable gas project;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately table in this House any documents and demands he has made of Mobil and its partners with respect to the Sable gas deal in relation to jobs, economic spinoffs, availability of gas for Nova Scotians, processing of liquid gas by-products, the laterals throughout Nova Scotia, price advantage and the royalty agreement.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 38]

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 12

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 government gave $47 million to its private partners to build super technology schools in select areas of the province, such as the Education Minister's own riding; and

Whereas most schools in Nova Scotia continue to operate with inadequate supplies and, indeed, schools like Annapolis Royal Elementary and West Kings High suffer problems of overcrowding, poor air quality and are even being declared fire hazards; and

Whereas teachers and principals, such as Vic Fleury of West Kings High, accuse the province of setting up a two-tiered education system;

Therefore be it resolved that this government put an end to the establishment of the two-tiered education system in Nova Scotia and, instead, ensure that all students will have access to the same educational opportunities, no matter where they live.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 13

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

Whereas Devco Chairman Joe Shannon recently reported that rock gas outbursts at the Phalen mine, "could spell the end of future development at Phalen"; and

Whereas last April the Cape Breton Development Corporation signed a deal to sell Donkin, Devco's only other real asset, to a private company for one dollar; and

Whereas if Phalen is the future of Devco, the future of the miners, the future of their families and the future of their industry are at risk;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the federal Liberal Government to stop its "Donkin for a dollar deal" so that there is hope for a better future for the 700 workers at Phalen, their families and the Cape Breton coal industry.

[Page 39]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 14

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

Whereas directions are being incorrectly provided and response times slowed down as a result of the chaos surrounding Nova Scotia's 911 system at the present time; and

Whereas this chaos exists on two fronts, in both the 911 emergency communications centre and the new ambulance dispatch centre with volunteer fire departments and ambulances being paged to calls over 300 kilometres away; and

Whereas to date the minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Emergency Measures Organization is washing his hands of these difficulties and allowing his senior officials to swim on their own in attempting to correct the major deficiencies which, to date, they have been unable to totally correct;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Emergency Measures Organization immediately appoint an independent consultant, as requested by the Halifax County volunteer fire chiefs earlier this week, to investigate the ongoing problems with 911, so that measures can be implemented and the lives of Nova Scotians no longer be placed in jeopardy.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 15

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

[Page 40]

Whereas the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia has placed the hardship of an unfair and harsh new taxation scheme upon the people of this province; and

Whereas the new BST is especially harmful and punitive to those Nova Scotians who can least afford it by increasing the cost of essential items like heating fuel and clothing; and

Whereas the Premier promised during his leadership campaign and during the recent by-election in Cape Breton North to address those unfair aspects of the BST but has since done nothing;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the new Premier for failing to fulfil his promise to alleviate the tax burden on low income Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 16

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and congratulations on reaching the top.

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

Whereas yesterday's Throne Speech stressed the need for the federal government to recognize and meet their obligations towards upgrading facilities at the Halifax International Airport before it is privatized; and

Whereas to date the Premier has run into a brick wall with the federal government in attempting to alleviate some of the horrific measures imposed upon Nova Scotia by Prime Minister Jean Chretien and this government; and

Whereas Halifax International Airport requires $45 million in short-term funding for upgrades before the Halifax International Airport Authority can take over effective day-to-day operations of the facility;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier, who said in Bridgewater in June of Last year, "I have a good knowledge of Ottawa which I think is going to be important," show how that knowledge will benefit Nova Scotia by securing additional funding required by the airport authority.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[Page 41]

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 17

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union recently released a report that described frightening inadequacies in the province's homes for special care, including lack of basic medical supplies, overworked and poorly trained staff; and

Whereas the Liberal Government's failure to amend the long outdated Homes for Special Care Act and its misguided health reforms have added to the difficulties and frustrations experienced by administrators and staff; and

Whereas despite promises from the two previous Ministers of Health that they would deal directly with the critical issues that threaten the health and safety and well being of the residents in homes for special care;

Therefore be it resolved that the ministers immediately sit down with representatives from the Homes for Special Care Association to develop the details and the teaching plan with time lines for dealing with all outstanding issues and further that it commit to amending the Homes for Special Care Act without delay.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Have a standing vote!

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I understood there was unanimous consent of the House to that last motion.

[Page 42]

MR. SPEAKER: There was not.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: It is clearly a divided House and I ask that there be a recorded vote.

MR. SPEAKER: There were several Nays when I actually put the vote to the members of the House when I asked for passage of the motion.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 18

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

Whereas this Liberal Government, including the present Premier, has consistently ignored the citizens of Windsor-West Hants and their concerns about bed shortages in the Hants Community Hospital in Windsor; and

Whereas since becoming Premier on July 13th, he has totally ignored letters I have written to him about making more beds available; and

[10:30 a.m.]

Whereas yesterday's Throne Speech mentioned the additional funds for health care totalling $100 million in fiscal 1998-99;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier stop turning a blind eye towards the Hants Community Hospital and make a portion of that $100 million available to the Hants Community Hospital, to ensure an adequate number of beds and staff can be maintained to ensure the health needs of 23,000 people can be adequately addressed, and people not be forced to lie on stretchers in outpatients because no beds are available for them to be admitted to a room or ward.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 43]

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 19

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

Whereas during the Liberal leadership race, the Premier promised to negotiate a better Sable gas deal for Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Liberals, believing Mr. MacLellan to be a man of his word, selected him to be their Leader and Premier based in part on his Sable gas promise; and

Whereas since his elevation to the Premier's chair, Russell MacLellan has done nothing to change the Sable gas deal so that it benefits Nova Scotians through better gas rates, the establishment of a lateral pipeline to Cape Breton, or an improved royalties arrangement with Ottawa;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier either deliver on his promise to get a better Sable gas deal or resign, so Nova Scotians can elect a new Premier who will.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 20

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

Whereas a crisis exists on many Nova Scotia farms due to a feed shortage caused by this summer's drought; and

Whereas many livestock farmers are reporting the reduction in feed available to them to be, in some cases, over 50 per cent; and

Whereas Nova Scotia beef farmers who were looking to expand their herds in 1997 are now facing a reduction of their herds by up to 25 per cent because of the feed shortage;

[Page 44]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately have his Minister of Agriculture and Marketing come forth with a program that will protect Nova Scotia's livestock, instead of merely supporting a federal taxation initiative that assists farmers, facing a feed shortage, in reducing the size of their herds.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 21

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

Whereas instead of working to eliminate the toll highway under the direction of Premier Russell MacLellan, the Minister of Transportation has moved to provide a major subsidy to the Atlantic Highways Corporation; and

Whereas the Premier has said nothing about the approximately 80 people now looking for new jobs as a result of the opening of that toll highway; and

Whereas when contacted in Winnipeg recently about why the province forked over millions of dollars in advance to the Atlantic Highways Corporation, the Premier said that, the Minister is the best one to answer that question, "I can't remember what it is";

Therefore be it resolved the Premier make it a priority today to bring himself up to speed on the issue that will do irreparable harm to Nova Scotia's economy and ensure no more private corporations, whether they are building highways, schools or hospitals, are provided with millions of taxpayer's dollars prior to the project's completion.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 22

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

Whereas Sam Elsworth has been active in scouting since he joined as a youth, and later served as a scout leader for 28 years; and

[Page 45]

Whereas he has also worked hard to serve and promote scouting at provincial and national levels in his role as a Nova Scotia Provincial Commissioner and the Chairman of the National Policy Committee; and

Whereas he reflects the spirit of scouting through his kindness and caring for others and he has earned the respect of people throughout the world;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Sam Elsworth upon receiving this Silver Wolf Award, the highest rank in scouting, and for the great honour of being selected to serve as the National Commissioner of Scouts Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for a passage without debate.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 23

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

Whereas on November 17th, the YMCA of Greater Halifax-Dartmouth awarded its annual Peace Medal to the Tri-Community Inter-Agency Council (TRIAC) "14 Days in December" initiative, an organization which promotes peace in eastern Halifax County; and

Whereas "14 Days in December" are known for their commitment to promoting the resolution of conflict by peaceful means; and

Whereas next month this organization will again be working throughout the Eastern Shore to promote good will and understanding between families, neighbours, and communities;

[Page 46]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate "14 Days in December" on being awarded the Peace Medal and wish them every success in the future as they continue to devote their efforts to a very worthwhile cause.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 24

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

Whereas at the meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on November 19th, the Deputy Minister of Education referred to teachers as among the worst prepared professionals with respect to adapting to high technology; and

Whereas it is patently clear that such a general condemnation is not only inappropriate, it is demoralizing for the men and women who each day meet their individual and collective responsibilities to educate the young people of this province; and

Whereas Nova Scotia teachers work hard to maximize opportunities for their students within the policies and budgets set by government and school boards;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the teachers of Nova Scotia for the intellectual vigour which they strive to bring to the classroom each day.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 47]

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 25

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 Throne Speech would have Nova Scotians believe that this province will be bailed out on several fronts by the Premier's Liberal buddies in Ottawa; and

Whereas from the toll road, to the BST, to the new helicopters, the Premier has shown an inability to get the time of day from his Liberal buddies in Ottawa; and

Whereas the Premier's Liberal buddies in Ottawa are now planning further deep Defence cuts that could mean the loss of up to 2,000 jobs in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demand that the Premier start making good on his promise to be an unrelenting advocate for Nova Scotia by standing up and fighting against plans by the Liberal Government in Ottawa to further slash military and civilian Defence jobs in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 26

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

Whereas the Premier and his Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs are refusing to provide details to the Cooperative Housing Federation of Nova Scotia about their negotiations with Ottawa concerning the transfer of cooperative housing responsibilities to the province; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has to date refused to support the Cooperative Housing Federation in their attempt to transfer administration of co-op housing programs to a new non-governmental agency; and

Whereas this private sector management proposal would not cost the Nova Scotia taxpayer anything;

[Page 48]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs immediately move to provide 100 per cent support to co-op housing by refusing to sign any transfer of social housing responsibilities to the province involving co-op housing.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 27

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

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is using strong arm tactics in his dealings with Nova Scotia truckers; and

Whereas at a recent meeting between the Department of Transportation and Public Works and the Truckers Association of Nova Scotia, a Transportation civil servant demanded an apology be written to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works if the truckers were to work effectively with the Department of Transportation; and

Whereas the president of the Nova Scotia Trucker's Association was told to write an apology and fax it to the civil servant before putting it in the provincial newspaper;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works publicly inform Nova Scotians today that he does believe in Joe Howe's motto of "free speech" and will not at any time in the future attempt to strong-arm Nova Scotia truckers and intimidate them into accepting the minister's motto of "my way or the highway".

