The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Tue., Nov. 25, 1997

Sixth Session

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1997

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Routes 224 and 336 (Intersection):
Flashing Light - Install, Mr. B. Taylor 149
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Cape Breton West: Route 4 - Upgrade,
Mr. A. MacLeod 150
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Port Hastings - Chisholm-MacLean Road,
Mr. C. MacArthur 150
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Justice: Civil Procedure Rules - Amendments, Hon. A. Mitchell 150
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Winter Safety Day (26/11/97) - Declare,
Hon. D. Downe 150
Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Tourism Industry - Receipts ($1 billion),
Hon. Manning MacDonald 152
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 67, Election of Deputy Speaker (Mr. Keith Colwell), The Premier 155
Vote - Affirmative 155
Res. 68, Agric. - Royal Winter Fair (Toronto): Greenough Family Farm -
Success Congrats., Hon. E. Lorraine 155
Vote - Affirmative 156
Res. 69, Women: Violence Against - End, Hon. F. Cosman 156
Vote - Affirmative 157
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 3, Beaver Bank Act, Mr. William MacDonald 157
No. 4, Stewiacke Deed Transfer Tax Act, Mr. B. Taylor 157
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 70, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - C.B.: Ranka Opportunity - Loss Admit,
Dr. J. Hamm 157
Res. 71, Women - Violence Against: Abused Women -
Underfunding Action, Mr. R. Chisholm 158
Vote - Affirmative 158
Res. 72, Sport - Baseball: Hall of Fame (N.S.) -
Springhill Inductees Congrats., Hon. G. Brown 159
Vote - Affirmative 159
Res. 73, Women - Violence Against: Children & Families - Support,
Mr. D. McInnes 159
Vote - Affirmative 160
Res. 74, Fgn. Affs. (Canada) - Landmines: Treaty - Support Affirm,
Mr. R. Mann 160
Vote - Affirmative 161
Res. 75, Health - Emergency Medical Care: Deal - Reveal, Mr. G. Moody 161
Res. 76, Environ. - Sable Gas: Permits Decision - Details, Mr. J. Holm 161
Res. 77, Health - Reforms: Failures - Address, Dr. J. Hamm 162
Res. 78, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Port Hawkesbury:
Navitrak Internat. Estab. - Salute, Mr. R. White 163
Vote - Affirmative 163
Res. 79, Health - Amherst Reg. Hosp.: Funding Commitment - Fulfil,
Mr. E. Fage 163
Res. 80, Educ. - Hfx. West H.S.: Student Support Centre Launching -
Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 164
Vote - Affirmative 165
Res. 81, Health - MS: Betaseron - Pharmacare Include, Mr. A. MacLeod 165
Res. 82, Educ. - Duncan MacMillan H.S. (Sheet Hbr.): Council Estab. -
Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 165
Vote - Affirmative 166
Res. 83, Justice - Hfx. Correctional Centre: Officers' Petition - Review,
Mr. R. Russell 166
Res. 84, Health - Ambulances: Private Cos. - Negotiations Explain,
Mr. G. Moody 167
Res. 85, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Marine Atlantic HQ:
North Sydney - Secure, Ms. Helen MacDonald 168
Res. 86, Timberlea-Prospect MLA: Leadership Convention (Lib. [N.S.])
Promise (Sable Gas Deal Reversal) - Push, Mr. B. Taylor 168
Res. 87, Environ. - Sable Gas: Permits Decision - Reveal, Mr. J. Leefe 169
Res. 88, Premier: Return - Welcome, Mr. R. Chisholm 170
Res. 89, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101 Twinning
(Mt. Uniacke-Windsor): Anna. Valley Benefits - Recognize,
Mr. G. Archibald 170
Res. 90, Sackville - Northwood Foundation: Adult Day Prog. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Holm 171
Vote - Affirmative 172
Res. 91, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Road Construction: Incompetence -
Stop, Mr. E. Fage 172
Res. 92, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Truckers: Decent Rate - Provide,
Mr. B. Taylor 172
Res. 93, Veteran Affairs Comm.: Meeting - Call, Mr. A. MacLeod 173
Res. 94, Agric. - Greenough Family Farms (Hants. Co.): Commitment -
Commend, Mr. R. Russell 174
Vote - Affirmative 174
Res. 95, Sport - Golf: John Munroe (Abercrombie Golf & Country Club) -
Contribution Acknowledge, Mr. D. McInnes 175
Vote - Affirmative 175
Res. 96, Educ. - Schools: Construction - Privatization Stop,
Ms. E. O'Connell 175
Res. 97, Liberal Party (N.S.) - "Leadership That Listens": Slogan -
Condemn, Ms. Helen MacDonald 176
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Mobil Negotiations - Re-Open, Dr. J. Hamm 177
No. 2, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Mobil Negotiations - Decision Table,
Mr. R. Chisholm 178
No. 3, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: N.B. - Pipeline Benefits, Dr. J. Hamm 179
No. 4, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Mobil Negotiations - Demands, Dr. J. Hamm 180
No. 5, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: C.B. - Socio-Economic Impact,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 181
No. 6, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Mobil - Subsidization, Mr. B. Taylor 183
No. 7, Nat. Res.: Sable Gas - By-Products, Mr. G. Archibald 184
No. 8, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Environment Act - Authority Use,
Mr. R. Chisholm 185
No. 9, Nat. Res.: Sable Gas - Volume (N.S.), Dr. J. Hamm 187
No. 10, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Pipe Coating Assistance - Tender,
Mr. B. Taylor 188
No. 11, DND - Jobs: Cuts - Oppose [Gov't. (N.S.)], Mr. J. Holm 189
No. 12, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Goldboro - Stripper Equip.,
Mr. G. Archibald 191
No. 13, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 104 Western Alignment
Corporation: Liability - Financial, Mr. E. Fage 193
No. 14, Fin. - HST: Heating Fuels - Remove, Mr. R. Russell 194
No. 15, Educ. - Horton High School (Kings Co.): Construction - Costs,
Ms. E. O'Connell 195
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mrs. E. Norrie 197
Mr. J. Leefe 203
Mr. D. Richards 215
Ms. E. O'Connell 224
Adjourned debate 225
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
EMO - Emergency Serv. (911): Consultant - Appoint:
Mr. D. McInnes 226
Hon. W. Adams 229
Mr. J. Holm 232
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 26th at 2:00 p.m. 234

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HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1997

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Sixth Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gerald Fogarty

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Keith Colwell

MR. SPEAKER: We are ready to begin today's session of the House of Assembly.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of Upper Musquodoboit and area. They are requesting, ". . . a flashing light at the intersection of Routes 224 and 336. This is a very extensively travelled highway and commercial traffic on average is the highest on these Series (200 and 300) in the province.".

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

149

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MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition with 3,000-plus names. The operative clause is, "We the undersigned wish to draw to the attention of the Department of Highways, the unsafe driving conditions along Route 4 - from the East Bay Church to St. Peter's. The traffic volume continues to increase dramatically on Route 4, especially during the tourist season, and we strongly feel upgrading is necessary to help prevent the possibility of serious accidents.". I have signed my name in agreement with this.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. CHARLES MACARTHUR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of the Chisholm-MacLean Road in Port Hastings. The names are of approximately 25 families. I have affixed my name to the same and I wish it to be tabled.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as Attorney General, pursuant to Section 51 of the Judicature Act, I hereby table amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules that were made pursuant to the Judicature Act by the judges of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on May 30, 1997.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, honourable members, colleagues, we are approaching the winter season in Nova Scotia and as Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I would like to declare tomorrow, Wednesday, November 26th, Winter Safety Day in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, with the Department of Transportation and Public Works safety is a concern year-round, but each fall as weather begins to turn, we feel a responsibility to remind the public of the dangers of winter motoring. There are other safety issues that concern us in winter. This year, as part of the Winter Safety Day, employees of the Department of

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Transportation and Public Works will be talking to students in various areas of the province, providing them with winter safety packages for use in their classrooms and urge parents and teachers to talk to their children about safe play areas in winter. Mr. Speaker, we want to discourage our children from playing near roadsides or near dangerous snow removal equipment.

Mr. Speaker, I urge drivers in the province to adjust their travelling speed to the conditions, avoid passing snowplows in operation, watch out for black ice and, if possible, don't drive at all during storms. We want to remind people to have a winter survival kit in their vehicles for times when emergencies might occur and always keep vehicles in top working order. For many Nova Scotians, these are common sense practices, but sometimes winter sneaks up very unexpectedly.

I feel a responsibility to bring forward this reminder to my colleagues here in the House and all Nova Scotians. Please join with me and the Department of Transportation and Public Works in observing Winter Safety Day across Nova Scotia, November 26th. Thank you.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the statement by the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Winter Safety Day certainly sounds like it would be a very worthwhile initiative. I hope the minister would be kind enough to perhaps share some of the packages with his colleagues in the House. No doubt we would find them both informative and interesting.

I will conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying that it is rather ironic that the Minister of Transportation would be promoting and sponsoring a Winter Safety Day when, in fact, the truckers of Nova Scotia had to wait until the eleventh hour to negotiate an agreement to haul salt on this province's highways. All the Minister of Transportation did was give the truckers back what he took away from them. (Interruptions)

It is a little bit like dropping your shirt in the middle of the living room, your wife comes along and tells you, well, look, would you please pick that up and put it in the hamper, and for two days you might ignore her and then on the third day, you pick it up and put it away. You have created the problem, you solved it. (Interruptions)

So, it is rather ironic that that minister would come in with a Winter Safety Day in the eleventh hour when he made the poor trucker wait until the eleventh hour. (Interruptions) He played with safety, he potentially compromised safety and in the final analysis the truckers brought him to his senses. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

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The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, several of my colleagues suggested see if I can top that, well, I don't think that I can and I don't think that I will try.

I would just like to make a couple of observations through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister and that is, obviously, certainly this announcement is welcome. Any time that we are trying to encourage people to use common sense and to drive safely and be alert to the changing conditions, as they can, very quickly in this province and as you go from area to area, that is indeed important. Safety cannot be under-valued, we have to be conscious and constantly trying to alert people of the potential dangers.

It is also extremely important, I suggest, to continue to provide particular education to young people and to new drivers who may not be familiar with the changing circumstances.

I note in the minister's remarks, however, he said, ". . . we are approaching the winter season in Nova Scotia . . .". Many of us, Mr. Speaker, who have had the opportunity to drive across many parts of the province of late might say that we not only are approaching but we are well into the winter season in this province (Interruption) and certainly those who are paying the BST on home heat fuel now, of course, know they are into the winter season, as do those who are travelling the highways and byways and have encountered unsafe snowy and icy conditions.

One of the things that always struck me with the Department of Transportation is that winter appears to begin when the Department of Transportation says that it does and that there is a set day at which the Department of Transportation has its manpower and its equipment in place and ready to meet the winter needs. I am wondering if the minister could advise us if all of the personnel who are going to be hired to take care of our roads and to maintain safety and all of the equipment are now in place so that those who are motoring out and have to be out in inclement weather will know, in fact, that the minister has ensured that his department is up to full complement and able to the meet the needs? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. (Applause)

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement in my capacity as Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Today, I had an opportunity to speak at the 20th Annual Tourism Conference and Trade Show. I was honoured to be there to celebrate the partnerships upon which the tourism industry is built and on which the industry succeeds.

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I would now like to congratulate all those who have worked to create and build the tourism industry in this province. They have strived for excellence, Mr. Speaker, and their efforts are paying dividends.

The industry and government have long referred to a target - a measure of growth for the tourism industry. Well, I am proud to be the one who is able to report that this year the tourism industry in this province has hit the billion dollar mark. (Applause) For the first time ever, Mr. Speaker, tourism receipts will exceed $1 billion. This affirms Nova Scotia's position at the forefront of tourism in Atlantic Canada.

Mr. Speaker, tourism brings vital dollars to our urban centres and into our villages and rural communities. It creates jobs for some 33,000 Nova Scotians with this year's payroll estimated at more than $400 million.

This billion dollar news wouldn't have been possible without the strength of our partnerships: partnerships with communities, governments and tourism associations throughout the region; with transportation carriers and tour operators, with media and travel agents from all over the world; with hotel and restaurant proprietors; with our entertainers and vendors. In fact, we have a partnership with every Nova Scotian.

I was reminded of that, Mr. Speaker, while reading a letter to the editor in the paper last weekend. A visitor from New York wrote a letter to the editor after meeting Elliot Church from Hants County. Mr. Church gave the visitor and his wife a running commentary about the Bay of Fundy and the tidal bore. "What a wonderful ambassador of goodwill he is for your beautiful country," the gentleman wrote of Mr. Church.

A few weeks before that, another letter written by a couple from British Columbia commended the staff at Dollar Rent-a-Car and the people who stopped to help them. The couple was involved in a crash on their way to visit Peggy's Cove. Thankfully no one was hurt. A driver of a pick-up truck stayed with them while they waited for the RCMP and a courtesy van to arrive. When the van got there, the driver, president Jeff Appleton, drove the couple the rest of the way to Peggy's Cove for a visit and then back into town. The couple appreciated the friendly and hospitable people as much as they enjoyed the scenery.

[2:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, we are all ambassadors for Nova Scotia and all of us know how vital tourism is to our economy. But tourism is about more than economic gain. It's about community growth, an appreciation of our heritage and building for the future. It's about strength of spirit, hospitality and pride, the kind of pride that Mr. Elliot Church and Mr. Appleton demonstrated to two visitors recently and the kind of pride that is alive and well in the tourism industry of Nova Scotia. Thank you. (Applause)

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the minister's announcement today that tourism has reached the billion dollar mark. I actually mentioned that in my remarks last night in my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, that I hoped that we would be reaching it.