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 28

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 yesterday's Throne Speech reflects the government's commitment to recycling when it comes to education; and

[Page 49]

Whereas team teaching, peer mediation, zero tolerance, conflict resolution support groups, and other initiatives have all been part of the education system in Nova Scotia for years, and the warm and fuzzy commitment to reducing class size can be found in the previous Throne Speech with no known results since then; and

Whereas the Throne Speech contains no admission of the government's real agenda which is to sell our children on the open market and make bucks off their backs from education inc.;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be condemned for its failure to address the many pressing issues facing education in Nova Scotia today such as reversing the downloading onto the property taxpayer, fixing the funding formula, keeping schools in small communities open and providing support for students with special needs.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 29

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

Whereas against its own committee's report, the Liberal Government inked a deal with ITT Sheraton and brought casinos to Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has given in to demand after demand made by ITT Sheraton, which now includes 24 hour, 7 days a week gambling and free drinks to high rollers; and

Whereas as the Nova Scotia Restaurant and Food Service Association has indicated this is destroying long-time businesses and jobs by giving ITT Sheraton an unfair advantage;

Therefore be it resolved that the government be condemned for yet another bad deal, bad faith, bad management and a bad decision.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

[Page 50]

RESOLUTION NO. 30

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

Whereas the Liberal Government is failing the very individuals to whom it publicly apologized only two years ago; and

Whereas those abused within provincial institutions are being revictimized, having again suffered another abrupt policy change in the compensation process; and

Whereas the Liberal Government's changes take away vital basic rights as are upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, such as privacy of medical records;

Therefore be it resolved that immediately the Department of Justice place the compensation process into the hands of an independent arbitration commission so that the matter can be finally resolved for both victims, the abused and the those falsely accused.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 31

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

Whereas the importance of National Child Day is all too obvious when in our own backyard, in New Brunswick, we so recently witnessed the court trial of the death of a 28 month old, Jacqueline Brewer; and

Whereas the judge said Jacqueline was neglected, dehydrated, and forgotten in her crib at home where she lived in loneliness, squalor and misery with her parents under the supervision of social workers, health care experts and child protection officials; and

Whereas all governments talk about the emphasis they place on the child and their importance to our future, but most lack in real policies to support these statements;

Therefore be it resolved that the government, with the impetus of National Child Day, show its commitment to its Throne Speech pledge to "do more for children, especially during early childhood, life's most critical stage", and explain just what plans it has to support their pledge.

[Page 51]

[10:45 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 32

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

Whereas the Premier while campaigning in the Cape Breton North by-election promised to changed the Workers' Compensate Act to reduce its devastating impact on many injured workers; and

Whereas yesterday's Speech From the Throne contains nearly 100 promises but makes no mention of the needed changes in the Workers' Compensation legislation; and

Whereas injured workers should not be forced to wait one day longer than necessary to get fair and humane treatment from the Workers' Compensation Board;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the Premier of his pre-by-election commitment to injured workers and urge the government to bring forward improvements to Workers' Compensation as soon as possible.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 33

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

[Page 52]

Whereas this province has a long and distinguished history of royal connection going back to and including the Duke of York's tenure in Halifax; and

Whereas our present Queen, a descendant of the Duke, has reigned proudly now for 45 years; and

Whereas our Queen and Consort, the Duke of Edinburgh, are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary;

Therefore be it resolved that congratulations be offered to the Royal Couple, on behalf of my constituents of Lunenburg, the members of this House and all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

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 Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: I would ask the Speaker to recall the order of business, Government Notices of Motion.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 34

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

Whereas November 20th commemorates two historic United Nations events for children: the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989; and

[Page 53]

Whereas the Convention on the Rights of the Child addresses many key aspects of the lives of children and youth in Nova Scotia, including education, health care and community service support; and

Whereas the healthy growth and development of Nova Scotia's children depends on the quality of environment provided by our community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes its key role in improving the welfare of Nova Scotia's children and dedicate itself to enhancing and promoting the well-being so all of Nova Scotia's children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

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 Health

RESOLUTION NO. 35

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

Whereas November 20th was designated in Canada as National Child Day and children are our future but their needs are now; and

Whereas this date celebrates two historic events: the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989; and

Whereas the early social, mental and educational development of children depends on their rights of access to adequate nurturing, literacy, nutrition, shelter and personal safety;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commit to the uniqueness of the needs of all our children by ensuring their rights under the United Nations Declaration and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

[Page 54]

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

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I move that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be now resumed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, before I continue where I left off yesterday, all of us in this House are aware of the tremendous responsibility we accept when we agree to come to this place and represent our constituents. I have had the distinct pleasure for the last four and one-half years of representing my constituents in the Towns of New Glasgow, Stellarton and Trenton. All of us who accept provincial responsibilities are less accessible to those that we represent back home. They suffer, perhaps, sometimes that our attention is divided, but I am truly honoured by those who chose to send me here in 1993 and I know that I share the feeling with all members of this House that it is a responsibility that none of us should take lightly.

[Page 55]

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I concluded my remarks by asking the Premier to consider overnight the legacy of his Liberal Government over the last four and one-half years. It is a legacy that will be remembered by many Nova Scotians as a period of tremendous upheaval; as a time when government was so bad that government changed its leadership during its first term, as government itself was so dissatisfied with its actions. It is a legacy that will be remembered for bad deals, bad faith, bad decisions and for the bad taste it leaves in the mouths of Nova Scotians.

The Liberal Government came to power and immediately set out to tear everything down, turn everything upside down. With autocratic zeal, it set out to reform our health care system. Hospitals were closed, beds slashed and health care workers turned out onto the streets. It abolished local boards, and replaced them with politically appointed regional boards with huge powers, little direction, less information and absolutely no accountability. The results have been disastrous.

Nova Scotians do not have improved access to better service. It is worse. Nova Scotian communities don't have a greater say in local health care decisions. They now have none. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians certainly aren't getting better dollar value for health care spending. In fact, again, the exact opposite is true.

Taxpayers are spending $68 million more today for health care than they did four years ago and they are getting a lot less, a whole lot less. Nova Scotians in need of care are losing out, taxpayers are losing out. Consider: four hospitals have closed; beds have been slashed by over 30 per cent; thousands of health care workers have been let go; there has been a freeze on new nursing home beds resulting in a backing up of nursing home patients in acute care beds in our hospitals. Insured services have been cut by millions and we have lost somewhere in the vicinity of 200 doctors in four and one-half years. The Children's Dental Program was cut. Seniors have been dinged with a new $215 annual premium and still many of their prescriptions aren't covered. But, Mr. Speaker, here is the rub - taxpayers are spending $68 million more. And for what?

For home care? It is practically invisible, far too limited, and more often than not, totally inadequate. Is the spending for improved ambulance service? Taxpayers are paying for a whole new division to look after Emergency Health Services and we have never heard so many complaints about dispatch confusion and delays in responding to medical emergencies. Despite what government would have you believe, many EMTs and first responders are not yet trained in IV, defibrillation and intubation.

So where, oh where are our health care dollars going? They are going into four new administrative structures; four new dysfunctional structures called regional health boards. The government has replaced nurses at the bedside with bureaucrats in armchairs. The result is a critical shortage of doctors, patients on stretchers in hallways, overcrowded emergency rooms, delayed hospital admissions and/or treatment, premature discharges, patients without

[Page 56]

doctors, huge pressures on families trying to cope with inadequate or non-existent home care, huge pressures on hospital and nursing home staff trying to cope with a whole lot less but expected to do a whole lot more, longer wait times for diagnostic services and surgery. On top of all this, Mr. Speaker, taxpayers are kicking in an additional $68 million.

Now yesterday's Throne Speech promised more money for health care, another $40 million on top of what had already been announced. Mr. Speaker, I urge this government to examine where its health care dollars are going now and to commit every available dollar possible to patient care and wellness promotion. I urge government not to waste another dollar, not another penny, on an already bloated and dysfunctional administrative system in health care delivery in this province. Let's start spending health care dollars on health care itself.

Now, with autocratic zeal, Mr. Speaker, this government forced municipalities to merge, saddled municipal taxpayers with millions in new costs and contributing to a lost sense of community identity and control. With autocratic zeal it imposed the blended sales tax on consumers who now pay a tax on the cost of survival, on the cost of keeping warm, on the cost of clothing children, on the cost of learning, on the cost of stamps and on the cost of caring for an ageing or failing or ailing family member.

Despite voting in favour of the tax while in Ottawa, and I believe if you check the record that the Premier did vote for this tax change while he was sitting in Ottawa, the Premier has had a conversion matching that of Paul on the road to Damascus. He now admits that it is an onerous and unfair tax. Damascus must be somewhere between Ottawa and Halifax.

This Premier pledged to relieve Nova Scotians of the added cost of keeping warm; he pledged to relieve them of the added cost of clothing children and he pledged to relieve them of the added cost of school supplies. I looked and yesterday's Throne Speech said precious little about relief from the blended sales tax. The cold weather is here and school is in and Nova Scotians are getting the cold shoulder from the Premier on his promise of blended sales tax relief.

With autocratic zeal this Liberal Government set out to reform education. It created huge, unruly and, for far too many communities, inaccessible school boards. The government's promise of $11 million in savings from amalgamation of school boards erased as quickly as yesterday's lesson plan.

Of course, there is the government's bizarre public-private partnering experiment where taxpayers pay a premium price for three new schools. The Liberal Government's Field of Dreams - if we build it, the lease will come - a bizarre we buy, we sell, we rent it back scheme in yet another classic case of Liberals failing to do their homework, of Liberals moving full speed ahead with little more than a foggy notion of how they hope things will turn out. It is

[Page 57]

hard to believe that before they figure a way out of the mess, the mess they created with their P3 schools scheme, already they are talking about P3 hospitals, P3, pay the premium price.

[11:00 a.m.]

What would happen, Mr. Speaker, if the government does not reach an agreement with their private partners who have built or are building eight schools across the province? What will happen to the Hammonds Plains School that the Premier promised will be built before the end of 1998? What happens to all the other communities that have been waiting for word on the future of their new schools? What happens to communities waiting for repairs to contaminated schools, or to expansion for those that are already severely overcrowded?

What will happen to the government's promise of no more deficit financing if the government cannot reach an agreement with its private partners? It is like everything in this province right now, it is all up in the air.

Our government members make light when they are challenged, but these are vital and legitimate questions and yet not one member on the government side - not one - has addressed any of these, and it certainly has not been addressed in the Speech from the Throne. It is all up in the air, along with the government's foggy notion that public-private partnership is the answer to all our problems. There is still not one public-private partnership that can be called successful; despite that, the government plows on. In fact, the P3 experiment will likely prove to be the beginning of a whole lot more problems.

The government set out on a plan that will result in a two-tiered education system, where some students will enjoy all the advantages of the bells and the whistles while too many others study from photocopied textbooks. All because the government is building a few Cadillac schools when what we really need is a fleet of sturdy Chevies.

Nova Scotians were hopeful. Nova Scotians had reason to be hopeful that the promised benefits of Sable gas would help us pay for decent health care and build new schools. They were hopeful that this would be the beginning of the end of our have-not status, but that hope has quickly turned to disbelief as unemployed construction workers watch as the majority of jobs go elsewhere; as Nova Scotia businesses watch as the majority of contracts go south or overseas, angered because there are no local preferences clauses in any contract.

Consumers watch as the prospect of a break on high energy costs evaporates along with the invisible guarantee of gas to Nova Scotians. The Premier stands on the sidelines and watches along with them; he watches it all unfold like a dispassionate observer.

The joint review panel scolded government, admonished government for its lack of vision in preparing Nova Scotians to take advantage of all the opportunities that Sable should present. It condemned the government for a lack of foresight in research and development and

[Page 58]

for its failure to develop a long-term economic development strategy. What has been government's response? It has not said a word and it has not done a thing. The Premier is far too busy listening to industry scuttlebutt to develop any kind of meaningful response to the concerns outlined by the joint review panel. He is far too busy devising a secret plan for keeping Sable gas liquids in Nova Scotia to deal directly and decisively with SOEP so that Nova Scotia is assured it will be the principal beneficiary of the Sable Gas Project.

What could possibly be the big secret? Why do we need another secret deal? What could possibly be the government's reason for wanting to keep Nova Scotians in the dark about its plan to protect Nova Scotian interests? I believe the cold, hard truth of it is that this government has no plan. It had no bottom line, it had no vision, it had no foresight and it has no plan.

Mr. Speaker, this is Nova Scotia's gas. Nova Scotia should have access to it, as much as we can use. It must be widely and readily available throughout this province and Nova Scotians must get a price advantage over all other jurisdictions and if these conditions aren't met, it would be better left in the ground.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Accord clearly states that Nova Scotia is to be the principal beneficiary of the development of our offshore. The government tore up the accord in favour of striving for the bare minimum. I ask the Premier, where are the promised benefits? Where are all the construction jobs that Nova Scotians were promised? Where are all the contracts that were going to be provided to Nova Scotian companies and where are the guarantees that tell us how much Sable gas will flow to Nova Scotia? Where are the plans for laterals to Cape Breton, to northern Nova Scotia and to points west of Halifax? Can the Premier show us a single piece of paper, a single agreement that will give Nova Scotians some comfort that they will have access to their own gas?

Can he show us a single piece of paper that will give Nova Scotians some comfort that there will be a gas industry within the province that will create jobs, that will reduce our horrendous energy costs, that will give us a strong foothold when competing against other jurisdictions for investment, industry and new job opportunities? Nova Scotia's gas is destined for Bangor, Boston and Saint John. It will be used by other jurisdictions in their pulp and paper industries, in their manufacturing plants and in their refineries. We are shipping our own resource out to give everybody else a competitive economic advantage over us. That is some plan, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier, Premier, tell Nova Scotians what you have done in response to the joint review panel's damning report of your government's failures. Tell Nova Scotians what demands you have made of the SOEP partners who stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars of profit from Nova Scotia's gas, profits that will flow out of Nova Scotia as fast as the gas itself. Tell Nova Scotians why you are so content to sit silent like a dispassionate observer while the gas and all of the benefits it promised flow out of this province.

[Page 59]

The single biggest economic activity and opportunity ever presented to Nova Scotia and, Mr. Speaker, this government is blowing it big time. This government is squandering our opportunity to develop new industry, to create new jobs and to generate desperately needed revenue to support our real needs. But this isn't the only opportunity this government is squandering. I would like to give you just a few quotes from what is going on in the world while this government sleeps.

A well-established multimillion dollar textile company with plants throughout the world was looking at job-starved Cape Breton as the site of a major manufacturing facility. I want to quote, Mr. Speaker, and I know the government members don't want to hear this, but we will proceed despite all that. Now this is a quote and it is Saturday, November 15th, in the Saint John Telegraph Journal in their Business Section: "North Shore in race for 1,500 new jobs. Bathurst and Caraquet and competing with Cape Breton for a new textile plant.".

Now I will read a few quotes - we will table this, you will be able to read it all - "The textile manufacturer promising 1,500 to 2,000 full time jobs over two years is currently . . .", and currently is in the last week, ". . . undertaking recruiting drives in Bathurst and Caraquet to see if there are enough skilled workers. An initial offering of 356 jobs with a toll-free information number.".

Here is the kind of reception they are getting in New Brunswick: The Chaleur Regional Development Commission general manager said that within five years textiles could be the biggest industry in northern New Brunswick.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many jobs is that, again?

DR. HAMM: Well, going up jobs that will eventually reach 2,000. So we have a situation on Saturday, November 15th, when it is Bathurst and Caraquet and Cape Breton. Now I have a little quote here from the November 20th Saint John Telegraph Journal. What does it say? "Cape Breton bows out of Ranka job race.". Well, they bowed out because they were not in Cape Breton recruiting, they were in New Brunswick recruiting for employees. That is what happened.

I have a quote here, "We are not actively pursuing Ranka.", said Peter MacLellan, Nova Scotia's Premer MacLellan's Director of Communications in an interview with the Telegraph Journal yesterday, yesterday being November 19th. This is a direct quote from Peter MacLellan, "Right now we're not pursuing the Ranka opportunity because we feel it doesn't meet with our development strategy.". This is Peter MacLellan speaking for our Premier - 1,500 jobs doesn't fit with our development strategy?

[Page 60]

Well, I would like to read now what the development strategy is, from the Throne Speech yesterday because this is an enlightening paragraph. This really gives the people of Cape Breton confidence that this government is going to provide jobs in Cape Breton. They were not interested in 1,500 actual jobs but this is what they have to deal with, this is what the Speech from the Throne offers to the people from Cape Breton: "We will build on our industrial heritage. My government believes there is a future for steel and coal. We will form an industrial commission and ask the federal government to participate with us in developing a common approach to industrial development, a common strategy reflecting our responsibilities for steel and the federal role in coal.". Well, that is all well and good.

Where did this company originally go to look to locate? They wanted to come to Cape Breton. A meeting was organized in Cape Breton. I am only raising this, Mr. Speaker, because there have to be answers to these questions. A meeting was set up on August 27th and senior Ranka officials were to come to Cape Breton because they wanted to discuss the jobs and bringing those 1,500 or 2,000 jobs to Cape Breton. Three hours before they were to leave to get on the plane - they had their tickets bought - they were told not to come. These people represented jobs, jobs that paid a decent wage. They paid $7.50 to $13 per hour. While that is not a get-rich scheme, it looks pretty good to an unemployed Cape Bretoner whose unemployment insurance has run out or is on welfare. (Applause)

[11:15 a.m.]

They got that same open-door policy that has been the trademark of this government over the last four and one-half years: the government said, don't call us, we will call you. Officials from the Economic Development Department actually called the company's representatives and told them - get this - cancel your plans, your plane tickets and your hotel reservations and don't bother to come to Cape Breton Island. Why? Why would they be asked not to come and look at Cape Breton Island?

What is the role of the Premier in all of this? It would seem to me that representing the people of Cape Breton for 18 years, he would understand better than anyone the hardships that the lack of jobs create in Cape Breton and right across Nova Scotia. When this was brought to the attention of the public on October 29th - bearing in mind that negotiations by this province had been going on for months to bring over 1,500 jobs to Cape Breton Island - when the media approached our Premier, he had to confess that he had never heard of the company. He had never heard the name of a company that was negotiating for four months to bring jobs to Cape Breton Island.

AN HON. MEMBER: Peter must have forgotten to tell him.

DR. HAMM: Yes, but when he finally heard about it, this was his response: they only make underwear. Well, I remind the Premier, so does Stanfield and so does Windsor Wear and so do hundreds of other companies around the world that provide jobs and a livelihood

[Page 61]

for thousands of their employees. (Applause) Good-paying jobs and hundreds of them, but the Premier doesn't seem to like what they manufacture.

Imagine how welcome that Ranka must have felt when this became public and there was criticism being directed at the government as to how they were handling negotiations. Our Minister of Economic Development, on October 29th, referred to this company as a sweatshop, not much wonder that they are up in New Brunswick and not in Cape Breton Island today. He obviously didn't do his homework. On the one hand, the day he slammed the company, he still said, but we are still in negotiations.

The excuse, and to this point an unsubstantiated excuse, that the Economic Development Minister gave was, he said the demands were too rich for taxpayers. Well, what price do you pay for 1,500 jobs in an area with an unemployment rate that they have in Cape Breton. We paid $10 million to Newbridge for 50; we paid $7.5 million to Shaw's for 150; we paid $27 million to Michelin; we paid $14 million to AT&T. How much do we pay for jobs in Cape Breton? I don't have the answer, Mr. Speaker, but I want to hear the answer from government.

I want to hear from this government what the Director of Communications meant when he said, "We're not actively pursuing Ranka . . . because we feel it doesn't meet with our development strategy.". Well, I just read the development strategy from the Speech from the Throne and that doesn't give me any confidence. When they talk about northern New Brunswick, they say that within five years the manufacturing textile industry could be our major economic activity in that end of the province. The Premier talks about steel and coal, and I know they are important, but wouldn't it be nice to develop a textile industry in Cape Breton. Let's diversify. Let's look at something different. Let's be innovative and let's not scare away the next company that comes to Nova Scotia with jobs in its back pocket.

What I can't figure out, Mr. Speaker, the Premier's Director of Communications says, ". . . it doesn't meet with our development strategy.". Another official said, "It doesn't fit.". I don't think there is any problem and I don't see any problem in fitting 1,500 jobs in an area with 15,000 unemployed. I don't see that that is any problem at all. I ask the Premier to tell me why Ranka isn't welcome and why it doesn't fit?

This government has chased away a new opportunity for hundreds of decent, well-paying jobs that would have been a major lasting and positive impact on the Island's economy. This is a disgrace. It is a disgrace that companies are coming to Nova Scotia and bringing jobs in their pocket and the Premier, months later, admits he doesn't even know they were there. You can't help but wonder what other opportunities has this government lost out on as a result of its bureaucratic standoffish approach towards attracting investment and jobs to Nova Scotia. I have no doubt there have been many other lost opportunities, Mr. Speaker.