We have a wonderful province which we are all extremely proud of. We are proud of our own particular areas whether it be Pictou, Cape Breton, Yarmouth, the South Shore, Bridgewater or what have you. I think the province has been doing quite well on promotions. The Matthew this year was very important. A couple of years ago Louisbourg had a big program that brought a lot of people into the province. This year, Pictou County is having the Hector 225th Anniversary. It is things like this that will again continue to bring tourists to our great province.

I would ask the minister and I say this with tongue in cheek but I would like to know if the measurements are the same for the figures as they always were? I would ask the minister maybe if he could look into that at his earliest convenience. I am led to believe that the figures may have been derived by a different method than they have been in past years. I still say to the Minister of Tourism and I said last night, I think it is important that we promote Nova Scotia particularly in the New England States. With the way the dollar is today there are a lot of people down there for the 71 cents or whatever it is today, it is important that we continue to promote Nova Scotia and to bring people to our great province. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate all of the partnerships and people involved in the tourism industry in Nova Scotia and especially coming from Cape Breton, I think we have a lot to be proud of on that fair Isle as we do indeed in all of Nova Scotia. Tourism in Cape Breton continues to be, thankfully, alive and well.

I too did attend the annual tourism conference on Sunday night and took part in the trade show. I was very encouraged to see what was taking place there and was very pleased to meet the keynote speaker of yesterday, Mr. Tom Jackson. I guess my only caution will be that we don't put all of our eggs in one basket. Tourism is a great industry in Nova Scotia but it is certainly not the only economic lever that we have in this province. Thank you. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

[Page 155]

RESOLUTION NO. 67

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:

Resolved that the member for Eastern Shore be hereby elected Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for the election of the member for Eastern Shore as Deputy Speaker.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if we could ask the Premier to waive notice on that and deal with it today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice on the motion.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 68

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 Greenough Family Farm at Newport recently entered the Ayrshire heifer, Brixham Monroe Falcon into competition at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto; and

Whereas the Greenoughs won the reserve Junior Grand Champion prize at that competition in a class of more than 100 competitors from across Canada; and

Whereas the Greenough Family Farm has a record of excellence in dairy livestock breeding that spans four generations;

[Page 156]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Greenough family for the national recognition they have earned for their farm and for the Nova Scotia dairy industry at the Royal Winter Fair and extend to them wishes for continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable the Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 69

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 25th is the International Day to End Violence Against Women and marks the beginning of a period known as Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia November 25th also marks the beginning of the annual Purple Ribbon Campaign, culminating on December 6th which commemorates Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women; and

Whereas in spite of the progress that has been made, violence against women has not yet been eliminated;

Therefore be it resolved that all member support the movement to end violence against women through personal commitment, organizational support and community action, and that we make our commitment known by wearing a purple ribbon during the Sixteen Days of Action on Gender Violence.

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

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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. 3 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Name of Beaverbank. (Mr. William MacDonald)

Bill No. 4 - Entitled an Act Respecting Deed Transfer Tax in the Town of Stewiacke. (Mr. Brooke Taylor)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 70

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

Whereas an article in today's St. John Telegraph Journal reads, "Despite Nova Scotia premier Russell MacLellan flip-flopping on whether or not he is pursuing Ranka Enterprise the Markham, Ontario-based company isn't pursuing him,"; and

Whereas a spokesperson for Ranka Enterprise is quoted in that same article saying, "Not only are we interested in New Brunswick, New Brunswick is interested in us,"; and

Whereas that same article said Ranka Enterprise is looking to build a 150,000 square foot plant, creating 1,500 to 2,000 full-time jobs in three phases, including cut and sew, hosiery and dye-plant operations;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Economic Development admit that they blew a tremendous opportunity to strengthen and diversify Cape Breton's sluggish economy and, further, that they immediately apologize to their constituents and to

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the thousands of other unemployed Cape Bretoners who will remain jobless as Ranka bids farewell to Nova Scotia and embraces New Brunswick.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 71

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 seventh annual Purple Ribbon Campaign initiated by the Women's Action Coalition of Nova Scotia begins today; and

Whereas the purpose of the campaign is to remember the 14 women who died in Montreal on December 6, 1989, to remember all women who have died violently across Canada and the many thousands who continue to live with abuse; and

Whereas the Purple Ribbon Campaign also attempts to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of violence against women and to raise funds to implement solutions to the problems of violence against women;

Therefore be it resolved that this House observe the seventh annual Purple Ribbon Campaign by committing itself to dealing with the chronic underfunding of supports and services for abused women in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek 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 Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

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RESOLUTION NO. 72

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

Whereas Ackie Allbon, Carson Ellis, Lawson Fowler, and Buddy Condy, all of Springhill, have been honoured by the Nova Scotia Baseball Hall of Fame; and

Whereas these four gentlemen brought a lot of pride and commitment to all Nova Scotians and especially to the residents of Springhill; and

Whereas these gentlemen all had full-time employment but carried out their baseball activities through the love of the game and the commitment to their community;

Therefore be it resolved that these gentlemen receive the recognition that is truly deserving of the support of all members of the House of Assembly.

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 member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 73

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 Purple Ribbon Campaign has grown into a significant memorial known as Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence; and

Whereas November 25th marks the first day of remembrance with December 6th marking the anniversary of those 14 young women murdered at the École Polytechnique in Montreal; and

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Whereas in this last year in our province we continued to be witness to too many senseless murders and abuse of a spouse at the hand of their partner;

Therefore be it resolved that this government find within its vague Throne Speech commitment to work hard to support children and families, the resources to strengthen its policies of zero tolerance towards violence against women.

Mr. Speaker, I, too, would 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 member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 74

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

Whereas it is estimated that there are over 100 million landmines stockpiled throughout the world, with an additional 100 million still in the ground; and

Whereas landmines kill or maim over 26,000 people a year, which is 70 people a day, or one person every 15 minutes; and

Whereas the Government of Canada has shown real leadership with the Ottawa Process, which led to the international treaty, supported by over 100 countries, to ban anti-personnel landmines, schedules to be signed at the Landmine Conference next week on December 3rd;

Therefore be it resolved that this House go on record as supportive of this treaty and the efforts of the many people behind it, such as our former colleague, Dr. Ron Stewart, recently named to the International Round Table at the Global Ban on Landmines Treaty Signing Conference, who, with the Government of Canada, have collaborated on such an historic document.

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Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[2:30 p.m.]

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 Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 75

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 province has signed a letter of intent with the Emergency Medical Care, a subsidiary of Maritime Medical Care, giving it exclusive rights to purchase and control ambulance operations within the province; and

Whereas taxpayers and those who rely on ambulance service within the province would like to know if the deal with EMC protects their interests; and

Whereas the Freedom of Information Review Officer recently ruled that the department was wrong to deny the public access to information contained in the letter of intent it signed with Emergency Medical Care;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government reveal the contents of yet another secret deal by immediately complying with the review officer's ruling.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 76

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

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Whereas the Minister of the Environment, when asked if the Sable partners knew about the decision he had made regarding required Nova Scotia environmental permits, responded by first saying, "they don't know", followed by, "I'm not sure", "I didn't tell them", followed by, "Yeah, I'm sure.", we told them, and then concluded by saying he was unsure; and

Whereas the ever-decisive minister gave assurances he had made a decision and he would not tell Nova Scotians, the owners of the gas, because he said he wouldn't; and

Whereas the Minister of the Environment's first responsibility is to the people of Nova Scotia, not the Liberal friends in big oil;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demand the government come clean with Nova Scotians by telling them today the decision reached, along with any terms and conditions attached.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 77

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

Whereas Liberal health reforms have denied communities a voice in health care decision making, chased away doctors, created huge cracks in the system and resulted in an erosion of service from one end of the province to the other; and

Whereas the government has created four expensive and dysfunctional regional health boards that are bleeding dollars away from patient care and wellness promotion; and

Whereas this Liberal Government attempted to mislead Nova Scotians into believing it was putting more money into health care to expand or improve service delivery, when it knew full well the money was already spent on misguided reforms;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government immediately commit to addressing the fundamental failures of its health reforms by working with communities and stakeholder groups to identify critical gaps in service delivery, and that it begin addressing them without delay.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

[Page 163]

RESOLUTION NO. 78

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

Whereas this government proudly promotes information technology as a venue for industry and employment; and

Whereas Navitrak International has recently announced its decision to establish in Port Hawkesbury, employing 35 people; and

Whereas the Navitrak plant will be a great boost for local suppliers, including Carters Manufacturing who will have to employ seven additional people;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly join me in saluting our provincial government, the federal government and the Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency for working together to secure Navitrak's decision to locate in Port Hawkesbury, adding to the diversification of the economy of the Strait area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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 Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 79

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

Whereas in the midst of the by-election in Cumberland North the Premier assured Cumberland residents of his commitment to provide 75 per cent of the capital costs to replace the ageing and inadequate Amherst Regional Hospital; and

[Page 164]

Whereas despite his hesitation to accept public-private partnering for school construction, the Premier is now saying a variety of things, including he isn't in favour of, hasn't ruled out and is open to the idea of a public-private partnership for the construction of the Amherst Regional Hospital; and

Whereas the people of Cumberland County have already been used by this government as guinea pigs in its disastrous, costly and unfair public-private highway experiment;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier tell the people of Cumberland County that he will live up to his government's commitment to provide 75 per cent of the capital cost of the new Amherst Regional Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 80

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 ribbon was cut today launching the Halifax West High School Student Support Centre; and

Whereas this centre exists because of the vision and dedication of staff, parents, the community and the students; and

Whereas this centre will provide a wide range of much-needed support including community health nursing, social work, tutoring, sexual health information and a food bank;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Halifax West school community, especially the students, on the launching of this much-needed range of services.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 165]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 81

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

Whereas new, effective drug therapies such as Betaseron are proving effective in reducing the number of multiple sclerosis attacks and lesions; and

Whereas because Betaseron is not covered under the province's Pharmacare Program, many Nova Scotians suffering from MS are denied relief from this disease; and

Whereas other provinces understand the value of Betaseron in reducing the suffering of MS patients and cover the costs under their Pharmacare Programs;

Therefore be it resolved that the province recognize and address the suffering of MS patients by immediately listing Betaseron under its Pharmacare Program.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 82

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

Whereas the Duncan MacMillan High School of Sheet Harbour yesterday signed an agreement establishing a school council; and

[Page 166]

Whereas the establishment of this school council is a result of mutual cooperation that exists between the school and the community it serves; and

Whereas the school council is composed of students, parents, teachers, support staff, the principal and members of the community whose primary objective it is to work together to help develop short and long-term goals for the school;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and best wishes to the members of the Duncan MacMillan High School Council and wish them every success as they work to achieve their goals and objectives.

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 member for Hants West.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, before reading my notice of motion, I would like to bring to your attention, and to the attention of the members of the House, the presence in the east gallery of Mr. Scott Brison, the MP for the area now known as Kings-Hants, formerly the Annapolis Valley-Hants. He is with us for a short time this afternoon and I would ask that we accord him our usual welcome to the Legislature. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 83

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 president of the Correctional Officers Union of Nova Scotia has announced that officers on today's morning shift have exercised their right to refuse unsafe work in relation to the maximum security area of the Halifax Correctional Centre; and

[Page 167]

Whereas the president has indicated that the decision was made out of concern for the safety of both correctional officers and inmates at the Halifax Correctional Centre, concerns that were previously outlined and expressed through a petition given to management; and

Whereas the officers feel that the only way to finally get the attention of those in charge of this serious issue is through work action;

Therefore be it resolved that the Justice Minister not delay and review both the petition of the officers and any other communication on the staffing of the maximum security area of the Halifax Correctional Centre and immediately respond to the officers' request for assistance and direction.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 84

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 former Minister of Health repeatedly stated in this House that his department would not interfere in negotiations with two private companies concerning the sale of ambulance operations; and

Whereas that same Minister of Health repeatedly said that no existing private operators would be forced out of business; and

Whereas despite these assurances and the legislation protecting private ambulance operators, the Department of Health is directly participating in negotiations and using strong-arm tactics and threats such as sell or you will get nothing;

[Page 168]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health immediately explain why his department is involved in negotiations between two private companies, and further, that he commit today that his department will cease and desist from its threatening tactics and honour the commitment it made to operators when it said it would not force them out of business.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 85

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

Whereas within the coming weeks Marine Atlantic will decide whether to move its Moncton headquarters and the approximately 40 jobs that go with it either to North Sydney or Newfoundland; and

Whereas Marine Atlantic jobs currently in North Sydney are also threatened with being moved to Newfoundland, leaving that already destitute town facing the loss of dozens of key jobs; and

Whereas Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland, North Sydney's main competitor for Marine Atlantic jobs, has put together an organized lobby that includes sending 400 faxes to the Minister of Transport, David Collenette, requesting the headquarters be located in that city, while our Premier so far has not even committed to attend a meeting of business interests, labour and other local politicians set for December 1st in North Sydney, in the Premier's own riding, to discuss the matter;

Therefore be it resolved that this House direct the Premier to begin taking immediate action on Marine Atlantic jobs for North Sydney as he has repeatedly promised the people of that town and further that the Premier be ordered by this House to attend the December 1st community meeting in North Sydney.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 86

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

[Page 169]

Whereas during the Liberal leadership contest, one contender, now Minister of the Technology and Science Secretariat, said of the gas issue, "The Nova Scotia government is selling out Nova Scotians."; and

Whereas the Cabinet Minister indicated publicly while campaigning only a few months ago that as the deal on our offshore gas stands, Sable gas development will employ thousands of foreigners, not Nova Scotians; and

Whereas once in Cabinet, that same Cabinet Minister has suddenly fallen silent on the biggest economic opportunity before this province, even though there's been no positive movement on the gas deal since the Party's change in Premier;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the member for Timberlea-Prospect to push his government as hard as he did during the leadership convention to reverse its bad deal which, as it stands now, means our gas will benefit everyone but Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 87

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 Environment Minister has the same penchant for bending to Sable Offshore Energy Project requests as the two previous Ministers of Natural Resources and now the Premier, declaring he will keep secret from Nova Scotians his department's decision with respect to environmental permits on the Sable gas project; and

Whereas the Premier has refused to tell Nova Scotians what he plans to do about Mobil's negotiations with the Irvings with respect to the sale of Sable gas liquids saying instead that he has a secret plan; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are fed up with Liberal secrecy, back-room deals and cozy relationships;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment and the Premier immediately reveal their secret decisions and their secret plans so that Nova Scotians are given the opportunity to judge before the fact, not after when it is too late, whether this government is acting in their interests or, rather, in the interests of the multinational Sable project partners.