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Of course, my socialist friends to the left would say, don't give a nickel to any company that makes so much as a dime of profit. The NDP acronym really stands for - No Darn Profit.

It would be an ideal world if we didn't have to compete for jobs. If the jobs just kept rolling into Nova Scotia and the 60,000 unemployed that we started with in 1993 would, in fact, eventually get work. But, Mr. Speaker, it isn't an ideal world. If we deny the reality that other jurisdictions are offering inducements for business and industry to locate in their province, we deny any real hope of progress. We deny any hope of meaningful job creation and, in fact, we put what we already have at risk.

The inducements that we offer for business and industry to bring their jobs, their spinoffs and their revenues to Nova Scotia must include strict provisions that guarantee that the investment will pay long-term dividends.

In this province we are blessed with a tremendous number of natural advantages. We have an eager workforce and a strong work ethic. We have universities and world-class research facilities, we have theatres and a rich and enviable cultural environment. We have a fantastic mix of city life and rural tranquillity. These are all positive inducements and we should be doing much more to promote them.

Mr. Speaker, it is truly foolhardy to think that these alone will grow our economy. It is foolhardy to think that we can deny the reality that we have to compete, as much as possible, on the same terms and conditions as other jurisdictions for the jobs, spin-offs and the revenue that Nova Scotia so desperately needs.

Mr. Speaker, I have spent a good portion of my time reviewing the Liberal legacy over the last four and one-half years. I hope, as I suggested yesterday, this Premier at least spent last night reviewing and considering the same legacy. There is nothing in yesterday's Throne Speech for anyone to chew on. There is nothing in yesterday's Throne Speech that will bring one ounce, not a single ounce, of comfort to Nova Scotians worried about the future of health care, education or their community. There is not an ounce of comfort for those who are unemployed; not an ounce of comfort for those who thought they would get a break from the dreaded blended sales tax; not an ounce of comfort for those who expected a change in direction from the previous four and one-half years of bad deals and bad management.

Mr. Speaker, administrators, staff and, more particularly, the families of those who have loved ones in our homes for special care, and who are worried about their health and safety, will hardly be comforted by, "The long-term care sector has made significant contributions to the overall health and well-being of the population. The Ministers of Health and Community Services will be convening almost immediately to begin efforts to ensure this sector gets the attention it deserves.". Two successive Ministers of Health have been promising that this would happen for well over two years. They will hardly be comforted by

[Page 63]

the words in the Throne Speech that promise the ministers will get together almost immediately.

Mr. Speaker, what about students with huge debt loads, worried about further increases in tuition fees? They will hardly be comforted by, "My government will work with the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education to address funding levels for the next four years and distribute funds appropriately.". What the heck does that mean? It means absolutely nothing. The entire Throne Speech was just more of the same.

No matter what the concern, what the issue, Nova Scotians will not find an ounce of comfort in the words, more specifically, in the rhetoric and the platitudes contained in yesterday's Throne Speech. This is a document generated by a government that has run out of ideas. The cupboard is bare. Changing leaders is a dying gasp of a desperate administration and this is the result of the lack of foresight and vision that this administration has. This provides no hope for a future here in Nova Scotia for any of us. Thank you.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, here we are again, just seven months later and another Speech from the Throne. I am sure you will recall that back on April 11th, when I led off the Throne Speech debate for our Party, I expressed the wish that it would be the last, the final Throne Speech of the Liberal Government. That was not to be, but I live in hope. Surely, this will be the last time that we have to sit over here and listen to the kind of malarkey that we heard yesterday. I will be getting into the substance, or lack thereof, of the Throne Speech in a few minutes, but this is a Throne Speech, whether we need one or not, and there are certain welcome formalities that go with such events.

As I begin, I would like to join with other members of this House in extending my congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker, on your election as Speaker and to express the view that based on your performance so far, you would easily have won a free vote if we had decided to go that route finally in this province.

[11:30 a.m.]

I also want to congratulate our newly elected members: the Premier, the member for Cape Breton North; the new member for Cumberland North; the new member for Halifax Citadel; and of course, my new colleague, the member for Cape Breton the Lakes.

I would like to extend my condolences and those of the New Democratic Party to all who have lost loved ones since we last met. In particular I would like to mention Michael MacDonald, a former member of this House and a past Leader of the CCF/NDP. Mickey, as he was known by many, whose contribution to the cause of working people in this province in both local and provincial politics is immeasurable.

[Page 64]

I also note the passing of two women whose lives enriched our Nova Scotian community: Alice Loomer, a long time crusader for social justice; and Emma Ryan of Ryan's River, Cape Breton. Finally, I will mention two others whose connections to Nova Scotia were tenuous but whose contributions were significant: Ron Cavalucci, our former provincial secretary, who as an adopted Nova Scotian contributed so much to our breakthrough in the federal election; and of course, Stanley Knowles, a person with South Shore roots whose great dedication to our democratic and parliamentary traditions are an example to be followed by all members of this Assembly.

I would also take this opportunity to say welcome back to the staff, the Pages and Messengers, the interim Sergeant-at-Arms, Mike Laffin, the staff of the Legislative Library and the Clerk's Office, the Hansard Office and the Legislative Television crew. I know that they will continue to serve the members of this House well and also the citizens of Nova Scotia.

Before I begin my comments on the Speech From the Throne, I will first make a few remarks about my constituency, Halifax Atlantic. I am honoured that for the seventh time I have the opportunity on behalf of the residents and the community of Halifax Atlantic to bring greetings and best wishes to you, Mr. Speaker, and to all members of the House. Halifax Atlantic is in many ways a cross-section of Nova Scotia. It is both urban and rural. It has within its boundaries city streets and fishing communities like Sambro. The residents of Halifax Atlantic come from all walks of life, all income and occupational groups. It is a cross-section of Nova Scotia and what this Liberal Government does has a direct impact on the people of Halifax Atlantic.

Like residents in other parts of the province, the people of Halifax Atlantic continue to live with anxiety about their future and that of their children. They have concerns about jobs, they are worried about what is happening to our health care system and our education system. They see basic services deteriorating while government squanders resources on private super schools and handouts to wealthy corporations. They see a government with the wrong priorities and they say it is time for a change of government.

I will come back later in my speech and talk in a bit more detail about Halifax Atlantic and the people who live there but I want to deal now with the speech delivered yesterday by His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor. This is the second Speech From the Throne for 1997. The first one you may recall, was entitled "The Tide Has turned".

Like the one we heard yesterday, the speech last April was not much for substance. In fact, some of the puffery from the April speech has been recycled into the latest version. But while the content of the April speech was not much, the title was right on; the tide had turned, although not in the direction the Liberals imagined.

[Page 65]

We saw the results last June 2nd when the voters of Nova Scotia turfed the federal Liberals out of office in this province. We saw the results again in July when those same Liberals tried to put together a life raft, skippered by the new MLA for Cape Breton North. We are seeing the results of the turned tide with this new document. The Liberals having seen the turning tide washing them all out to sea brought forward the document read yesterday by His Honour. It announced that the government is taking a new direction. In other words, the life raft is on a new tack.

You see, this government, the Liberal Party, they have read their polls. They have looked at the political calendar and they have charted a new course for themselves. The polls tell them that the priorities of Nova Scotians are for jobs, for decent health care and good accessible education. After arrogantly pursuing their own priorities for four and a half years the Liberals are now telling us that they will pursue the priorities of the people of Nova Scotia in one final desperate attempt to get back into port.

The Throne Speech read yesterday was as clear a sign as you can get that the Liberals are desperate. They are so desperate to get re-elected that they will risk sailing onto the rocks and once again sinking the accounts of this province in a sea of red ink.

The Throne Speech shows us that Liberals will say anything and do anything to get elected. Before the 1993 election the Liberals told Nova Scotians what Nova Scotians wanted to hear about jobs, health care, education, fair taxes, respect for collective agreements, community economic development, day care spaces and so on and so on. When they got into power they broke all of the promises that they had made.

Now, four and a half years later we have the same Liberal Government with a new frontman, bringing forward a Throne Speech which contains nearly 100 promises. That is not counting a whole bunch of other promises that this new frontman made while running for the leadership or in the Cape Breton North by-election. Some of those promises seem to have been forgotten altogether.

Something else seems to have gone by the boards as well. The Liberals phony balanced budget. We know the budget for last year was not balanced because the Auditor General told us so. We know that the budget brought in this year is not balanced either. The provincial auditor told us that too. But at least until yesterday the Liberals put on a show of pretending that the budget was balanced. They took pride in their virtual balanced budget. Mr. Speaker, you heard all the talk about it in this Chamber. They do not even bother with that anymore. Promise the moon. Promise the pie in the sky. Anything you want, it is yours. $25 million and change for a super school in the Education Minister's own riding. No problem. $27 million for Michelin. No problem.

[Page 66]

Does anyone in Nova Scotia actually believe that the government can keep promises, the promises contained in the Throne Speech, and still balance the budget? Does anyone believe that the Liberals will keep more than a handful of the promises contained in this document? I suspect you will find more people who believe in the tooth fairy or that Elvis is still alive.

You see, there is a Jekyll and Hyde story that is going on here. A Jekyll and Hyde story that emerges from the Throne Speech. In this story Dr. McSavage becomes Mr. Buclellan. As the Leader of the Opposition noted yesterday, the Premier, as the MP for Cape Breton-The Sydneys supported many of the sorts of policies that Nova Scotians rejected when they were implemented by the Savage Government. While in the House of Commons the then member for Cape Breton-the Sydneys did not just sit sheeplike while Paul Martin ran through his budgets cutting health and education transfers to Nova Scotia. He stood up proudly and he voted for them. While in the House of Commons McSavage did not just fail to oppose the BST, he voted for it. He did not just sit there when the cuts to UI came along. He voted for them too. Not only that, he spoke in favour of them. Until a few months ago it was hard to tell the difference between the policies of our current Premier and his immediate predecessor. But that was before the tide had turned, before the moon came up and Dr. McSavage became Mr. Buclellan, snake oil salesman extraordinaire, a reincarnation of the man who did more than any other to vault Nova Scotia to its status as the province with the highest per capita debt in this country.

Now the Jekyll and Hyde conversion we see in this Speech from the Throne is no accident, it is all part of the long and costly campaign by the Liberal Party to get re-elected. This campaign started many months ago, long before the member for Dartmouth South announced his decision to step down. But this Liberal re-election campaign that will fail, has forced Nova Scotians to go through months of lame duck leadership from the previous administration. It has subjected us to the incredible spectacle of Liberal leadership contenders running against their own government's record and it has burdened us with months more of on-the-job training from the current one.