[Page 170]

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 88

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

Whereas when the Premier was the MP for Cape Breton-The Sydneys and his Liberal colleagues slashed health and education transfers to Nova Scotia, people asked, "Where's Russell?"; and

Whereas when the Premier was the MP for Cape Breton-The Sydneys and his Liberal colleagues slashed the UI program and rammed through the BST, people asked, "Where's Russell?"; and

Whereas when the issue of Sable gas came before this House last night (Interruptions) I will repeat that; and

Whereas when the issue of Sable gas came before this House last night, the confused Minister of the Environment and the confused Minister of Natural Resources asked, "Where's Russell?", who has all the answers on Sable gas;

Therefore be it resolved that this House welcomes back the Premier so that we may finally receive some answers to questions that are of extreme importance to Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 89

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

Whereas 13,300 vehicles per day travel the 33 kilometres of Highway No. 101 between Mount Uniacke and Windsor; and

Whereas 14.2 kilometres of the 33 kilometres is already three lanes; and

[Page 171]

Whereas if an additional lane and a cement divider were added, it would then be an economical and safer four lane highway covering one-half the distance that is required to twin that road;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works recognize the immediate cost, safety and long-term economic benefits for the Annapolis Valley associated with this twinning design, and immediately begin the process for construction in the 1998 season.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 90

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 Northwood Foundation, in cooperation with Sackville and area volunteers and service organizations, will be opening in early January an adult day program entitled, At the Crossroads; and

Whereas the adult program, to be located in space donated by the Peace Lutheran Church, will help meet an urgent need for respite care for caregivers, as well as providing an opportunity for participants to socialize and help them maintain daily living skills; and

Whereas the adult centre is coming about because of the efforts of the Northwood Foundation, the Peace Lutheran Church and the many community volunteers who saw a need and set about to meet it;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank, congratulate and extend best wishes to all who have and continue to give so generously of their time, energy and resources to ensure the need for an adult day program is addressed in Sackville and neighbouring communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 172]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 91

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

Whereas whether it is the diversion of funds, the implementation of tolls, the exorbitant interest rates being paid to its creditors, reduction in speed limits or the loss of Nova Scotia jobs, this government continues to fumble something as straightforward as building a road; and

Whereas the latest fiasco was discovered when tractor-trailers carrying mobile homes and wide-loads were unable to fit through the toll-booth area of the Cobequid Pass; and

Whereas corrective measures are urgently needed to ensure wide-load trucks can use the road this government is forcing them to use;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government stop displaying their gross incompetence towards constructing a road and in the process demand the Premier live up to his leadership commitment of working towards a solution resulting in the elimination of the tolled highway.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 92

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 Department of Transportation and Public Works encouraged Nova Scotia truckers to become more efficient and resourceful prompting many to buy equipment that is now prohibited on highways such as Route 6 on the Sunrise Trail and Route 4 through St. Peters; and

[Page 173]

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works was in this morning's provincial papers attempting to have Nova Scotians believe he has solved a problem when in fact he hasn't, because previous to this fall Nova Scotia truckers hauling salt for the Department of Transportation and Public Works were always paid for the actual miles/kilometres travelled; and

Whereas the minister has only agreed to give truckers something back that his government took from them in negotiations last month while steadfastly refusing to give back any portion of the 20 per cent cut in salt hauling rates by this government in 1994;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works stop attempting to hoodwink the public about his alleged miraculous problem-solving skills and get down to the fine print with truckers by providing them with a decent rate of pay, which was stripped from them three years ago, so they can afford to keep their trucks on the road and their families fed.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 93

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 Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs has not met for over two years; and

Whereas veterans from World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and NATO Police Actions have given so much so that we can have our freedom; and

Whereas these same veterans now feel that they have no way to have their concerns heard by this Legislature because the committee has not met in two years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier direct that the Committee on Veterans Affairs give veterans due notice and the committee meet before the end of the year so that the veterans can bring their concerns forward.

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

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

[Page 174]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 94

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 Greenough Family Farms are renowned for their dairy production as well as their commitment and dedication to hard work; and

Whereas 50 years of hard work recently paid off for the Greenoughs with the crowning of Falcon, an Ayrshire dairy cow, as the Reserve Junior Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto; and

Whereas Falcon defeated more than 100 other dairy cattle from across Canada in being selected Reserve Junior Grand Champion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature commend the Greenough Family Farms of Hants County for the perseverance and commitment to Nova Scotia Agriculture and wish them continued success in future endeavours.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 175]

RESOLUTION NO. 95

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

Whereas John (Jook) Munroe, member of Abercrombie Golf & Country Club, was recently inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Heritage Centre Hall of Fame in recognition of his great success in men's golf; and

Whereas John (Jook) Munroe was instrumental in the development of Future Links, a program designed to encourage young people to take up golf; and

Whereas John (Jook) Munroe has been a major positive influence on golf in Nova Scotia for over half a century;

Therefore be it resolved that this House mark John (Jook) Munroe's contribution to Nova Scotia golf and extend to him best wishes for many years of health, happiness and birdies.

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.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 96

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 in her first interview in her new capacity, the newly-elected chairman of the Halifax Regional School Board, has spoken out about the pressing funding requirements of schools; and

[Page 176]

Whereas the chairman of the Halifax Regional School Board specifically identified increasing enrolments and greater demands for special needs education as requiring a transfusions of funds; and

Whereas this Liberal Government has created the funding crisis in education by cutting over $50 million in grants to school boards over the last three years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demand that the government stop wasting scarce resources on school privatization schemes and instead restore the funding that has been cut from school boards so that education funding levels are adequate to the needs of Nova Scotian students.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 97

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 won the hearts of PIN-carrying Liberals by promising Leadership that Listens and trotted out the same slogan in the Speech from the Throne; and

Whereas Nova Scotians interpreted this to mean that a new era of consultation with citizens was about to dawn; and

Whereas the Community Advocates Network has described the government's consultation process around social assistance reform as completely unacceptable;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the new Leadership that Listens of the Liberal Party as just one more empty, meaningless slogan.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East, on an introduction.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct the House's attention to your gallery. There are two individuals who are from Hants East, down in the Noel area, present today. Both of them are members of the Hants East Liberal Association executive. Charlie and Charlene McCulloch are here. Charlene was recently elected as the President of the Hants East Liberal Association. I would like, through you, Mr. Speaker, to

[Page 177]

welcome them to the House and ask them to rise and receive the warm applause of the House of Assembly. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Before we move on to Orders of the Day, I wish to advise all members of the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the debate on the late show, the Adjournment debate. The winner is the resolution submitted by the member for Queens.

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Emergency Measures Organization immediately appoint an independent consultant, as requested recently by Halifax County volunteer fire chiefs, to look into the ongoing problems with 911 so that all residents of this province can rest assured that this vital emergency service will be there for them if that need ever arises.

That matter will be debated at 6:00 p.m.

The time, one hour for today, we will begin at 2:58 p.m. and complete at 3:58 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: MOBIL NEGOTIATIONS - RE-OPEN

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. No one was more critical of the Sable deal during the Liberal leadership campaign than the now Premier of Nova Scotia. His concerns are echoed by the Maritime Trade Council, the United Association of Journeymen Plumbers and Pipefitters, the Maritime Workers Federation, the Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades Council, all of whom say that there are not enough jobs coming to Nova Scotia for a $3 billion project. On June 21st, the now Premier seemed to understand this when he was critical of the deal put together by Minster Downe and Minister Norrie, as Premier, I would seek immediately to reopen negotiations. My question to the Premier is simply, have you gone to Mobil and said, if Nova Scotians don't get the jobs, you don't get the gas? (Applause)

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, negotiations are presently going on with the oil companies. Discussions have taken place and will take place. Discussions are going well and as a resolution is reached, the House will be made aware of that resolution.

[Page 178]

[3:00 p.m.]

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, those are the same kind of soft answers that we got from the two previous ministers who were responsible for the Sable deal.

What I want to know, will that deal that the Premier talks about, say, if Nova Scotians and these tradespeople are not guaranteed the jobs, this Premier won't turn on the gas for Mobil? That is a simple question. Will he confirm that that is his position?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the agreement will say a lot more than what the Tory Party wanted, before they heard what the Liberal position was. (Applause)

DR. HAMM: Thank you. Quite an evasive answer. We are at the eleventh hour, Mr. Speaker. The deal is about to go forward and this government still hasn't given Nova Scotians any assurance that we are going to benefit the way we should from a $3 billion project.

The Premier said on June 27th that he will go to court, if necessary, to ensure maximum benefits to Sable. Is this still the Premier's commitment? If he can't negotiate a proper deal with Mobil and partners, will he go to court on behalf of Nova Scotians and break the deal that his government signed before he became Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is hypothetical. So far we have no indication that there is not going to be an arrangement that is satisfactory to Nova Scotians. (Applause)

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: MOBIL NEGOTIATIONS - DECISION TABLE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Premier.

Last night, you may recall that the Minister of the Environment seemed to have confirmed that the government, in fact, has conveyed its decision - in terms of the response to the panel - to the proponents. As the Premier will know, under the Environment Act the Cabinet had the opportunity within 21 days to return a decision to those proponents to either accept, reject, or accept with conditions, those decisions. I would like to ask the Premier, will he agree here, now, today, to undertake to table the decision that was provided to Mobil and its partners?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question of the environmental areas are joint between the province and the federal government. Such announcements and such statements have to be made jointly by the province and the federal government. When that can be arranged, they will be so.

[Page 179]

MR. CHISHOLM: I would like to table for you and all members, Appendix I of the Sable decision document. It is called Agreement for a Joint Public Review of the Proposed Sable Gas Projects. Nowhere in this agreement does it at all bind the hands of the Province of Nova Scotia, the minister responsible, or the Premier or the Cabinet, for presenting this information to Nova Scotians. This is clearly complete and utter contempt of the members of this House and of all Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker.

I want to ask the Premier, why is it that this government continues to choose to put the interests of big oil and the federal government ahead of the rights of Nova Scotians to understand what this government is doing with their gas?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the future of the Sable project relies on big oil companies. They are the only ones who can do it, they are the ones who are in the business of doing it right now. They are the ones we are going to work with, and not against them, if we can get a good arrangement from then. We are also going to work with the federal government and where we have given our undertaking to jointly work with the federal government, we will do so.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we learned last night from the Minister of the Environment that not only will the government not release its decision to the people of Nova Scotia with respect to their response to the Sable panel's decision, but they will only respond, they will only report back to the people of Nova Scotia after the Legislature of Nova Scotia has risen. I want to ask the Premier, since he is refusing to table that information here in this House, will he explain to Nova Scotians what it is he is trying to hide?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing we are trying to hide. We are co-ordinating our announcements. That is the way it was undertaken. That is the way it has to be. We are working with the federal government. It is a joint jurisdiction and we are working together in that jurisdiction.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: N.B. - PIPELINE BENEFITS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again my question is directed to the Premier. He is starting to sound very similar to his predecessors who were negotiating the gas deal.

There is one irrefutable statement. It is our gas and the jobs should be ours. It is interesting that New Brunswick, after all of this settled out, said that it got seven out of nine demands in dealing with Sable. Now, they were talking about the pipeline.

My question to the Premier is simply, does the Premier agree that New Brunswick has gotten the majority of jobs and benefits from the pipeline?

[Page 180]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the pipeline has not been built yet. The gas is still under the ocean. Nothing has been started. Mobil has not even undertaken to bring the natural gas ashore yet. There cannot be any possible determination of who has the majority of the jobs because the project has not even yet begun.

DR. HAMM: That is an interesting answer. If the Premier had taken the time to read the joint public review panel report, in here it says very clearly that in terms of the pipeline 1,200 jobs go to New Brunswick and 720 jobs go to Nova Scotia. More operational jobs are in New Brunswick than Nova Scotia. Can the Premier explain why, if it is our gas and our pipeline and it is our project, all the benefits are greater in New Brunswick than they are in Nova Scotia? That is in this report.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I doubt very much if the report says all of the benefits and the jobs are in New Brunswick. The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, the Leader of the Opposition, quotes from it a lot of other positions and jobs and activities that will take place regarding the offshore and an awful lot will be here in Nova Scotia. We will do very well from the offshore. I give the House that assurance.

DR. HAMM: I am glad that the Premier was able to say that all the benefits do not go to New Brunswick but that an awful lot will come here to Nova Scotia. Isn't it interesting, Mr. Speaker, and no doubt you heard some of this first-hand, how definite the Premier was in June and July about what he was going to do about Mobil and Sable gas and how indefinite he is today. We are getting platitudes again to placate the people of Nova Scotia because this government has dropped the ball on Sable gas big time.

My question to the Premier is very simple. You said you were going to reopen negotiations. You said you were going to make it a better deal. You said you had the answers for Nova Scotia on Sable gas. What have you asked for and what concessions have you achieved in your negotiations to date?

THE PREMIER: I said I was going to open negotiations on Sable Island. Negotiations are going on on Sable Island right now.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: MOBIL NEGOTIATIONS - DEMANDS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again my question is directed to the Premier. The Premier openly said he was dissatisfied with the deal arranged by Ministers Downe and Norrie. The Premier indicated that he was going to open up all of the negotiations with all of the partners. Since he knew there were a lot of things wrong with the deal, he obviously must have a list of demands, the things that he requires before we have a deal and the gas is turned on.

[Page 181]

Will the Premier give us the list of demands, the list of things that Nova Scotians must have, must absolutely have, before he is prepared to sign off on the deal with Mobil?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, negotiations are going on and they are going on with all of the partners. All of the areas that we are speaking on are areas that I have been speaking on for six months. It will be made public to the people of Nova Scotia and to this Legislature. There is nothing being hidden, no secrets. It is just that until things are completed, there is no sense negotiating in public. It is in the proper sense of fair play and in trust to have discussions and then when the discussions are finalized, to bring forward the results of that discussion to the public.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I will continue with the Premier. During the leadership, the Premier roared against the royalty. He will not mention the royalty today. He said it was not a good deal. He roared against the joint position signed by Savage and company. He roared for a lateral to Cape Breton. What, through you, Mr. Speaker, are the deal breakers? That is all we are asking, Mr. Premier, what are the deal breakers? The things that you insist that Nova Scotians have before you will say that you will turn on the gas, or if those things are not achieved, if those benefits are not received by Nova Scotians, that you will leave the gas under the sea?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition made reference to certain things that were important and when we report back to the House after our negotiations with the partners involved, he can use his check list to check off each one of those.

DR. HAMM: By way of final supplementary to the Premier. On June 27th this Premier said, as Premier it would be my intention not to implement the joint position. Is this your position today? Are you telling Nova Scotians today, as you said on June 27th, that under no circumstances will you sign an agreement that includes the joint position?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, on the last day of the hearings, I went into the panel hearings and presented what I thought should be the position.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: C.B. - SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to address my question, through you, to the Premier. What we have seen in respect to the interest and the impact of the Sable gas project on Cape Breton Island has been a complete ignoring by this Liberal Government. Now our new Premier has promised a socio-economic impact study, a study that will not take place for a year or more. My question is, why has the Premier waited so long to do a socio-economic impact assessment of the Sable gas project on Cape Breton?

[Page 182]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there has been no promise by any of the partners to bring the natural gas ashore, so the project has not started yet. I did not say that I would wait one and one-half years to begin the socio-economic study. I said that I would wait until spring to begin the study. It is going to be two years before the natural gas comes ashore. A study can be undertaken in a lot less than one and one-half years. The fact of the matter is, we want to get information on the course of Sysco, of the Cape Breton Development Corporation. There is more information yet to be made available. We want to make the socio-economic impact study as meaningful as possible. We want to do a study that is going to answer the questions we want answered, but we have to have the information in place to be able to do that. We want to wait until the spring. I don't think that is unreasonable. Spring is only, at most, six months away, not a year and one-half.

[3:15 p.m.]

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what the people of Cape Breton deserve to know is what is going to happen. Will the Premier tell this House, what plan has he in place to ensure that the underpinnings of the economy of Cape Breton will not be devastated by the Sable gas project?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes can be assured that we are not going to do anything that would jeopardize any of the industries in Cape Breton. (Applause)

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Then, will the Premier tell the people of Cape Breton what guarantee he proposes that this project will not proceed until the study is completed and a concrete plan is in place to deal with any detrimental impacts?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can give the assurance that no natural gas will go to industrial Cape Breton until we have the impact study finalized. For one thing, we want to know exactly who is going to be operating Sysco in the future; we want to know the impact of natural gas in the electric arc burning operation. It has been told to me that natural gas is not only a fuel, but it is also a catalyst to utilize to a better effectiveness the elements in the electric arc process.

We don't know all of the details with respect to Sysco, but we will by spring and we will be better able to do it. We are not going to do anything with respect to natural gas in the industrial area of Cape Breton until the impact study is completed.

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

[Page 183]

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: MOBIL - SUBSIDIZATION

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Honourable Premier. In the Savage-MacLellan Government's haste and demented lust to facilitate Mobil Oil and its partners, they tried to agree and give every concession to Mobil Oil and its partners that they could. In the meantime, Nova Scotians have been given the proverbial shaft. We have absolutely no guarantees of jobs and benefits, no assurances of gas and laterals. We have no affirmation of a better royalty deal. We have no distance-based tolls . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Let's get to the question, please. Question. Speeches later, the question.

MR. TAYLOR: . . . no petrochemical plants. The question is merely this, Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier, how much are Nova Scotia taxpayers subsidizing Mobil Oil and its partners? How much, Mr. Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley might also say that there is also no gas coming ashore yet because there has been no undertaking by any of the partners to bring the natural gas ashore. There is no subsidization of the oil companies.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Would or could the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism tell the House how much financial assistance he has promised to L.E. Shaw and Secunda Marine to do work that will be exclusively related to the offshore?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would inform the honourable member that if we are negotiating with any companies in Nova Scotia on any kind of arrangements that are being made between our department and companies, we are not going to negotiate them on the floor of this Legislature.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like to table an Order in Council from June 1996, that authorizes assistance to Secunda Marine International Incorporated of the Halifax Regional Municipality by way of a guarantee to a charter bank, in such form as the Attorney General may approve, in an amount not to exceed $5.4 million.

MR. SPEAKER: This is a final supplementary, let's get to it, please.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I also have another document that I will table when I place my final supplementary. It is also my understanding that the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism received a lot of feedback from Nova Scotia companies that say

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the goal posts have been moved in favour of L.E. Shaw and Secunda Marine. Will the minister advise the House why he is not treating all qualified Nova Scotia companies the same?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the only goal posts that are being moved are the ones between his ears because he is obviously not tuned in. There are a number of companies in Nova Scotia dealing with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism regarding the offshore industry and the honourable member opposite knows that and he is just grandstanding here. We are not making preferential deals with anybody. We are dealing in the best interests of Nova Scotia and we are talking to all companies who have an interest in the offshore industry.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES.: SABLE GAS - BY-PRODUCTS

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Over the weekend a spokesman for the Mobil group of partners indicated that there was not enough liquids in the natural gas off our coast to support a chemical industry for our province. Does the Premier agree with that statement?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think the spokesman was talking about ethane and not all of the by-products of natural gas. The fact is that there are good sized components, good sized amounts of a lot of the by-products that we can use right now in Nova Scotia.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, the spokesman was speaking about ethane. The spokesman was also speaking of leaving the other liquids in the gas for export, the propane, the butane and he was indicating it would burn hotter and thus bring a higher price. The Alberta Government indicated to the gas companies that gas is not exported from Alberta that contains liquids. All liquids are manufactured and processed within the boundaries of Alberta. Will the Premier of Nova Scotia make the statement that there will be no exporting of liquids with the gas from Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Province of Alberta did not in fact take the ethane out of the natural gas until 1975, years after they first began exporting it. What the article stated was that ethane was important and right now in their opinion the ethane would stay in the natural gas because it was a BTU enhancer, which it is. So is propane a BTU enhancer and if you take out the ethane and want to maintain the BTUs, then you have to inject propane to keep the BTUs up to a certain level. If you take the ethane out and the propane out, then there is a penalty because the BTU content is not as high. There is a lot of scope there for negotiation with the oil companies before the natural gas agreement is in place.

[Page 185]

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you again to the Premier. I think Mobil and its partners should congratulate the Premier because he is a fine spokesman on their behalf. He is carrying their message well. When will the Premier of this government stick up and carry the message for the people of Nova Scotia? The weekend column that the Premier is speaking about indicates very clearly that Mobil intends to export liquids from Nova Scotia. Is the Premier going to instruct the gas producers that want to do business in Nova Scotia that Nova Scotia requires that all the liquids stay here?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that I am sticking up for the rights and interests of Nova Scotia. Before you talk to the oil companies you have to be able to get your terms right.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: ENVIRONMENT ACT - AUTHORITY USE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Premier. The Premier has had a fair bit to say for the past eight, nine months now about the deal with the Sable Offshore Energy Project participants. He was very concerned about the deal and he suggested that we make some changes and negotiate a better deal.

Mr. Speaker, you perhaps will recall - I raised it earlier - that the province had the opportunity under authority granted in the Environment Act to, in fact, make a decision with respect to the panel report to either accept, reject or to accept with conditions, that very report. I would like to ask the Premier - because it appears that they won't tell us and maybe have told the proponents - why it is that he has failed to use the lever provided under the Environment Act to get a better deal for Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the environmental question is important. There is no doubt about that, but there are also other important questions that have to be settled; the Leader of the Opposition has mentioned a few of them. They have to be resolved and they have to be resolved on their own merits. We have to discuss, with the oil companies, those particular questions and not fall back on environment when there is something we don't particularly like regarding other aspects. That is the only way we can discuss it with them. If we wanted to stop the deal, we could do that, but we want to negotiate in good faith with the oil companies to give this project every chance of going ahead, but we are not going to qualify the interests of the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, in this process there are very clear guidelines, there are very clear time lines which the province has to follow in order that the proponents know whether or not they have the go-ahead to begin development. Clearly, I think what we have gotten from this Premier here today, a confirmation of the fact that the response from this government to Mobil and its partners with respect to this development is the fact that they

[Page 186]

rubber-stamped this proposal without attaching any conditions whatsoever that have to do with the economic benefit from this proposal.

MR. SPEAKER: Your question.

MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier, is that in fact what happened, that they merely rubber-stamped these recommendations and did not add any conditions on the acceptance of this proposal?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we certainly haven't rubber-stamped anything. That is why we are negotiating, because we haven't rubber-stamped. We are negotiating for change and we are going to get some change to get this project going. We are negotiating in good faith. We are negotiating without making it a public spectacle. We are doing everything we possibly can in the interest of the people to negotiate fairly. We will do that. We want to be able to have it said that we negotiated in good faith, but we also want to be able to have it said that we did not, in any way, qualify or jeopardize the rights of the people in Nova Scotia. That is our objective. (Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it appears pretty clear that the concern of this Premier and his colleagues in Cabinet is that they are given a sense by Mobil, and others, that they have negotiated fairly. It is the people of Nova Scotia whose rights are in jeopardy here right now and that is what we are concerned about. This Premier has made all kinds of pledges about how he is negotiating on their behalf . . .

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, please. Let's have it.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . and yet all kinds of levers go by and that is the concern that I have and that Nova Scotians have.

I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, will he not, for once, lay out what the bottom line is for the Province of Nova Scotia in terms of their position relative to these negotiations? Under what conditions will this government leave the gas in the ground and under what conditions will they allow the development to go ahead? I think Nova Scotians deserve to know what the bottom line is for the Province of Nova Scotia.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have talked about the conditions that are being discussed and they are being discussed, and on a lot of them we have some more discussion to take place, but they are progressing very well. Whether we will get all of what we are looking for remains to be seen, but we are holding discussions and those discussions are ongoing.

[Page 187]

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES.: SABLE GAS - VOLUME (N.S.)

DR. JOHN HAMM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again with the Premier. That last statement really reassured me whether or not we get all that we ask for remains to be seen. Well, that is pretty earth-shattering. The Premier had so many definite answers back in June and July and now the Premier is like the dog that chases cars, he knows what to do until the car stops.

It has recently been said - and I believe confirmed - that New Brunswick interests are negotiating for 15 per cent of the production of Sable. Maritimes and Northeast have said that they need 85 per cent of production going through to New England to make the pipeline profitable. So we have 15 per cent going to New Brunswick and we have 85 per cent going to New England. How much gas, Mr. Premier, does that leave for Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there has already been a contract announced between Shell and Nova Scotia Power for, I think, 60,000 million BTUs of natural gas, so there is obviously more than 100 per cent of natural gas out there.

DR. HAMM: I think everyone here, Mr. Speaker - and I am directing my question the Premier - realizes that one of the great benefits of our natural gas play is getting a cheap form of energy distributed to our province. That can only occur if in fact there is an infrastructure that accompanies the development that allows gas to get into our communities. A profitable line would be the one in Pictou County going to Nova Scotia Power and Trenton Works; the other profitable line would be going to Halifax-Dartmouth.

Is the Premier prepared to guarantee that he will not sign off on any deal that does not guarantee gas to Amherst, to Truro, to Windsor, to Port Hawkesbury and all of central Nova Scotia in the first phase, bearing in mind that some of those lines will not be profitable but will have to be financed through the profits of the profitable lines going to Halifax-Dartmouth and going across to Port Hawkesbury? Is he prepared to guarantee that other communities will receive the gas in the first phase of development of the project?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the Leader of the Opposition has asked a very good question. The important thing in this whole process is the value of natural gas to Nova Scotia and what it can do to bring industry to Nova Scotia. That is where the jobs really are and that is where we have to concentrate most of our attention. That is going to be the most important result and, unless we are able to give benefits to our communities, there is no point in bringing the natural gas ashore. I can assure him that the interests of the areas he mentioned are very much in mind.