You see during this exercise the interests of Nova Scotians have played second fiddle to the interests of the Liberal Party. I say that it is tragic that this is occurring at a time when Nova Scotians need strong leadership. Instead of leadership we get politics as usual from the Liberals. The Throne Speech reflects that. This Throne Speech is not offering Nova Scotians a vision for the future but a trip back to the 1970's and 1980's; instead of government for the 21st Century it is offering a return to a style of government that has promised everything to everybody but delivers only to its political cronies. Nova Scotians are fed up with that kind of politics and with that kind of government. They want change. Nova Scotians need a leader who will stand up to the federal government and say with some credibility that we have had enough of the cuts in federal transfers, enough of the cuts to our transportation infrastructure, enough of taking the brunt of federal Public Service cutbacks. We need a leader, Mr. Speaker.

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We don't need a leader who sat there and shrugged while the federal policies moved us further on the road to two-tiered citizenship in this country. Nova Scotians need a leader who will stand up for jobs. We need a leader who will say to the oil companies, and mean it, look, you guarantee that Nova Scotians will get maximum benefits from offshore natural gas or leave it in the ground. We don't need a leader who will make vague promises about negotiating a better deal and then turn around and rubber-stamp the sell-out of our gas. We don't need a leader whose inaction guarantees that Sable Gas will become one of the greatest economic development coups in the history of Saint John, New Brunswick.

Nova Scotians need leadership that will stand up for jobs by saying that we have better things to do with the $27 million than fattening the profits of Michelin Tire. This Premier is proving to be more adept at giving money to corporations than John Buchanan ever was. The Premier excuses the price tag, the $27 million for maybe 80 jobs, by saying it is really not about creating 80 new jobs. He says it is really about keeping Michelin from moving to the United States.

You see, in the Premier's mind and in the mind of the Leader of the Opposition that makes the handout all right. As the Leader of the Opposition said a few minutes ago, these are really inducements. To me it means giving in to blackmail and extortion. It is a distortion of true leadership. Michelin Tire has had its way with Liberal and Tory Governments for years - grants, loans and anti-labour legislation.

It is odd that in this Throne Speech Michelin Tire and Stora are mentioned in the same breath. If I recall, Stora set up in Nova Scotia with very little in the way of government assistance. Stora financed its current expansion with its own money, except for a provincial loan of $15 million which I understand has since been paid back. Quite a contrast, Mr. Speaker, from Michelin Tire, which can't seem to get enough from the public trough. Just this year Michelin got a big break on municipal taxes and an even bigger break with the BST, which allows them to stop paying sales tax on everything they buy. You know, that is not enough. It is never enough. They need another $27 million or it is, "Farewell to Nova Scotia". What will they need next year, or the year after that? Will the threats never end?

[11:45 a.m.]

As I said the other night during a nomination meeting, not far from the Michelin plant in Granton, we need leadership that will stand up to corporations like Michelin and say, no, we cannot pay. We will not pay. Finance your investments out of your own healthy profits, but we need more than that. We need to look at laws that will ensure that if companies like Michelin are ever foolish enough to move out in a snit that they will pay for the privilege through hefty severance and retraining packages for their workers.

[Page 68]

Mr. Speaker, we finally need leadership in this province that will start building an economy that will not be subject to the whims of multinational corporations. We need to have economic alternatives in our communities. We must have healthy small and medium-sized enterprises with real roots in our communities. We must focus our scarce economic development resources on small business, cooperatives and other community-based enterprises.

We must have an economy that welcomes big foreign-owned firms like Michelin or Stora; welcomes them, but is not beholden to them. It has to stop. We cannot allow the economies of our communities to be held hostage in far-off boardrooms. For too many years, Liberals and Tories have been lapdogs to corporate interests and they still are, I say. They have failed to stand up for the interest of Nova Scotians and they still fail to do so.

It is time for change. It is time for leadership that will stand up for jobs and against corporations that threaten workers with the loss of their jobs in order to extort favours from the government. We see none of that kind of leadership in the Speech from the Throne, and we see none that is now before the House.

We also need leadership, Mr. Speaker, on health care. This document gives us nothing but distortions and contradictions. The distortion occurs on Page 13 when the government announces that, "Our health care system is strong and will get stronger.", which proves that you can change the Premier and the Minister of Health, but as long as you keep the rose-coloured glasses the world looks just the same. This idea that our health care system is strong runs counter to what you hear in the real world. In the real world what you hear is an entirely different story.

In the real world you hear about communities that still cannot find doctors. You hear from front-line health care workers who are continuing to burn out from overwork. You hear from seniors who have had their home care cut back. You hear from people who have been sent home too soon from emergency or discharged from hospital because there are not enough beds available. You hear about a home care system that provides inadequate service, forcing people to pay privately for home nursing services and charging them BST on top of it. In the real world you hear reports about budget overruns and unexplained drop-offs and procedures at the QE II. You hear about administrative chaos and waste in regional health boards. In the real world you see growing evidence of privatization and extra billing setting the stage for a two-tiered health care system in this province.

The government's response, as described in the Throne Speech, is not only contradictory, it is totally inadequate. After saying, in one breath, that the health care system is strong, the government says it is going to sink another $100 million into it. Then it says it will appoint a panel of experts and community leaders, ". . . to evaluate the current directions for health care . . .", whatever that means.

[Page 69]

Nova Scotians may well ask, if the health care system is strong, why is it necessary to give it an emergency cash transfusion? Why do we need a special panel to study health care when we have had Royal Commissions, Blueprint Committees and study after study? The answer, I would suggest is that the Liberals have shown no leadership in health care reform. They have shown themselves adept at cutting and slashing and amalgamating and we see the results, a system that is dysfunctional and suffering from financial haemorrhaging. We have needed leadership for health reform, real health reform, Mr. Speaker, not health deform that has been practised by the Liberals.

If we are going to preserve and enhance our health care system in a sustainable way, we need real health reform, not cutting and slashing disguised as health reform. Health reform, Mr. Speaker, is supposed to be about reorienting the system, from one focused on disease and acute care to a system focused on prevention and good health.

This is what the 1989 Royal Commission Report told us. This is what the Blueprint Report told us in 1993. Those reports also told us that health reform is supposed to be about community-based decision making and about emphasizing primary health care. They told us that health reform is about attacking the poverty, poor housing and environmental degradation that are often the cause of poor health. Instead of health reform over the past four years, we have had budget cuts leading to a 30 per cent reduction in hospital beds before alternatives are in place. We have seen growing concern in communities across the province about access to primary and acute care. We have seen recommendations for decentralization, community-based decision making distorted and a top-heavy, top-down regionalization.

We have seen increased user fees for medical procedures, de-insurance of many procedures, premiums for Pharmacare coverage and a move toward privatization. All of these developments, Mr. Speaker, undermine the goal of comprehensive, universal health care for Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians want comprehensive universal health care. They want a government that will take the lead in securing that in the future. They don't want a government that will just throw more money at the problem and appoint another committee to avoid taking action until after an election.

Nova Scotians are also looking for leadership in education. They are not looking for a Premier who promises to build schools all over the province but can't tell them where he will find the money for them. Nova Scotians don't want a government that fritters away energy and resources on half-baked schemes for building fancy new schools without paying for them or at least not paying for them yet. But just wait until the credit card bill comes in, Mr. Speaker. Nova Scotians don't want a government that is promoting a two-tiered system of educational facilities in this province: nothing but the best for a few lucky students; unhealthy, run-down, inadequate facilities for the majority.

[Page 70]

Nova Scotians do not want an Education Minister who spent $25.7 million and change on an educational Taj Mahal in his own riding while failing to address, in any meaningful way, a $32 million deficiency in funding for students with special needs. Nova Scotians are looking for leadership in solving the problems facing education and students in this province. They didn't get it under the previous Premier and they are not getting it from this Premier. The Throne Speech now before the House is full of vague, vacuous and vapid promises about education, including a slight restatement of the Triple V promise of last April on class sizes. In April, this government was going to reduce class sizes which could mean lower pupil-teacher ratios. Now they are promising just to reduce large class sizes. Now what does that mean, Mr. Speaker? Does it mean they will accomplish reducing large class sizes by increasing small class sizes? I think it is important that all Nova Scotians stay tuned for massive school closures.

Outside of the vague, vacuous and the vapid, there was no vision for education in this Throne Speech. Will the Liberals relieve overcrowding by increasing the number of teachers in the system? Will they take steps to reverse the relentless downloading of educational costs onto the property taxpayer? Will they help the Premier keep his pre-election promise to fix the funding formula so that rural school boards are cushioned from the negative effects of declining enrolment? Will the Liberals take steps to help keep open schools whose existence is crucial to the future of small communities? Will the Liberals take seriously their responsibility for educating all students, including those with special needs? Will the Liberals do anything to stop the constant rise in tuition fees for post-secondary students?

Nova Scotians wanting answers to those questions are wasting their time looking at the Throne Speech. Nova Scotians looking for leadership on those issues are wasting their time looking at this Premier or this Minister of Education. They are too busy trying to draw up a lease-to-purchase agreement for a school that has already been open for 15 months.

Clearly Nova Scotians are looking for change. They are looking for representatives who will show leadership in tackling their priority problems of jobs, health care and education. They are sick and tired of governments like this who mouth platitudes about those issues before election and pursue their own priorities after election. Nova Scotians want representatives who will level with them about the state of the province's finances. They do not want a government to play shell games with the books, moving expenditures from capital to current and back again when it suits their need. They do not want a government that cooks up politically inspired back-room tax deals like the BST and then rams it through the Legislature against overwhelming public opposition.

You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that we called the BST the Boudreau-Savage tax, but except for the member for Halifax Citadel who was elsewhere at the time, every other member opposite, including the present member for Cape Breton North, supported that tax. Every single one. Each one of those members supported a tax that hit consumers with an $80 million tax increase on the necessities of life, while giving a $200 million break to large

[Page 71]

businesses like Michelin. Each member opposite, even the ones that are back in the ejector seats, sat there when not only the Opposition, but seniors' organizations, poverty organizations, labour leaders, clergy and everyday citizens told them that the BST would hurt the low income people of this province.

They passed it anyway, Mr. Speaker, but now the tide has turned. Now the Tide has Turned and there is a new direction and the moonlight has broken through. On Page 20 of the Throne Speech the government recognizes that some Nova Scotians, especially those with low incomes and little discretionary spending, are disproportionately affected by the harmonized sales tax. The speech then goes on to say that the government is, "examining ways to ease the tax burden on necessities". I mean, what hypocrisy.

I say let those of us over here save you some time, because we have suggested from early on and we will continue to suggest the following: Scrap the BST deal and use the 18-month period to come up with a comprehensive tax reform plan that reduces regressive, consumption-based taxes. In the meantime, ease the burden on necessities for low income Nova Scotians by asking Michelin for our $25 million back. They do not need the money. They already have profits over $500 million. Low income Nova Scotians need it to help to pay their fuel bills.

Of course, doing that would take some leadership. Doing that would mean taking a stand and maybe making someone in the federal Liberal Government or someone in the corporate boardroom unhappy. Clearly, we know from experience that that crew across the way would never do that, and that is why Nova Scotians are saying that we need change. That is why they are saying that we need representatives who will stand up and fight for their interests.

Nova Scotians are looking for leadership on fair taxes and fiscal management, just as they are looking for leadership on jobs, health care and education. What they are getting from the Liberals are vague, feel-good words designed to induce in Nova Scotians a state of amnesia. The last eight to ten months have been an elaborate attempt to convince Nova Scotians that the last four and one-half years of Liberal misrule was all a bad dream. The Liberal strategists and spin doctors hope that by changing leaders and spouting fantastic nonsense they can make Nova Scotians forget the last four and one-half years. It's not going to work.

[12:00 p.m.]

When we talk with Nova Scotians, they blame the Liberals, all of them, for betraying their trust. It was the Liberals, the provincial crew over there and the federal Liberals including the Premier, who ran on a platform of creating jobs then forced the layoff of teachers, health care workers and public servants when they got into office.

[Page 72]

It was the Liberal Party, not just the dear departed and the near departed Boudreau-Savage tandem, which promised health reform but once in office embarked on a slash and burn campaign against our health care system.

It was Liberals like the current Minister of Finance who were against harmonized sales taxes while in Opposition but staunch promoters of the BST once they were in government.

It was the Liberals, not just the Boudreau-Savage tandem, who flip-flopped on casinos and then refused to listen as Nova Scotians expressed their opposition in large numbers. Now it is the new Premier who seems to be bending over backwards to accommodate every wish and whim of ITT Sheraton.

Despite what some of the Liberal backroom boys would like Nova Scotians to think, the former Premier and the former Finance Minister were not the reason for Liberal unpopularity in this province. It was the fact that the Liberals misled Nova Scotians before and during the 1993 election campaign about their intentions. The Liberals told Nova Scotians they would do one thing and then they turned around and did the opposite. That betrayal is why Nova Scotians rejected 11 Liberal MPs last June 2nd and why some day soon they will reject this Liberal Government.

I indicated earlier that I was going to return to the subject of my Halifax Atlantic constituency. I will do that now because people in my constituency have shown me that despite all that this government inflicts upon them they are resilient, they are strong, they continue to work together to make a difference and to bring about change.

Change starts in the community one individual at a time or maybe a few neighbours working together making a difference. In Halifax Atlantic there are many examples of the kind of commitment that changes communities for the better.

Next weekend on November 29th, the Spryfield Lions Club will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Spryfield Lions Rink and will rededicate the rink to Frank "Wee" Martin, the driving force behind the project. A case of one man taking the lead and getting others to follow, finding a way to make things happen.

In their long tradition of service the Lions Club of Spryfield is an active partner in the formation of the first Boys and Girls Club in Halifax. George Miles and John Bayne are two of the driving forces behind the project. The Chebucto Boys and Girls Club opened this summer in space provided by the Lions Club and George and John have worked with the Captain William Spry Community Centre and other members of the community to make a difference in the lives of youth in our area.

[Page 73]

In Herring Cove this past July the volunteer fire department passed an impressive milestone, 30 years of service to the community. In the present climate of uncertainty in this amalgamated city of ours their dedication to the protection of peoples' lives and property is what community is all about. Working with friends and neighbours the volunteer fire department's women's auxiliary has raised thousands of dollars to buy equipment and pay for training. Individuals working together for their community.

Halifax Atlantic also has its fighters, people willing to stand up and say enough is enough. There are fighters like Paul and Cathy Kepkay whose concerns about the availability and affordability of home care came home when Paul's mother was dying of cancer. Even in their grief they spoke out against the inadequate home care that exists in this province, thanks to this government. They hoped their efforts would help others in the future.

Steven Anderson has also been willing to stand up, Mr. Speaker. His wife, Marion, injured in a car accident, requires attendant care which is not covered by Home Care Nova Scotia. He is prepared to pay for the attendant care. He has no choice because Marion needs it. What he does not want to pay for is the BST on top of it. He does not accept the government's rationale that he must pay tax because the service is not a medical necessity. What Steven Anderson is doing is fighting the buck-passing by the Minister of Finance and the federal and provincial finance officials. He is fighting to make a difference; he is fighting for change.

There are others fighting for change, fighting to make a difference: people like Don and Ruth Swan, battling for the cancer treatment that Ruth needs; people like Maureen Reynolds and Helen Lofgren who continue to educate the public on health problems associated with chemical pesticides and organizations like the Williams Lake Conservation Company, whose mandate is to preserve the many lakes of Halifax Atlantic and who are working with people in the community to assess the impact of development on the lake system.

There are people like Tom Rhyno and his family, both on his side and on his wife's side, who are continuing to strike out on their own to develop new initiatives to bring their creativity and energy to work to set up new enterprises in our community to create jobs and bring economic activity to our community and to all of them, Mr. Speaker, we take off our hats.

Change starts when one person takes on the challenge of making a difference, whether it is building a rink, fund-raising for the volunteer fire department, speaking out on issues facing the community, taking on the challenge of setting up small businesses, the people of Halifax Atlantic are involved. That is why I have been so proud to represent them in this Legislature.

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The work of so many people in my constituency is an example of what a community can accomplish, despite a government like the one opposite that seems more interested in keeping the population passive and cynical. Mr. Speaker, a Throne Speech from a New Democratic Party Government would be much different from the one presented to the House yesterday. A Throne Speech from the New Democratic Party would stress the values of community. It would emphasize the importance of government as a tool for ordinary Nova Scotians to accomplish things collectively, like constituents in Halifax Atlantic have been able to do despite this Liberal Government.

A Throne Speech from the New Democratic Party would make it clear that jobs are the priority. If governments can set deficit targets and work towards them then can they not also set job targets and work towards those? There may be a shortage of jobs in our province but, clearly, there is not a shortage of work to be done. We need more health care workers, not fewer; we need more teachers and specialists, not fewer; we need more day care workers, not fewer; we need to fix our roads, our sewers, our water treatment facilities. We need to build up our social infrastructure, not tear it down.

A Throne Speech by a New Democratic Party Government would make sure that a $27 million provincial outlay would create a lot more than 80 jobs. We would also ensure that people of this province get maximum benefit from the exploitation of our resources. Unlike this government and this Premier who just talk about it, Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party Government would use the regulatory levers still available to the province to get more jobs for Nova Scotians in the development of the Sable project. We would push for rates, tolls and laterals that would ensure that Nova Scotians would be the prime beneficiaries of the project. We would make it crystal clear that natural gas liquids would be staying in the province.

A New Democratic Party Government would use every power we have to ensure that Nova Scotians get the maximum benefit from Sable. We would not do that, Mr. Speaker, as this government is doing, but we would not simply rubber-stamp the sell-out of our natural gas.

A New Democratic Party Throne Speech would contain measures to restore and enhance the quality of health care. We would show leadership in ensuring that our health care system is universal, is accessible, is comprehensive, is affordable and is publicly administered. A Throne Speech from this Party would also promise legislation to amend the Regional Health Boards Act to ensure that health reform will work the way it can and must - and that is from the bottom up.

A Throne Speech from this Party would have shown leadership on health care, on education, on jobs, on tax reform. We would not try to fool Nova Scotians into believing that we can solve all of the problems all at once. Any government needs time to carry out its program. But Nova Scotians should expect their government and elected representatives to

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be forthright with them. They expect their politicians to put the best interests of this province and the people in it ahead of their own partisan considerations; and they expect, above all, politicians to keep their word.

A Throne Speech from our Party would have offered the people of this province real hope - hope based on the belief that if we work together and respect and support one another we can do good things - even great things - as a community. And that's the kind of hope that Nova Scotians want, not more of the pie-in-the-sky hope offered to the favoured few by the Liberal Government.

This Throne Speech is sadly lacking in vision; sadly lacking in leadership, and sadly lacking in real hope. And it is not worthy of support. Therefore, I move that the resolution before this House be amended by adding the following words:

That this House lacks confidence in this Government because:

(1) The Speech from the Throne completely fails to show leadership in dealing with the real problems of economic insecurity and deteriorating health care, education and social programs. And instead of showing real leadership in dealing with the issues, concerns and priorities of Nova Scotians, the Throne Speech offers nothing but a pre-election smorgasbord of pie-in-the-sky promises.

Mr. Speaker, I would so move this amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to just comment first on one remark that the Leader of the NDP made in his tribute to Michael (Mickey) MacDonald who I join with him in that tribute because Mr. MacDonald was not only a tremendous individual, he was a fine Leader of his Party, he was an exceptional representative of his constituency, and to the day he died he had the respect of everyone who knew him; certainly everyone on Cape Breton Island. And to his wife and his children, I once again extend my heartfelt sympathy because we have all lost a very valued member of the community and they, of course, have lost a very valued husband and father.

I want to begin my remarks by saying how honoured I am to take my place in this House of Assembly, both as Premier and MLA for Cape Breton North. I want to welcome my fellow newcomers: Helen MacDonald from Cape Breton The Lakes, Ernest Fage from Cumberland North, and Ed Kinley from Halifax Citadel. I know that we all desire to give our constituents the very best representation.

[Page 76]

I also want to thank the people of Cape Breton North for their confidence in me. Their confidence is based on their aspirations for their future, aspirations shared by all Nova Scotians. A desire for real economic opportunity that reaches all parts of this great province and allows our young people to make a future here at home. A belief that communities benefit from basic building blocks such as schools and hospitals, and that small towns and rural areas should be vibrant desirable places to work, live and to raise a family. We need a health care system that engenders hope and confidence.

[12:15 p.m.]

As their MLA, I intend to work hard for the people of Cape Breton North. I am committed to the revitalization of the downtown area of Sydney Mines which is in a dilapidated condition and totally unacceptable and for the stabilization of Marine Atlantic in North Sydney. I am working with both Marine Atlantic officials and the federal Minister of Transport to secure this link. (Applause) Increased employment opportunities in Cape Breton North are essential and I will be working on those fronts to create jobs.

As their Premier, I intend to work hard for the people of Nova Scotia. As I went around the province this spring and summer campaigning for the leadership of the Liberal Party and I campaigned once again for my seat in the Legislature, I sat in kitchens and church halls and listened to the people who told me consistently that they want a government that listens first and discusses before taking action. Nova Scotians want a government that is direct and upfront and will bring forward its goals and outline how its plans will proceed and tell people, on a regular basis, how we are doing. I pledge to lead a government that listens and reflects on the priorities of people.