[Page 188]

DR. HAMM: To continue with the Premier. The supply of gas to the communities is very important, but equally important is whether or not that gas is available at a better price than it is available in New Brunswick and available in New England. This Premier has spoken out against the joint position which only guarantees a preferential price for 10 years. Nova Scotians demand - and it is up to this Premier to negotiate - a preferential price for the 30 years of the project. Is this Premier prepared to commit here today that he will sign no agreement that does not give Nova Scotian users a preferential price for the 30 years of the agreement? Is he prepared to confirm there will be no gas given to Mobil unless we in Nova Scotia get a preferential price not only for 10 years, but for 30 years?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would once again - and this is getting dangerous - agree with the Leader of the Opposition that the preferential price is very important for Nova Scotia.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: PIPE COATING ASSISTANCE - TENDER

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I would like to direct my question to the Premier as well. Mr. Speaker, I previously tabled a letter dated October 19, 1997, to the Leader of the Official Opposition from the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. The letter is regarding assistance for a potential pipe contracting facility at Sheet Harbour. In fact, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism points out that financial assistance of up to $1 million will be provided to undertake improvements at the Sheet Harbour site.

I wonder if the Premier could tell me if he agrees that propping up a Nova Scotia company to provide the pipe coating for the offshore facility is appropriate?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, allowing Nova Scotia companies to benefit from the offshore is very important but I think it would be more appropriate for the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism to answer that question.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I stated in an earlier question, there are a number of Nova Scotian companies negotiating with the Government of Nova Scotia at the present time regarding the offshore industry. A concern in Sheet Harbour is one of them and a concern in Mulgrave is another one. They are both looking for the same kind of leverage, through the government, that they can put into play necessary infrastructure in order to give them the advantages that they would need in pursuing business in the offshore industry.

We have more than one, we have a couple we are dealing with and we are going to go down the road. Again, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to start negotiating deals on the floor of this Legislature.

[Page 189]

MR. TAYLOR: Well, Mr. Speaker, it doesn't seem to matter whether it is a goat or a lion leading the sheep, they are still trying to pull the wool over Nova Scotia's eyes in this Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, doesn't the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism believe that any contract for offshore pipe coating should go out to public tender?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't know where this member has been living lately or what turns him on, with some of the things that he states over there. We are acting very responsibly. We put proposals out for that particular site and the other site. We had one response in the first year, we had a second response subsequent to that and we are dealing with both of them.

We are not ready to make a decision. No decision has been made on either one of those proposals and won't be until we do a complete evaluation of them and until we decide that it is in our best interests to do a deal with one or perhaps both of those companies. We did get proposals from them. I don't know what he is trying to pull. The only wool that is being pulled is the wool he is pulling in here over the people's eyes.

MR. TAYLOR: The Minister of Economic Development and Tourism would like to have Nova Scotians believe that he has not provided the $1 million exclusively to one company. That is the message he is trying to put through here today.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is the province closest to the offshore and it should be natural that the pipe coating facility would be set up in Nova Scotia, wherever. Why is the minister providing $1 million assistance to one company to set up a pipe coating facility in Nova Scotia?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have him table any information he has if that is the case because that is simply not the case. That is a misrepresentation of the facts here this afternoon. That is nothing new for that member at all.

Mr. Speaker, the two sites he is talking about, if they are not in Nova Scotia, where are Mulgrave and Sheet Harbour? On the moon? They are both in Nova Scotia and we are dealing with both of them.

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

DND - JOBS: CUTS - OPPOSE [GOV'T. (N.S.)]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to direct a question through you, sir, to the Premier. Of course while the Premier sat in Ottawa, Nova Scotians endured

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massive federal cuts that resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs here in Nova Scotia, base closures, et cetera, and many other countless job losses if you use a multiplier effect.

Now we know that the Department of National Defence is planning to privatize the supply and services function of DND. The very real concern that many have is that that is going to lead to the loss of a couple of thousand more good, secure, permanent, well-paying jobs here in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, now as the Premier has been unleashed from his Party loyalty to his former federal colleagues, I wonder if the Premier could tell us what steps he has taken to ensure that Nova Scotia and Nova Scotian public sector workers employed by the federal government do not yet again suffer unfairly from the federal Liberal knife?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is no indication that the federal government is planning any further cutbacks in Nova Scotia and any statements to that effect are pure speculation.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am just waiting for my light to come on. (Laughter) Aha, and he speaketh and it appears! (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HOLM: Now if I could only get as positive a response from the Premier about action as we do from those at Legislative Television who know which light to turn on, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier may say this is total speculation. Well, the Premier should know, if he is on top of things, that there are leaked reports out that talk and clearly states that the federal government is considering actively and what is called an alternative service delivery system which is, in effect, a privatization of those services and that it calls for the elimination of thousands of jobs and Nova Scotia will be hit hard, harder than most of the rest of the country on a proportional basis.

So my question to the Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, is quite simply this, will the Premier stand shoulder to shoulder with National Defence employees and invite their representatives and members from all sides of this House to join with him to go to Ottawa, to meet with the Minister of National Defence, to meet with their senior bureaucrats, to meet with the Prime Minister and to make it be known, clearly once and for all, that we do not accept such a proposal here in Nova Scotia and that it is simply not on here in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: As the honourable member said, Mr. Speaker, it is a leaked document that states that there will be further job cuts. I have met with the Minister of National Defence and told him under no circumstances would we any way condone further reduction of federal

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jobs in Nova Scotia and that will be stated once again and again, as many times as it needs to be stated to make the point to the federal government.

MR. HOLM: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier has said that we will not condone it but that does not mean that we won't accept it or that it won't, in fact, happen. I would like to ask the Premier, who ducked my question by not agreeing to stand shoulder to shoulder with these workers and to take them to join with him in his lobbying efforts, to table in this House what commitments he has in writing from the minister or from the Prime Minister that those kind of cuts will, in fact, not happen here in Nova Scotia and that our loyal public servants, those who work in all of our communities, for the Department of National Defence will not be slashed at the altar of the Liberal's philosophy of privatization, these loyal servants. What has he got on paper and will he table it?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member, I will tell him once again that we will not accept - if that is the word he wants to use - the further reduction of federal jobs in Nova Scotia. That point has been made. It has been made to the Minister of National Defence. I had mentioned that to the Prime Minister. I have told him that in Nova Scotia with 3.3 per cent of the national population, since 1993, we have suffered 16 per cent of the federal job reductions in Canada and that is more than enough for Nova Scotians to have to endure.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: GOLDBORO - STRIPPER EQUIP.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. The Province of Alberta houses the second largest petrochemical industry in North America. Texas is the only place that is larger. That was developed because the Government of Alberta said that natural gas can be exported, the liquids are going to be manufactured in the Province of Alberta. At the present time, the partners for Mobil have indicated they intend to keep exporting the ethane from Nova Scotia. The Premier just stood in his place moments ago and indicated that that was fine with him, that they would send it for export because it would make the gas burn better.

At Goldboro, Mr. Speaker, when the gas comes ashore, if there is not the proper strippers in location to remove the ethane when it is constructed, the ethane will never be available in Nova Scotia. Is the Premier going to ensure that the proper equipment is in place to strip the ethane (Interruption) Listen, if you had learned a little bit we wouldn't be in this mess and the Premier wouldn't have said what a lousy deal we have.

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[3:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Ignore the rabbit tracks honourable member for Kings North.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, it is difficult to ignore a senior Cabinet Minister when he seems to know so little and care so little about the future of Nova Scotia. Is the Premier going to absolutely insist that the proper strippers be in place at Goldboro to remove ethane from the natural gas as it comes ashore?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, first of all the Alberta Government did make a mistake in letting the by-products leave Alberta and that is how the petrochemical industry in Sarnia got started. But after a while they did hold the by-products and develop the petrochemical industry in Alberta, which as the honourable member said is the proper way to proceed. With respect to the ethane, there is a sizeable amount of ethane but the question is whether it is going to be enough initially to be processed. He talks about a stripper, a stripper could cost as much as $70 million. The fact of the matter is we want to make sure, first of all, that we have control over the ethane when we want to use it. As to how much and who is going to put up the stripping facility, that is yet to be determined. I will guarantee him that the ethane will not be allowed to be taken out of Nova Scotia without the complete control of the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I know the Premier probably means well but when you export a product from Nova Scotia I sort of think you lose control when somebody in Boston is heating their home with the ethane from Nova Scotia. The question simply, is the Premier going to insist that there be a proper stripper in place so the ethane can be removed at some later date when there is enough quantity? Some of the facts and figures we are hearing from the proponents of natural gas are not always what they should be. They indicated that 20,000 barrels a day is not enough to develop a chemical industry. There is an industry and they are building a facility in Alberta today as we speak for 20,000 barrels a day. Is the Premier going to insist that the stripper be put in place? And the price of $70 million is about $50 million more than the cost in Alberta to do it. Is the Premier going to start listening and start sticking up for Nova Scotians or is he going to continue to carry the line for Mobil and its partners?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member says are we going to put in a stripper until we retain the ethane? The fact is the only way to retain the ethane is with a stripper and until we get someone who wants the ethane, we cannot build the stripper. The fact of the matter is, control over the ethane is first and foremost the most important thing. If that ethane leaves Nova Scotia it has to be with the knowledge in mind that the Province of Nova Scotia can stop it at any time, that is the most important thing We want to have someone utilize the ethane here but we cannot force someone to use the ethane here until they absolutely want to. But when that opportunity comes, the ethane is going to be utilized in Nova Scotia, there is no question about that. (Applause)

[Page 193]

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, in speaking with people from Alberta in the gas industry they said the time to put in the proper equipment for their ethane removal is in the construction process. I am not advocating the government do anything at all but the government could wield enormous power and request and demand that Mobil and its partners do exactly what is better for the people of Nova Scotia. So far, Mr. Speaker, the Premier and this government have not demanded for Nova Scotia again. Will the Premier demand that the proper equipment be installed for the removal of ethane at the Goldboro facility at the construction phase and not try to talk them into it several years hence?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, an ethane stripper can be put in at any time. The fact of the matter is if Mobil, Shell or Imperial do not want the ethane taken out of the natural gas, they are not going to build a stripper. We cannot force them to build a stripper if they do not want the ethane stripped. The fact of the matter is, we have to be able to utilize the ethane that we stripped. We have got to put it somewhere, someone has got to utilize it. When we have someone who is going to utilize it, we will get the stripper.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. -

HWY. NO. 104 WESTERN ALIGNMENT CORPORATION:

LIABILITY - FINANCIAL

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, like many Nova Scotians, I myself am concerned about public-private partnerships and would like to direct a question to the Minister of Transportation in that regard. That question is, is it possible the Province of Nova Scotia can have any financial liability toward the tolled Highway No. 104? I am, of course, referring to liability above and beyond the $55 million invested by Nova Scotia through the SHIP agreement.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

MR. FAGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, the answer was short; my supplementary question concerning that short answer then. Would the minister then tell Nova Scotians today how the $66.4 million debt for the Cobequid Pass is financed?

MR. DOWNE: The $60-some million that has been secured by the private sector has been financed through bond issues, and there is a senior bond and a junior bond.

MR. FAGE: I would like to maybe correct the minister on that. There are three bonds, to my understanding. The junior, senior and an R&M bond for $5.5 million would be the third bond, is my understanding. In that regard, Mr. Speaker, to the minister. Could the minister then please tell me why in the schedule attached to each one of those bonds, and it does clearly state in that schedule on the last bond, ". . . the Province of Nova Scotia, (the

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'Guarantor'), as primary obligor and principal debtor hereby unconditionally and irrevocably guarantees fulfillment, in the event of default, of the liabilities and obligation of Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation . . ."?

MR. DOWNE: The bond issues are the responsibility of the bond holder in regard to those arrangements that are made to the private sector and, as I said before, we are not liable for those bond issues.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

FIN. - HST: HEATING FUELS - REMOVE

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The Premier certainly started off to a promising start, and one of those promises that he made was to the people of Nova Scotia with regard to the HST and the impact on heating fuels. I wonder if the Premier could tell us, today, whether or not he is going to remove the HST from heating fuels within the immediate future and by the immediate future, I mean within the next week to 10 days.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we are certainly looking at the HST on heating oil, electricity and children's clothing, as well. There is a cost involved of taking the HST off, but we did say, and I did say that where I could, would do what I could to help those who are having a very difficult time in making those HST payments in those areas.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, those are nice words, but they are not going to help the people who are already paying for heating fuels. I would bring to the Premier's attention the fact that most people now are into the heating season. If he has not, as yet, negotiated an agreement with the federal government to remove the provincial portion of the HST from heating fuels, then it is going to be probably the end of the heating season before there is any positive impact on the Nova Scotian taxpayer. Would the minister assure the people of Nova Scotia that regardless of whether or not he has a federal agreement, that the provincial tax portion of the HST will be removed from all heating fuels?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government's consideration of this question of the HST is with or without the federal government's participation.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, will that retraction of the provincial portion of the HST be expanded to also include such things as firewood and other alternate heating systems such as propane? In other words, is it all residential and, I presume, commercial heating premises?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the questions right now on HST, the most serious one is electricity because the electrical rates have not gone down, they're still quite high, heating oil has gone down.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - HORTON HIGH SCHOOL (KINGS CO.):

CONSTRUCTION - COSTS

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Back on October 10th the Premier said he was going to order a review of the PPP schools. And then on November 19th in the Public Accounts Committee meeting, the new Deputy Minister of Education was asked who authorized the increase in costs for the new Horton school. That increase is from $8 million to $25.7 million as members of this House know. His reply was, "I will need to respond at a later date to that question. I don't have that answer in front of me.".

I want to ask the Premier, how's it going, has he figured it out yet? Does he know the answer? And can he tell this House who authorized the tripling of the cost of this school in the Education Minister's constituency?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the honourable member, how's it going with her, too? (Laughter) We are committed to good schools in this province but I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member quoted from the Public Accounts Committee but she didn't quote the preamble to the answer of exactly, precisely where the authorization came from. In the first part of the answer she didn't quote, the Deputy Minister of Education indicated that at one point a renovation project was assigned to Eastern Kings, to Horton High School; by Public Works engineers it was determined that a renovation project was not adequate and that, in fact, a new school was needed. As the Premier says, there are many communities in this province that require new schools and we are pledged to deliver the finest schools in the country to the children of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for Oral Questions Put By Members has expired.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. During Question Period, I was asked a question from the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley regarding the assistance to Sheet Harbour, regarding the offshore industry. I assumed at the time that the member was quoting or referring to a document that he had in his possession regarding the fact that the Province of Nova Scotia had given $1 million to a firm in Sheet Harbour for that purpose. Subsequent to that, the document was tabled with the House.