Nova Scotians told me they want recognition and protection for traditional values. This is a province of communities, of neighbourhoods where each place has its own culture, heritage and strong desire to succeed. We must protect and preserve small towns, rural communities and neighbourhoods. They hold strengths that we need to build on. (Applause)

What became very real to me was the observation that there are two economies in Nova Scotia. This phenomenon is, of course, not unique to Nova Scotia, but when we see the gap between urban areas where unemployment sits at less than 9 per cent while other parts of the province struggle between 16 and 18 per cent unemployment, this is just not acceptable.

My government is committed to spreading the job growth more evenly. We will take definite steps including training packages and new investment. We will ensure that manufacturing value-added production and new call centres benefit rural communities and regions across this province. At the same time, we must ensure that the wonderful economic renaissance that is taking place in metro Halifax continues to be nurtured and developed.

[Page 77]

We are revitalizing our local economies. Just look at how resource-based industries, some of the most traditional pillars of rural Nova Scotia, are aggressively adapting new technologies and winning new markets. I listened to the NDP, which sometimes is difficult, and I want to say that I just had to listen very carefully when I heard about this new-found concern about fiscal management. There, Mr. Speaker, are four people so covered in red ink they are like boiled lobsters. (Applause) They do not even know that ink comes in black. To listen to the condemnation of this government for the support of Michelin and still talk about needed jobs in the rural areas of this province, it is totally incredible. It is not the people in the Liberal Party that they are going to hurt by those ridiculous comments. People's jobs in those areas are safe thanks to the Liberal Government that made that commitment to make sure that the jobs are going to be secure, so those people are not concerned. The people that are concerned about the remarks of the Leader of the New Democratic Party are Bob White and Buzz Hargrove. These are men who are trying to unionize the Michelin workers and these people here in this House are saying they want the Michelin workers in South Carolina. How are they going to be told their jobs are safe if they unionize but not tell them how their jobs can be safe if they are in South Carolina?

I listened to the Tories, the song and dance act of the Leader of the Official Opposition when he talks about the company that he is promoting so vociferously, Ranka. (Interruption) Well, you certainly do because he gave a sidewalk press conference in Sydney very recently at the bequest of someone who was chagrined that they may not get millions of dollars if their land is not sold to Ranka. There was a very despondent representative of the Conservative Party.

It is interesting that somewhere by some light the Tories have rediscovered Cape Breton. We now know that there are people without jobs, incredible. For 15 long years not one industry was put in Cape Breton by the Tory Governments of John Buchanan and Donald Cameron, not one. (Interruption) No, I don't want to say that they didn't put them there, they were there for a couple of weeks until the funding could be reapplied somewhere else in Ontario or the United States. What they did was raise the hopes of the people of Cape Breton that work was going to be there, plants were built but never used.

We have monuments to the Tory inefficiency and callousness to the people of Cape Breton throughout the Northside Industrial Park, Sydport and wherever you want to go in Cape Breton, something that was started, promised but never materialized because they were completely callous to what the people needed. They didn't research who was going to be getting the money, they didn't care who got the money, they just wanted to put a plant there, completely insensitive to whether those jobs would ever be followed through with or not.

We have listened now to the Leader of the Official Opposition saying that he is not too concerned, he doesn't put too much stake in steel and coal. That is not part of his concern right now. Tell that to the miners who are not working in Lingan-Phalen because of a rock burst, because of gas leaking into the pit, because of water coming into Lingan-Phalen.

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Everybody in Cape Breton who is concerned right now that that pit and those 700 jobs may be lost to the economy of Cape Breton, just tell them that.

Oh, gee, we did not mention the Tories' yeast cake politics of Ranka, an industry that started with 200 jobs and while the Leader of the Opposition spoke it went from 1,500 to 2,000, in a period of 45 minutes. It is no wonder he thinks that northern New Brunswick is going to have a textile industry that is going to be their biggest industry; every time he talks it is going to go up and up. We will be bringing people into northern New Brunswick to fill the jobs pretty soon.

I am telling you, it is absolutely incredible - we have more Tory policy of not researching what they are doing, not giving any consideration to the future and what works - absolutely incredible that anybody would vote Tory in Cape Breton after the last 15 years. Just take the steel plant. An absolute devastation of administration during the 15 years by that government. Piling up debt after debt, billions of dollars between themselves here in Halifax and their Tory friends in Ottawa, so now we have the legacy that we have today and the concern of the steelworkers in Cape Breton.

AN HON. MEMBER: How can they come to the House . . .

THE PREMIER: All I was saying, Mr. Speaker, anybody in Cape Breton who would vote Tory would be like the guy who lost $5.00 at the hockey game and another $5.00 in the instant replay. (Applause) (Interruptions)

We have been going throughout this province listening to the people, looking at the concerns that they have. I visited workers and operators of aquaculture operations in Pubnico last weekend, where local producers are growing oysters and mussels that are being sought by European restaurants and global consumers. Nova Scotia produces a quality product that is second to none. It is the best in the world and over 50 per cent of these entrepreneurs are under the age of 30.

Nova Scotia is on the leading edge of many trends, and they are not all economic or industrial. The international explosion of Celtic music is just one example. It is bringing young and old together. It is bringing visitors to our province. It is bringing business opportunities to our communities and it is bringing opportunities to our young people. It is bringing pride to us here in this province as well.

For 10 days in October, Cape Breton came alive with Celtic music and culture with over 200 performers and presenters, 27 concerts and ceilidhs and tens of thousands of happy music lovers from all over the world. The first annual Celtic Colours Festival was a huge success. The impact of the festival was felt all over the Island, from the barn at the Normaway Inn to the creamery in Port Hawkesbury to the fire halls of Christmas Island and Big Pond. The festival was dedicated to the memory of the late Cape Breton fiddler and educator,

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Archie Neil Chisholm, who was a tireless promoter of Celtic music and culture and I am sure he is smiling now.

Nova Scotian communities continue to show us that they are very much alive and proud of their roots and their talents. Just last week I stood in a former military training base in the Annapolis Valley. I saw people celebrating the birth of a new furniture plant. (Applause) Value-added exports and local jobs. Only a few short years ago the naysayers had written off that area. It was a story of lost hopes and frustrated dreams but efforts led by local people turned the community around. Cornwallis Park now boasts the Pearson Peacekeeping Training Centre, a tire recycling plant and many small manufacturing operations, in addition to this value-added resource industry. Hundreds of new residents have homes on the former base, bringing new wealth and vitality to the area. It is an example of what can be done. If the Opposition Parties would listen, they may realize what can be done. It is an example we intend to build on because it is an example of how empowering the people is the only way to build a secure future.

[12:30 p.m.]

The Opposition on the other side of this House constantly want to look back. My government is looking forward. What a bright future we have in Nova Scotia. A Louisiana food company recently visited Yarmouth. The company is interested in locating there, attracted by our Acadian roots, strong work ethic and committed to our quality of life. The company president said; "Nova Scotia needs someone shouting its virtues." (Applause) He is right, the naysayers are determined to drive opportunity away. They believe that their only chance of feeling needed is through sowing the seeds of discontent and building a culture of misery.

Nova Scotians want someone to boost our traditions, promote our new-found strengths and protect our values. This government will shout those Nova Scotia virtues to the world. You know, everywhere I go in Nova Scotia these days the mood is upbeat. It is becoming very clear to all of us that Nova Scotia is being placed, by good management and fortunate circumstances, to lead the economic revival of Atlantic Canada. The mandate for this government will be to identify the opportunities for growth and prosperity that are just over the horizon for this province, to remind Nova Scotians that this is an exceptional time for all of us, this moment to be pursued, to be seized and developed by leaders who believe in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians and who believe in the capability and determination of their neighbours.

Nova Scotians deserve leadership that is resolute in its belief that this looming prosperity is our birthright and will not be taken away by anyone or any organization. That is what they expect, and we are not going to disappoint them. The government is going to deliver to the people of Nova Scotia the opportunities, the advantages and the security they deserve. They are going to do it with direct, responsive leadership, leadership that is not

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afraid to make sensible exceptions to general rules but, in doing this successfully, will take the time to include, listen and explain to Nova Scotians what we are doing and why.

First class health care, functional education, public safety and a stronger economy are our priorities. After what this province has been through with the Tory Administration, after Nova Scotians have worked so hard to turn the corner, we are not going to let the naysayers and pessimists turn us back now. (Applause)

I believe with all the potential we have now that Nova Scotia is going to be a winner but a decade from now people will be talking about the new Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, this government believes that this Nova Scotia is the brightest promise of the new millennium. It is a gift that we can give to ourselves and our children as we mark the year 2000. We will show Nova Scotians that unlike the Opposition, this government is committed to the next generation, not just the next election. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to work with the people of this province, listen to their ideas and to develop our communities throughout this great province. This is one of the greatest pieces of real estate on the face of this earth. The people of Nova Scotia need that. They want to know that their representatives in Halifax know that. We do know that on this side of the House and in the Liberal Party. We are going to be working with them to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. (Applause)

A lot has been said about health care and education, natural gas, other opportunities that lie before this province. We will be seizing those opportunities and there will be more said about those opportunities as we go through this session of the House. There is also a great opportunity for us in Nova Scotia to work with other provinces in fostering national unity. We are going to be promoting, with the other two Parties, a committee on the Calgary framework document to hold hearings in this province, to travel to certain communities in this province to listen to witnesses and, in conjunction with one another, we will be presenting to this Legislature a resolution for consideration by the House. It is hoped that these hearings can proceed quickly and effectively. I look forward to working with all members of the House in this regard.

National unity is not something we can take for granted. This is a vital heritage and we have a rich heritage in this country and we have to recognize this heritage. We cannot take our unity of this country for granted. We have to be cognizant that it is as fragile as the attitudes of people who live in this country are sometimes fragile. We do not want anything to happen to the unity of this country. There are 10 provinces and two territories, we want to maintain that union. This is, as everyone in this country will agree, the finest country in the world in which to live. (Applause)

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We must, as a Legislature and as people of Nova Scotia, look at what we stand to lose if we are not successful and look at what it is we may be asked to make a concession on, if we want to keep this country together. The framework document is a good document, I believe. It is something that allows us to tell the people in the Province of Quebec that we know their situation, we want them to be part of this country, we want equality of all provinces in this country and we recognize the importance and the contribution of our aboriginal people. That is not too much to ask.

I know that the people of this province see the future of this country as paramount and that they will work with our committee and, together, the people of Nova Scotia will have this opportunity to make the contribution to the Legislature, through this resolution. This resolution will reflect what the people of this province will tell us.