The document does not say that. The member has misled the House here this afternoon by saying that we had given $1 million to Sheet Harbour. As a matter of fact, the letter he quotes, the letter he refers to, is a letter I sent the honourable Leader of the Opposition back

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in August. The member is trying to impugn in here today that I was trying to pull something over on the House by giving $1 million to somebody that nobody knew anything about.

I wrote the honourable Leader of the Opposition on August 19th to inform him exactly what I was doing with that particular project and it stated simply, should any company bidding on the pipe coating contract for the offshore project be successful in winning the bid, I can assure they will be offered the same benefits previously offered to Sheet Harbour whether they wish to locate in the Sheet Harbour Industrial Park or Mulgrave Industrial Park. And I said thank you for your interest in this matter.

I sent that to the honourable Leader of the Opposition. I'm going to say again that member has deliberately misled the House today. I ask him to apologize to this House today. (Interruptions)

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, do you wish to speak to this point of order? You have the floor.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Obviously I would have a copy of that letter. The Minister of Economic Development and Tourism is being very selective in his reading of that document. I encourage all members of the House to take the time and read the letter and you will clearly discern that that member promised $1 million to L.E. Shaw and the Official Opposition headed it off at the pass and now he will extend it to any Nova Scotia company that is qualified. Let's set the record straight, he tried to pull the wool over the eyes of Nova Scotians and we caught him. The Leader of the Opposition caught you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There appears to be a misinterpretation, or more than one interpretation placed on this letter in question. There is no point of order, but the points have been made.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there is no misinterpretation, as far as I am concerned. If that gentleman, the honourable gentleman over there, said during Question Period that I had given $1 million to Sheet Harbour, he is wrong and he has misrepresented this House. If Hansard reflects that, I want that corrected.

MR. SPEAKER: One final note then on this point of order.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I did table the document. I was using the document in reference and the document clearly states what it says. Anybody who wants to read the document can certainly clarify, if they have any mis-perceptions. I can understand that member having a mis-perception of what the document says.

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MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We are not going to resolve this. I think both honourable members have stated their positions. There is no point of order.

We will move on then to Government Business.

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 member for Truro-Bible Hill had the floor when the debate was adjourned. The honourable member has used approximately 12 minutes of her speaking time.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

MRS. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, as I adjourned the debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, I was speaking of the key priorities of this government as stated in the Throne Speech, and they were a strong economy in all areas of the province, emphasis on health care and a focus on jobs and education.

In the area I represent we are leading the way in these three areas, these three key priorities. The economy of the area is strong. To quote the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce recently, "People are placing trust in Truro's economy. We have very few highs and lows. We have a stable economy and a stable, well educated work force.". Some of that can be proven by the construction going on in the area. The sound of construction in the area is, indeed, music to my ears. Construction has tripled from $6 million last year to $18 million this year. It is referred to as a mini-boom.

That boom comes about with the three largest projects in the town, the first being the Truro Police Station. It was opened recently by the honourable Minister of Justice. It is on the site of my old high school, the Colchester County Academy. It is with appropriate design to link the past, the present and the future. The facility is built with the community in mind,

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access by the community, high technology, to inform the public and also to provide good, safe policing services for the Town of Truro.

The second major project in the town is the Bank of Nova Scotia. It has been built on the site of the previous bank. It is about to open its doors to a brand new building. It is in the centre of town and, again, with appropriate design to fit into the architecture of the town.

The third project, Mr. Speaker, is the Superstore. It is also about to open its doors in the west end of town, in the west end business district. This commercial investment has a positive spin-off in the area. It also builds confidence for the other retailers to develop in the area.

All three of these projects exceed $2 million. All of it is done without any government handouts. They are either financed and built by the community or by private investment. This sends a good message to encourage others to invest in the community and it shows faith in the downtown core.

A recent study pegged Truro as one of the most competitive locations in North America for manufacturing operations. In our industrial park we have seen major growth with taxes to the town in the order of $1.7 million as a result. On that industrial park site we have Crossley Carpets, Intertape Polymer, Shur-Gain and a number of others that are mainstays in the Town of Truro to provide jobs for the community.

The province has been a major supporter of the area with millions invested through the infrastructure program. The province has a share in building the state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant. It also has been involved in the $1 million project on the Juniper Street sewer connection. It has provided $50,000 to plane and resurface Prince Street and $105,000 for road resurfacing, curb and gutter replacement on Young Street. In Bible Hill as well, Mr. Speaker, $122,000 has been provided for road upgrading and $50,000 for sidewalk construction on the Pictou Road.

On top of that money and support provided through the infrastructure program, there have been a number of transportation projects in the area since 1993. In 1993 it totalled $610,900 for gutter and sidewalk construction on Pictou Road; the gutter, curb and paving of Rosemount Drive; paving on Hazel Drive; also Retson Drive has paving and sidewalks. This was an area that was much needed. Also on College Road from Courthouse Branch to Vimy Road with repaving; gravelling of county roads and also some winter works programs.

In 1994 there was work that totalled $153,000 and that was for paving and new sidewalks, curbs and gutters for Queen Street, one of the main streets in the downtown; also for sidewalks on Brookside Road and Ryland Avenue in Bible Hill. The Forest Hills Subdivision, in the Meadowland Avenue area of Bible Hill, is a large residential subdivision that has been developed over the last 15 years. These people petitioned and begged the

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previous administration to provide gutters and sidewalks and paving for this subdivision. I am pleased that in 1994 this government began the paving and the sidewalks and the gutters and the curbs for the area. It now is a beautiful subdivision, one of the wonderful areas of Bible Hill in which to live. Also, one of the older streets, Windsor Avenue, was paved and Farnham Road in Bible Hill also had some pulverizing and paving - all that in 1994.

In 1995 the continuation of the Forest Hill Drive gutter, curb, sidewalk and paving and the completion of Queen Street in Truro from Walker Street to Commercial Street with planing, replacing curb and gutter and repaving. That totalled close to $1 million - $745,000.

Again last year the province has also spent close to $1 million to replace the bridge on Vimy Road that links Bible Hill with the Brookside Road area. I was pleased to have the Minister of Transportation come to Truro and open that bridge. It is our fixed link, as we like to call it. We took the opportunity to honour one of our older citizens, Arnold Crowe, to come and cut the ribbon because it is on the site of his family business, the Crowe's Ice Mill. He, at the time, was 95 years of age and I am sorry to say he has since passed away, but it was one of his most glorious moments to be there to cut that ribbon and I did appreciate him being there to help us celebrate the occasion. (Applause)

As well, this year we have just completed the planing and repaving of Pictou Road from Main Street to the village line and this funding that was provided to provide the link that would connect with the work that was done in the county from the village line to the valley. The infrastructure work and transportation projects are important for the safety and for the quality of life for the people in the area for years to come. It is vital to keeping the area a competitive location. It protects our strong economy and advances the region in the province.

Other services that are provided in the area that make it the best place in Nova Scotia in which to live are our 18 schools, the interest that we have in arts and culture through the Truro Arts Society, and our theatre groups. We have a strong commitment to a safe town through the Community Policing Association and the Safe Town Initiatives.

One of our main economic drivers in the area is tourism. We have the beautiful Victoria Park in downtown Truro, 1,000 acres, and it is a wonderful area for recreation, enjoying walking trails, the Joseph Howe Falls, as well as sporting parks and the swimming pools. Truro is well known as a sporting community and we have just recently seen two of our most notable sporting supporters honoured. First, Chuck Maxwell was honoured in the Baseball Hall of Fame just last Saturday night, and Mr. Bob Piers was recognized by the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to sport and youth in Nova Scotia.

Moving on, Mr. Speaker, to an emphasis that has been announced and a key priority that has been brought to our attention through the Speech from the Throne, which is health care. As the government enhances the emphasis on health care, I want to tell the House that the Truro area is very fortunate to have a stable hospital, good, strong medical professionals

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in the area and a home care system that is very successful. The Northern Regional Health Board oversees the delivery of a budget of $75 million and the Colchester Regional Hospital provides great service to the community with a budget of $21.1 million. We have 132 beds in that hospital and over 64 physicians serving the community.

Home care in the area is very successful. There is a staff of 280 serving the northern region, with a total nursing staff of 75. There are over 3,000 people benefitting from home care in the area and they work this year with a budget of $10 million for the whole region.

Just last weekend, Mr. Speaker, when I was attending the anniversary services of the First United Church which is 237 years old, the oldest church in the area, I was speaking to a woman who went out of her way to come to me to tell me about her experience with the health care system in Nova Scotia. She was concerned about the myth that is out there that the health care system is not working, because she is now recovering from cancer and she spoke of the wonderful care that she received while being treated for cancer, the wonderful care from the hospital, from the nurses, the doctors, and how important the home care is in her recovery.

We both acknowledged, as well, that the nursing care is very special in this province. The nurses are working very hard and they are giving wonderful service. I would suggest, and I think she agreed with me, yes, the nurses are overworked in this area, and I want to stress that the nurses need our attention and our focus as we do enhance our emphasis on health care. They are our front line and they meet the needs of the people daily. They may be overworked or they may have to have more attention as a result of the changes and they must be looked after.

Mr. Speaker, the board members that serve on the Northern Regional Health Board are to be thanked and recognized for their work and their dedication. We do have the offices in Truro. So that is very important to the area with the good services that they provide, as well as the spin-off of having those offices in the Truro area. It is very important to the community.

[4:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, then we move on to a third key priority of government, jobs and education. The focus on education is the most important priority for the area that I represent. As I have said, there are 12 public schools in my community and a private school as well. There are two post-secondary schools in Truro-Bible Hill, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and the Truro Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. Both are growing, vibrant schools.

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As the previous Minister of Agriculture has stated, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College is a jewel in this province. There are close to 1,000 students enrolled in the Nova Scotia Agricultural College with over 90 per cent of the graduates finding jobs. It is a relevant school and it is doing a good job of training our people. Its focus is providing education for the jobs that are available. The Agricultural College also has a strong focus on research and we are partnering with the private sector to establish partners and matching dollars to expand the research potential. As a result, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College has a research funding level of between $3 million and $4 million. It is now the third largest university research effort in Nova Scotia. Successful partnerships and cooperative interests such as wild blueberry research, cattle genetics, turf grass and yes, carrot research has been coordinated. The Nova Scotia Agricultural College is renowned for its quality teaching and training and the students are recognized for their broad knowledge and excellence.

Also attached to the Agricultural College, of course, is the Agri-tech Park which is beginning its development. It is an exciting area for the Agricultural College and it is exciting for the province. That is now utilizing the site of the former Youth Training Centre that used to be in Bible Hill which has now moved those young people out into the community schools where they are being integrated into society and into the school system where I believe they belong and where I believe they are nurtured and also excelling as they have been welcomed into the community schools in Nova Scotia.

I also spoke of the other post-secondary school in the area and it is the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus. In April 1995, this province reallocated dollars from within the community college budget of $2.35 million to support the new programs and to purchase the latest in technology for the school. It now has close to 400 students attending and they are working with business and the community to develop programs that are relevant to society so that those people graduating can find those jobs that are out there. We all know there are jobs there and we know that we must train Nova Scotia's young people for those jobs.

I attended both the first graduating class and the second graduation in 1997 and I must say that those students, as they crossed the stage, were very appreciative and every one of them were walking off that stage into a job.

At the same time, I have to mention the fact that the Nova Scotia Teachers College final graduating class walked across the stage this May 1997, 100 students. I am a former graduate of the Nova Scotia Teachers College and I, like many others, was very emotional about the closing but I also know that it was necessary if we are going to be providing the proper education not only for all of our young people but also for our teachers. We were training teachers for jobs that were not there. We were graduating 900 teachers a year for the schools in Nova Scotia and we had 3,000 teachers looking for a job. Last year, we had 409 enrolled that graduated and only about one-third of those are now employed. This year there are 600 enrolled in teacher training in the institutions in the province and next year about 300 will be

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graduating and still at that, maybe only 50 per cent of them will be walking into jobs. I think with the rationalization of our universities, teacher training being one of them, that we are now developing and training those people for jobs that are there and making sure that we have properly trained teachers, the best that we could possibly provide for the young people of this province.

I want to say here, Mr. Speaker, if the previous administration had worked to keep the Nova Scotia Teachers College strong - I live in Truro, I saw what was happening, I saw them as they cut back in the area. I saw them as they weakened that school to the point that it was now wise, and it was leading that way prior to 1993, that the function be changed within that facility.

Nova Scotia must keep up with what is happening out there. We have 13 universities here. We have two of them that are the best in Canada, as recently Maclean's Magazine has stated. Rationalization of programs is part of why they are recognized as being the two best in Canada. Teacher training is vital to our quality of education and part of that rationalization.

When the Nova Scotia Teachers College became available, I fought hard to bring the flagship of the new community college system to Truro. Our community provides the perfect setting for such a school. We also have good businesses; we have manufacturing in the area that can use that school for training. We are in the hub of the province so it is accessible to all areas of the province. So, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with what is happening within that facility.

When the member for Hants East was speaking, he talked about the need for schools in his area and what is happening there. I am pleased to talk about the middle school that is being constructed as we speak, an $8 million school that will house Grades 5, 6 and 7 in the Bible Hill-Salmon River Valley areas. People in that area for 10 years have been asking for a school. That school is about to be opened. I had a tour of the school last Friday. It is about 97 per cent finished. Students from Grades 5 and 6 will be entering that in January of this year and then the full complement will be there in September 1998.

That school is a bright, beautiful school. It is fully computerized. It has special accommodation for special education students. There is a music room to provide the culture for the wonderful music program in the Truro area; a home economics room, an industrial arts room and also all the facilities that would be necessary for sports, both inside the school as well as the soccer field and ball field outside the school. The gymnasium and the cafeteria are built so that the community would have use of the school and are welcome within the school. We are providing a wonderful learning environment and teaching environment for the teachers and students in the area.

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Last year, I worked hard with the teachers, the school board and the community to make certain that we had one of the best facilities for the children of the area and for the community. Education, along with our transportation and infrastructure programs, is key to providing jobs for Nova Scotians. If there are jobs available, we must train our young people for those jobs. The Nova Scotia Agricultural College and the Nova Scotia Community College are both facilities doing just that.

As I reflect back on 1993, when I was first elected and first saw the budget of this province and saw a deficit of $617 million and an $8 billion debt that we were faced with, I am proud to stand here and say that this government balanced the budget of this province. We now have increased funding going into our health services and our community services.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot go back with the Tories and allow this province to go back to that type of financial and fiscal management. We certainly cannot go with the Third Party with their free spending abilities. It is quite obvious that they cannot even balance their own budget, let alone the budget of the province.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to say that Truro-Bible Hill is well served by this government. I am pleased to represent them. I want to express my appreciation to the people of Truro-Bible Hill and my caucus colleagues, including our Premier, for their support and their encouragement for the area. (Interruption) Both Premiers. (Applause)

We will continue to create a legacy that will make Truro-Bible Hill a force to be reckoned with and one of the best places in Nova Scotia in which to live. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will be voting in favour of the Speech from the Throne. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, it is, indeed, a pleasure for me to rise in the House today and to participate in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. As you and others in this place probably will know, I have been here now close to 20 years. For me it has been 20 years of an invigorating relationship between my constituents and myself. I have enjoyed every moment of that service. I must say, as I am sure all other members would say of their own constituents, that I could represent no better people than the people of Queens.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to things having to do with Queens, that puts me in mind of Her Majesty's representative here in Nova Scotia, the Lieutenant Governor Mr. Kinley and, of course, his very capable spouse, Mrs. Kinley. I had the good fortune to know both Mr. and Mrs. Kinley long before they were appointed to represent Her Majesty the Queen here in the province. I must say that the very down-home folksy way that they had in private life has extended itself into public life. Wherever they go, they make people feel comfortable, while at the same time they are always cognizant of the fact that there is a certain degree of decorum which must be maintained about the office which they hold and of the person whom

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they represent. They manage, as some others might not do so well, to carry this off very effectively.

I was reminded of that this summer when I, along with my colleague and friend, the member for Shelburne, were at Shelburne for the visit of the Matthew when His Honour arrived, not all dolled out in the uniform of office, but wearing a boater and had a great day there and made everybody feel very much at ease and, of course, assured as is always the case, that he is welcome in every community of Nova Scotia.

I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the new members to this place: the member for Cape Breton North, the Premier, who is an old friend of mine; he and the Leader of the Opposition and my wife and I, all having attended Kings at roughly the same time. Although, I hasten to point out that both of them, of course, are much older than I am. I was a junior student when they were in their senior years. It is always good to see old friends achieve and do well even though we do not always hold the same views on all matters. It also, of course, is a great pleasure to welcome the member for Cape Breton The Lakes and also for Halifax Citadel and a great pleasure for me to welcome my friend and colleague, the member for Cumberland North who has played such an invigorating role in his own community and now has the opportunity to bring that community's views here to this very special place.

One thing which all four of them will learn, if they have not already seen it at play here, is that while we all take our jobs seriously, and this is an adversarial forum, it is not only possible, but highly desirable and in the public interest, that we develop friendships and trusts with each other that cross Party lines so that, more effectively, all of us can work together to meet the public need which all of us, indeed, are sworn to do.

I also would share with the four new members the best advice that I have ever been able to find that essentially is the advice of Edmund Burke, the great Parliamentarian who has said that the only thing that a Member of Parliament can offer his constituents is his best judgment. Indeed what else do we have to offer? We, in fact, cannot offer them new schools, roads and hospitals. We cannot offer them any of those things which are not ours to give out of our own pockets. The only thing we can offer, with any assuredness, is our own best judgment. Of course, we ourselves are judged on that each time we return to the polls seeking the support of our electors.

The new House in 1998 will be a very different House from this House. There will be many familiar faces gone, some as a consequence of the fray at the polls, but many as a consequence of taking the personal decision to step away from public life. To each and every one of those members, irrespective of Party, I offer my best wishes for a very successful post-legislative career or indeed retirement, if that is the choice that is made.

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Each and every one of these people, although they have served for different numbers of years, has given good service to the Province of Nova Scotia, has served their constituents well in this place, as well as at home and have made a genuine contribution to the well-being of this province. There are a couple of members that I want to mention, in particular, because I have had such close contact with them. One of them is the member for Hants East, who has been my colleague on the Public Accounts Committee since we both went to that committee in 1993. He is a tough partisan. He is intellectually capable and I would have to say that he is the man who, in my view, can march forward on the basis of his word, because when Bob Carruthers gives his word, his word his good. He has been a great fellow to work with and I know that I will miss him and I am sure that the House will as well.

[4:30 p.m.]

I also want to pay tribute to one who left here a little prematurely and that is my good friend, Terry Donahoe, who was the member for Halifax Citadel for 18 years. Terry brought a sense to this House that not many of us do bring and that, of course, comes as a consequence of being from a family which has been involved in the public affairs of this province, not only for decades but indeed for several generations, and I hasten to add on both sides of the House, for some of Terry's forbearers did not exercise quite as keen judgment as he did and happened to be members of the Liberal Party. With that said, Terry did play a very important public role here as Minister of Education, as Minister of Justice and in other capacities. I know that all of us, again irrespective of Party, miss Terry as a combatant, as a thoroughly professional politician in the way in which he approached public life and as a colleague in this place. I know that I speak on behalf of all of us when I say we wish him well in his retirement.

I also want to say of my good friend the member for Pictou West how greatly I will miss his company in this place. I think on three occasions we have been seat mates since we both arrived here as freshmen in 1978. Donnie has been constantly a friend, a mentor, a person of good, solid, sound judgment and one who is always able to find the best in everybody and to help others to put aside more partisan feelings in view of better achieving the public interest. I will really miss Donnie and I hope that, from time to time, he may engage me in a game of golf and perhaps even make me feel good about my game.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity as so many members have, to thank my family and most particularly my wife, Nancy, for the support that she has rendered me and, indeed, my constituents through my 20 years here. We all know that, especially those of us who live outside metro and are required to reside here when the House is in session, how effectively a spouse can play a role in terms of keeping us in touch with our people who are at home. It is not simply a matter of picking up the phone and taking a message or turning on an answering machine and writing down a message and conveying that to us. Time and time and time again, our spouses have, in fact, become almost in fact surrogate members because they,

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too, will have the hearts of those who are in difficulty poured out to them and they will make sure that we are able to do our jobs more effectively in meeting the needs of these people.

Nova Scotia, while it faces the phenomenon of increasing urbanization, is still very much a community of small communities, small towns and rural communities. Now, there is a very special flavour that we have in this corner of North America and one which I would hope we will not lose, for indeed it is that very flavour which attracts so many people to this province, both in terms of those who would travel here and, at least, for a brief moment enjoy the ambience of the life that we enjoy here in Nova Scotia, or indeed for those who are looking for a sound and a good place to invest money to earn, of course, more money for themselves but also to create employment opportunities in our community.

I have been very much struck over the past few years that while our sense of community with each other has not altered, the commitment by government to small communities has diminished significantly. Here, of course, I refer to the commitment by this government - and I will be dealing with this a little later - but also the commitment of the Government of Canada to small communities.

The face of government is disappearing from our small towns and from our rural communities. By disappearing from our small towns and our rural communities, rural and small town dwellers are beginning to feel cut off from the mainstream of life in Nova Scotia and in Canada. The government, irrespective of political stripe, has an obligation to ensure that all citizens, irrespective of where they live, have every opportunity provided to them to participate fully in the life of their community, of their province and of their country.

One of the phenomena which makes it possible for our smaller communities to continue to wax strong in spite of the withdrawal of government from them is the tremendous service done in our communities by volunteers. I know that my community is not unique in this. Each of us could say what I am about to say, but I do think it bears repeating. I was in our community and I asked myself this question, which, of course, is rhetorical. It answers itself. What would my community be like without the Lions Club, without Kiwanis, without Kinsmen? What would my community be like without the South Queens Chamber of Commerce or the North Queens Board of Trade? What would my community be like without the historical societies which keep our past alive as part of our present and ensure that it is conveyed to future generations, the Queens County Historical Society, the North Queens Historical Society and the Milton Historical Society?

What would our communities be like were it not for those men and women and young people who band together in community associations to provide opportunities for growth and enjoyment in those communities? Sometimes in a soft way and sometimes through the provision of bricks and mortar for community centres. My community, again I am sure, is no different than the communities which each and every member here serves. From Kempt to Port Mouton, from Greenfield to Milton, from Milton to Mill Village, Charleston, one can go

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through all of these communities in my constituency and in every occasion there are people who have decided that they can best serve their communities and make their communities better places in which to live, to grow and to prosper, that they band together in community associations.

The other morning I had an appointment at our hospital to go up to the lab and have a little blood drawn. I was reminded - if indeed I needed to be - of the vital role that our volunteers play in our Queens General Hospital, particularly those who are involved in various aspects of hospice care.

Not all volunteers are there in an organized way. There are people in our community who just simply, because they believe it is the right thing to do, because they know it is the right thing to do, spend a great deal of their time in our community visiting those who are sick and are not able to participate in the regular mainstream of life as they once were and as we would all hope they will be again. Again, in our nursing homes, the volunteers who work there with those who now find their homes in those very fine institutions in our community.

This time of the year during hunting season, we are also reminded of the tremendous role that is played by those who are involved in ground search and rescue, both in North Queens and South Queens. With virtually no assistance from government at all, but by borrowing and scrounging and raising money and by cobbling together what they can of their own personal resources, they are able to put together effective, well-trained teams to put out into the woods when hunters are lost, when hikers are lost, whenever somebody's life is in danger, and other organizations that meet more special needs: the Nova Scotia Guides Association which has its headquarters in Hibernia; the Queens County Fish and Game Association; the Queens County Rod and Gun Club, which not only provides opportunities for gun owners to use their weapons safely, but provides an educational vehicle for the safe use of firearms throughout our community.

Of course our firefighters; not many of us thought to reflect upon the tremendous role that our volunteer firefighters play in Nova Scotia. It is a basic truth that this province and, indeed, no province could afford to go out and buy the professional fire-fighting services that are provided to us by our volunteers. These men and women, the junior firefighters and the auxiliaries which support them make it practically an article of faith to live their lives around the provision of the service of volunteer fire services and to develop the funding they need in order to buy the equipment which provides the assurance of safety to each and every one of us in our homes.

The economy of Queens is not significantly dissimilar to the rural economies of most of Nova Scotia. The fishery continues to be important, although with the downturn in the fishery it has been of less economic significance in a positive respect than has been the case in the past. There are many people in our community who are hurting deeply, as a consequence of the failure of the fishery to continue to provide them and their families

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financial sustenance to keep body and soul together. While the situation here is not nearly so dramatic as it is in Newfoundland, there are people in my community as, indeed, is the case across Nova Scotia, who will suffer great hardships when they are abruptly cut off from TAGS funding in the spring of 1998. One is prompted to ask, since all of those people will move off federal assistance, what is the plan of this government to assist them as they fall onto provincial assistance, as the only assistance which then will be available to them? We will all be looking forward to the Minister of Community Services providing us with her plan for the people of Nova Scotia who find themselves falling into that very deep and, indeed, to date, bottomless chasm.

The forests continue to provide such valuable employment to us. Our sawmills, we have three large and active sawmills; our paper mill, Bowater Mersey Paper Company Limited; our Christmas tree growers and those who are involved in cottage industries and secondary manufacturing of wood products; I think of toys, for example, this industry continues to be a vital part of our community. Now we find it being told that the forests run the risk of going the way of the fishery. We have seen what tremendous damage is done to the social and economic fabric of our community as a consequence of the fishery decline. We must make absolutely sure that we do everything in our power to ensure that the forests do not go the way of the fishery.

Ship repair continues to be an important part of our economy in Queens, as does manufacturing. Tourism, of course, is vitally important and it is a growing sector, as we heard today from the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. We continue to have new tourism companies opening up and operating in Queens, many of them focusing on eco-tourism opportunities.

Finally, of course, we have the new economy of which all of us will want to take advantage, which is inclined to be information-based. We have a number of new companies which are starting business in Queens and which promise us a good, long-term future with respect to developing opportunities in the new economy.

What is the government's role in all of this? It strikes me that the government's role is at least fourfold: firstly, in providing services to the people of the province, services with respect to health care in its widest context; education; social services; and justice. Government, it seems to me, also is responsible for providing infrastructure, either directly or, indeed, indirectly from time to time, through working with our municipal governments on things such as water and sewage and the paving of our roads and so on.

Infrastructure also includes very much the opportunity that is sometimes provided communities with respect to the provision of parks. Of course parks are an important commodity that we carry in our tourism basket.

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[4:45 p.m.]