I want to say again what a privilege it is for me to be the member of this Legislature from Cape Breton North and to be Premier of this province and to have the opportunity, with my colleagues, to work towards the achievement of the goals and aspirations that people of Nova Scotia see for themselves and their families. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East. (Applause)

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I rise once again to speak on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. Initially I want to first congratulate yourself. We had the great pleasure of sitting side by side for quite some time in the House of Assembly. Of course I knew this Speaker some time before because when I was on Reach for the Top, he used to be the quizmaster. The only problem I had is that he remembered two or three people, I guess there were a couple from the House, that he remembered being on Reach for the Top, but he did not quite recall me. I can only suggest that at the time I was slim with an Afro, that could have been some difference. In any case, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you, and I want to congratulate our Premier because this decision to place you in this chair was an excellent one and I know you will do an excellent job. (Applause)

We also happen to have a new Deputy Speaker, and once again, I had the great pleasure of sitting near the member for Eastern Shore for quite some time. I want to congratulate him also. I know he is going to do a good job and I will coach him as best as I can, of course.

AN HON. MEMBER: He has rushed ahead though, Bob.

MR. CARRUTHERS: I know he has rushed ahead, we are all rushing ahead and everybody in this Party is rushing ahead, you keep an eye on that and who knows. (Applause) Perhaps, most importantly, I want to give thanks and recognition to my constituents in that great constituency of Hants East. I heard mentioned a couple of times in a couple of the speeches today that Nova Scotia is a small community-based province. I want to tell you that

[Page 82]

Hants East, I think, is perhaps the best reflection of this whole province. I have always considered Hants East just a little Nova Scotia. It has got some urban mix, some urban-rural mix and some areas completely rural in Hants East. We have no towns, we have no villages. I believe you will find that Hants East reflects this province in its entirety. I feel that I have had a great responsibility, and I want a great deal of thanks given to those constituents who supported me.

I have had the pleasure, I hear some of the members in the Opposition say, good neighbour, and it is true that I have had the great thrill of being, well, a Liberal red seat surrounded by Tories and that is pretty hard to find in Nova Scotia, you know. A Liberal red seat surrounded by Conservatives. So, I do everything I can to help my good friends out there. I know I will continue to do so because help is exactly what they need.

Hants East is unique. I mentioned this before, but I do not mind bringing it to the attention of the House again. Hants East is a constituency that Highway No. 101 goes through and Highway No. 102, the two main arteries. I know Highway No. 103 is a pretty important artery too. We could name them all, but Highway No. 101 that is because it is No. 1 and Highway No. 2 because it is No. 2. These are two pretty important arteries and they go right through Hants East. I have always said, you can take a boat or two, but you really cannot get anywhere from Halifax unless you come through Hants East. This is important to recognize. I think we have seen that in the growth. This community, especially along our corridor region, along Highway No. 2 is the fastest growing area in all of Nova Scotia. I understand there is one little spot that sort of argues with me, and it says that they think they are the fastest growing. I tell you maybe we are tied, but we are equal to the fastest growing area in Nova Scotia, and with that growth comes a great deal of responsibility. With that growth comes a great deal of hard work on the behalf of our municipal, provincial and federal governments.

My municipal government in Hants East, I could tell you, a lot of governments all over this place could take a lesson from this municipal government. It balances its budget, it keeps it balanced, it watches its dollars, but it delivers the best bang for the buck. I want the Opposition, especially the Third Party, to pay attention to this because I understand they are now taking into account possible things like fiscal responsibility. Come on down to Hants East, we will teach you fiscal responsibility and the exceptions, but I want to compliment my municipal government on that and this government also. (Applause)

[12:45 p.m.]

I have heard my Leader say that the best card that we have is the balanced budget card and the economy card and I say that is true. That is something we set out to do when we started some years ago. The game plan is coming to fruition and when you balance and keep on it you have a few dollars to spend and spend those few dollars we shall because when you balance your budget and save for four years, now you have a couple of dollars you might be

[Page 83]

able to spend and you spend them with the best bang for the buck. Our economy, our health care, job creation and education are the best bangs for the bucks but we are not going to fire them around.

I couldn't believe when I heard some of the statements made in the press recently about some of the positions our Opposition Parties are taking. First of all, from what the Progressive Conservative Party were saying I couldn't tell whether they should be over to the extreme left or not and then did I hear right about the fiscal responsibility coming from the New Democratic Party, my Heavens. Well God bless you all. Did you hear about the terrorist bunch who captured the New Democratic Party and held them for ransom and here is what the threat was, if we didn't give in to their demands they were going to release them one at a time. In any case, I want to welcome you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to speak about health care for a moment because as I initially mentioned, we come from a rural area in Hants East. (Interruption) Now there is a good example, I hear them over there saying we have some problems with some of the hospitals in certain communities that we are working on, we are doing a good job to do so and I heard one member once say there was a problem that they had to travel 10 minutes to get to a hospital. Now, in Hants East there are 20,000 people and you couldn't get to a hospital if you were on any edge of my district in 10 minutes or anywhere near it, there is nothing new there for us, not for us. We support the Hants Community Hospital the best we can, the Truro Hospital is close to part of my district and the Halifax hospitals are closest to part of my district. (Interruption) Close? Now there the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley he says that they weren't close. Close to us, sir, is like 15 to 20 miles, that is close to us. It appears to me that is far to some of the people over there.

I want to tell you something that happened in my district. The first new clinic under the Northern Health Board opened up in Enfield, where people could go to the clinics, they don't have to go to Halifax, they don't have to go to Truro. These are big communities to rural people, it is a whole day when you have to go in there to get a blood test done. If you happen to be living in Walton or Noel and you have to go in there relatively early, people have to set aside a whole day. They have got to arrange transportation, it costs them money, it is upsetting to older people, now they can stay right in their communities. We have one in Shubenacadie that was started early in this government's mandate, one is in Enfield in this government's mandate and we have got one in Noel that we maintain ourselves. That is three in our communities where people, especially older people can go have their blood tested, their blood pressure taken and some of the smaller things that you shouldn't have to go into Halifax for or into Truro for to spend the whole day. That is because this government delivers the best bang for the buck and back in the community.

Home care is so important to my people, it is just so significant to my people. Is the home care system perfect? Of course it is not. We had to step in with an exponential budget bankruptcy coming in health care. We had to step in right away, you couldn't wait and say

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let's wait two or three years. Look, the plug would be pulled, the bankers would - well you have heard it all before. We had to step in but now look. All of the MLAs and I challenge the Opposition MLAs along with our government MLAs, certainly the home care system has a few bugs in it, we need to balance the hours of certain people. There are thousands and thousand of people in Nova Scotia, imagine 18,000 people on the home care system in Nova Scotia. How many calls did you get before compared to what you get now? I am telling you there is a marked improvement there. (Interruption) The member for Hants West says twice the people, well he probably got two calls, that makes four and that new math is going to bother him from here on in. I can tell you there are less calls, there are more people satisfied with our home care system than there ever was before and it is going to continue to improve.

Like the ambulance. I heard members opposite saying something about the ambulance care. I can tell you something. If you happen to have a heart attack in Walton, if you have a heart attack at Tennycape, I do not care how fast that ambulance service is and how perfect the roads are, you have a problem if you are going to wait to get to the hospital to get treated. You have a problem. It is a long way. These ambulances can treat you there. They will save lives over and over again. They are hospitals on wheels. They are not taxicabs and that is important to my people, I can tell you. They are hospitals on wheels run by respected (Interruption) They are very important.

I just heard the member for Hants West. Now he is criticizing the volunteer fire departments. I have heard it all. These people are being trained. I went to four or five . . .

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The member for Hants East said that I was denigrating the volunteer fire departments. I was doing nothing of the kind. I was praising the volunteer fire departments for being emergency responders, first responders, and doing what the ambulance service in this province should be doing.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order. It is a difference of opinion between two honourable members of this House.

MR. CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I never used the word denigrate. I think I said criticize, but I will tell you, it is hard to hear sometimes. I know the member for Hants West is interested in the volunteer fire departments, so I am glad we have straightened that out. It might be confusing to the public out there.

I can tell you this. I went to four or five annual meetings of fire departments in my district, I have about 10 or 12. Just recently I went to four or five, and I had the privilege of watching and assisting in the handing out of awards to firemen who have taken training over and over again in health care as first responder, and in two or three other areas. These people take this matter seriously. They are delivering. They need some assistance and we are going to help them, but I can tell you, I have nothing but the best to say about them.

[Page 85]

I want to talk about jobs for a moment. Hants East does not ask for a great deal. I can tell you, it is a pretty self-sufficient sort of outfit. We do our best to hold our own. I tell you what we do. We hope to have our share of jobs and our share of maintenance and that is what we are getting, and I see that (Interruptions) Here is the member for Kings North, he says the member for Hants East is too quiet. Well, I have heard a lot of criticism of Bob Carruthers, but I never, then again, maybe when you get a little older you do not hear so well now. I have a couple of years on you. We will talk again.

I just want to point out that the job share going to Hants East, because there are new jobs, people talk about percentage rates and percentage rates. There is a base number that is also important. How many new jobs do Nova Scotians have today compared to what they had yesterday or the year before? We have a pile more. You can ask this Minister of Finance. He has delivered. Some of them are in Hants East, and Hants West has some too, I agree. They have done quite well.

I know we are getting close, so I do not think I will get into the school issue at this point. I think we are adjourning at 1:00 o'clock today. Perhaps it would be wise to ask the House to adjourn, Mr. Speaker, because I want to return to a couple of really important subjects. One of them is agriculture, that I heard the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley mention. I want to talk about agricultural issues, which are warm to my heart and I shall return.

MR. SPEAKER: Since we are approaching the moment of adjournment for the day, I will recognize the honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all the members for their enthusiasm today. The House will now rise, to sit Monday evening at 7:00 o'clock. The order of business will be the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, on Monday evening.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to sit again on Monday at 7:00 p.m.

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 7:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 12:55 p.m.]

[Page 86]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

HOUSE ORDER NO. 1

By: Mr. Ernest Fage (Cumberland North)

I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Transportation and Public Works:

(1) Location of dispatch facilities for the Department of Transportation and Public Works employees in Cumberland County for the winter of 1997-98;

(2) Detailed list of winter operating equipment being made available to Transportation depots in Amherst, Oxford, River Hebert and Parrsboro, including the number of plows, four-wheel drive vehicles, et cetera; and

(3) Detailed list of full-time and part-time employees assigned for snow clearing operations in Amherst, Oxford, Parrsboro and River Hebert Transportation and Public Works depots.