I want to take this point particularly to say thank you to the former Minister of Natural Resources, the member for Truro-Bible Hill, who after three years of watching the Thomas Raddall Park languish in my constituency with the gate securely locked and after watching the opportunity for the Shelburne River to be named as a Canadian Heritage River being stuck way on a back burner, came to her department and decided that it was important to seize on these opportunities and within the short space of a year and a bit, ensured that the key was turned in the lock on the gate of Thomas Raddall Park and that that park was opened to the public this year and even though opened part way through the season, has been very successful.

She too made sure that those who were involved in causing Shelburne River to become a Canadian Heritage River were brought together to make that happen. I must say that on virtually every step of the way, she did me the courtesy of advising me when things were going to happen and from time to time seeking my advice and from time to time taking advice from me which was not solicited but which I hope she found to be good advice. On behalf of myself, personally, and on behalf of my constituents, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to her for her efforts on our behalf.

Transportation, of course, is vitally important to Nova Scotia. We usually think of it in terms of highways and those of us who live along the South Shore look to the continuation of the construction of the 100-Series Highway so that we will have all of the South Shore, from Halifax to Yarmouth, linked and then of course also the eventual twinning of that highway too. As our railways were torn up, of course, greater and greater stress has been placed on our highways by the tremendous truck traffic that they experience and we have to ensure that we put the transportation dollars into those 100-Series Highways to keep them up to par so they can continue to be our links between our local economies and the economies of North America and, indeed, the globe.

Just two weeks ago, my family and I went to Saint John and used the ferry from Digby to Saint John for our principal mode of transportation. We drove from Liverpool to Digby and it was a very nice occasion because we were in fact taking our granddaughter, who now is a little over three months old, to meet my mother for the first time, her first great-grandchild. While all of that was great fun and greatly enjoyed by all of us, I must say that I was disappointed in encountering what I thought was a significantly diminished service on the Bay of Fundy.

It was the first time I had crossed on that route since the route was privatized. The Princess of Acadia is gone and the MV Bluenose is now on that route. The MV Bluenose cannot meet some of the demands that are placed on it from the Digby to Saint John run. All people were inconvenienced on that day and I assume on other days because the vessel had

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to sail off schedule in order to be able to dock in Saint John with the extreme spring tides that were in place.

I must say that I was also very disappointed in the general appearance of the vessel itself. I noticed that the floor on one particular area of the boat, in an area that is frequently used on crossings hadn't been cleaned in my view for some time. I made a little X with my toe in that area on the Friday that we sailed and when we came back on the Sunday, I went back to this area of the boat and sure enough, the little X that I had made had not been altered one bit.

If we are going to provide good transportation and we are going to encourage our tourists to use these marine transportation links, we have to make it a class experience. Travelling on an old boat that cannot dock on schedule, and is maintained in a less than clean state, is not going to achieve that. As we learn to live with the privatization of these essential ferry links, we are going to find that the service is significantly less than we experienced when CN Marine ran those services, not only across the Bay of Fundy, but indeed between the Yarmouth and Bar Harbor as well.

Of course, the fourth area that government has traditionally been relied upon, and must continue to be relied upon, is the provision of training and the provision of appropriate financial opportunities for Nova Scotia businesses that want to take advantage, of the new economy.

How well has this government stood up to that brief menu of the role of government here in Nova Scotia? How has this Savage-MacLellan Government measured up? We used to hear a lot of talk about a Triple E Senate. I think one could refer to this government has being Triple I, ineffective, inefficient and in government. It is a government which must be held accountable, not for what has happened in the brief period since July when the second half of the Savage-MacLellan tag team took over, but rather during the entire course of its provision of government to the Province of Nova Scotia. Yes, it is true the figurehead has changed. A few of the rats have abandoned ship, but it is the same boat and crew on the same haphazard course.

This is a Liberal Government which has talked about preventive health care, yet it is one which consistently has failed to put dollars in its budget and programs in place to develop preventive health care in this province from Yarmouth to Cape North, from Halifax to Amherst. This is a Liberal Government which has talked about the alleviation of child poverty, yet it is one which now has put a tax on children's clothing, putting further burden on those who live in poverty in this province.

This is a Liberal Government which talks about education, but taxes school supplies through the BST and which has dramatically reduced dollars for classrooms in Nova Scotia. In 1992-93 the last year that the Progressive Conservative Party governed this province, the

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net operating budget for education in Nova Scotia was $817,454,900. In 1997-98, under this Liberal Government that budget has been reduced a full $75 million, operating dollars that are no longer available for education in this province. Is it any wonder that education is in crisis in Nova Scotia?

This is a Liberal Party which has talked about developing a self-financing Pharmacare Program, yet as recently as this past week, we were told by the government itself that it is $11 million underfunded and that they have to grope to find the $11 million to make up for that shortfall. This is a Liberal Government which has talked about commitment to health care, yet presides over the loss of community hospitals and the loss of health professionals to the United States.

This is a Liberal Government, which in the Throne Speech of last Thursday, offered $40 million more for health care, yet within 24 hours the minister himself, was forced to admit that this was not new money which was going to be added to next year's budget, but was money which was going to be thrown into this year's budget to help cover the shortfall in his department.

This is a Liberal Government which promised 911 emergency service and which, in fact, has delivered a service which itself is an emergency. This is a Liberal Government which promised to improve ambulance service and, instead, is turning it into a quasi-private service with no more local content. This is a Liberal Government which, during its first four years, told us that everything was well in the forests of Nova Scotia and in its fifth year tells us that we are in crisis. This is a Liberal Government which claims that Sable gas is our future but which, in fact, has bungled royalties, pipeline assignability, opportunity for petrochemical industry and has bungled trades preparedness and bungled job opportunities, too. It is, in fact, now a sad truth, as stated by the independent Joint Offshore Board which held the hearings, that New Brunswick is going to be a greater beneficiary of offshore Sable gas than is Nova Scotia.

Something is terribly wrong with those who are responsible for making the decisions which have caused us to reach this point. Those people sit on the government side of the House in Nova Scotia and are part of the MacLellan-Savage Regime.

This is a Liberal Government which has promised an arm's length relationship between itself and the commission which governs gambling in this province. Yet we know as a consequence of the hearings held in this very Chamber at the Public Accounts Committee that there is no arm's length between that commission and this government, that, in fact, there is an ongoing relationship between the two with the passing back and forth of memos so that they can come to some kind of mutual agreement rather than government being instructed by an independent group, as was promised when that legislation was passed here a few years ago.

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This is a government which has turned the concept of public-private partnering into a distasteful, expensive experience for Nova Scotians. Now the Socialists will tell us that public-private partnering is all wrong. We will tell you that conceptually it is sound. This government has held it up to ridicule because it took the concept from the drawing board out into the shop and dropped it on the floor on the way and broke it. It has provided us with a highway, the Cobequid Pass, which is of lesser quality than other major highways in the province and certainly if one looks at the new highways that have just been opened in New Brunswick it is not as good as they are. It is narrower, it is one which has provided us the highway where one size doesn't fit all, we now know that. It is one which has allowed speed limits on the old highway in the Wentworth Valley to be jiggered to accommodate not safety but to accommodate its private partner. It is one which has ensured that public-private partnering with respect to the building of schools is held up to ridicule for its absolute failure to negotiate leases in advance of moving into the school premises.

Now, as a consequence again of hearing trial balloons floated by officials of government in this very Chamber when we had Public Accounts Committee hearings, who knows, jails and hospitals may be up for public-private partnering as well. This is a Liberal Government which had only modest results in creating a climate for investment.

One of the great opportunities that is slipping by us here in Nova Scotia and is one which is of vital interest to all Nova Scotians, indeed, all Atlantic Canadians, is to develop aggressively a project, a program, a plan with the dollars and the skills Halifax has as the post-Panamax port on the northeast coast of North America. If we lose this opportunity, the importance of the Port of Halifax will diminish very significantly. There is only going to be one winner in this fight for the post-Panamax port and we have to make sure that that winner is Nova Scotia. Yet, nobody in Nova Scotia has yet seen any evidence that this government is on top of that initiative which is yet to be undertaken.

[5:00 p.m.]

This is a Liberal Government which offered a cheap solution to resolve the matter of abuse at the school in Shelburne, a solution which itself has become an abuse. It has turned Operation Hope into Operation Hopeless. This is a Liberal Government which promised not to amalgamate municipal units and promptly dragooned metro and industrial Cape Breton into a forced marriage which is costing taxpayers in those communities millions and millions of dollars.

This is a Liberal Government which created school boards so remote from our communities that they have, in fact, become virtually redundant and captured by the petty bureaucrats who run them. This is a Liberal Government which promised community health decision-making and instead destroyed local boards in favour of the amorphous superboards whose memberships come not from the community but from lists compiled in the Minister of Health's office.

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This is a Liberal Government which talks a great game about education, but has in fact, as I have already indicated, reduced funding to schools, to universities and has shut down community colleges and has allowed low standards to be established for Nova Scotian students. Yet, it uses, as we saw the other day again in this very Chamber at the Public Accounts Committee, the teachers as the scapegoats. This is a government which does not understand that teachers are not part of the problem, but rather teachers are part of the solution.

This is a government which thinks that it is preparing the young people of Nova Scotia for the future economy of the globe by allowing people to think that they have completed Grade 12 when in fact, if one looks at the standards set by this government, all that is necessary to get that Grade 12 diploma is to have achieved a Grade 9 entry level in virtually every subject area. There is not a parent that attends a graduation ceremony in the Province of Nova Scotia who sees their child receive that certificate who does not believe that the education system of Nova Scotia has made sure that that child is graduating at a Grade 12 level.

Yet, if one looks at the Department of Education's standards, one understands that, yes, that child may indeed have achieved a Grade 12 level but there are many others who may only have achieved a Grade 8 leaving level and that, in this highly competitive world, is simply not good enough.

That, Mr. Speaker, all of those sitting in the government benches will say, is in the past. Savage is gone. Boudreau is gone. They are no more. The architects of all of those bad things have been sent packing, excepting of course for those who today have moved out of the front benches onto the back benches. It was the folly of the old Liberal Government, they will tell us, not the new Liberal Government led by Russell MacLellan. They will tell us that this is not the Liberal Government of 1993, this is the Liberal Government 1997 Inc.

Well, the best test was the fruitless pilgrimage of the Premier to Ottawa when he sought to get recompense to right at least some of this litany of wrongs. Just imagine, can't you imagine? The Premier arrives in Ottawa and he goes to Paul Martin's office and respectfully knocks on the door and Mr. Martin says, yes, who is there. The voice replies, it is me, Paul, Russell, remember me? Oh, I remember you. You used to be the Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-The Sydneys. I remember when you sat in our caucus and supported us in the House of Commons.

Well, what can I do for you, Paul says, Russell says we have some really bad things going for us in Nova Scotia. We have this toll road and everybody is against it, everybody knows that the money that should have been forthcoming for that almost got sent somewhere else and there was an awful mess about that and I want to right that wrong. Then there is this BST or HST or whatever they call it, they call it all kinds of things and the people of Nova Scotia are suffering from the imposition of that HST and that is not right. I am here to make

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sure, Paul, that those wrongs are put right and that something is done about it. Paul looks at his guest and says, excuse me, didn't I see you sitting in caucus with me when we discussed these things? Didn't I see you sitting in the House of Commons with me when we debated these things? Didn't I see you sitting in the House of Commons with me when we voted on these things? Russell, you voted for the HST. Russell, I didn't hear you say anything against tolls on the highway until you retired to Nova Scotia. (Interruption) Oh Russell, I am afraid not, Russell came home, empty-handed.

In part, health care has deteriorated in Canada and in Nova Scotia as a consequence of the federal Liberal cuts in the tens of millions of dollars to the provinces. Who voted in favour of those cuts in successive Liberal budgets? It was the former Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-The Sydneys, now the Premier of Nova Scotia. The BST legislation which weighs so heavily on the unemployed and the under-employed, the working poor, senior citizens, and those on fixed incomes. Those who have to provide fuel oil for their homes, electricity, gasoline for their cars, clothing for themselves and for their children and for home repairs and indeed who have to cover the very cost of dying.

The Premier went to Ottawa and said he was going to fix it. Why didn't he fix it before it was passed in the House of Commons by standing up and speaking against it and then voting against it in the House? You cannot have it both ways.

Unemployment insurance cuts, let's think about that. Now we all know that in May there are going to be significant numbers of Nova Scotians who are going to fall off TAGS. We also know that employment opportunities for persons in Nova Scotia are significantly fewer than any of us would wish them to be. Yet when the federal Liberal Government changed unemployment insurance to employment insurance there was not a single word of debate allowed in the federal Parliament on changes that will dramatically impact the people of Atlantic Canada and of Nova Scotia. When Elsie Wayne sought to find enough Liberals to agree to debating that on the floor of the House, she couldn't find any. When those cuts were passed by the House of Commons, they were supported by the member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys, now Premier of Nova Scotia.

When TAGS was cut by an entire year with no plan for easing the recipients out of it, who voted in favour of early termination? You are right, Mr. Speaker, the member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys, now Premier of Nova Scotia.

When Allan Rock brought in his legislation to force law-abiding Canadians from one end of this country to the other into a long gun registration system which is incredibly expensive and which most of us believe will never work, who not only voted in favour of that legislation but, indeed, was Allan Rock's right-hand man in shepherding it through Parliament. You are right, it was his Parliamentary Secretary, the member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys, the now Premier of Nova Scotia.

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Yes, Mr. Speaker, the face and the front seat may have changed and the voice may have softened but this is the same government which made Nova Scotians ride the whirlwind since 1993 and this is the government which in 1998 will reap that whirlwind.

Mr. Speaker, this is a government whose feet must be held to the fire. This is a government which must be held accountable for the dramatic changes which have occurred in this province and which have so negatively impacted on it since it took the reins of power in 1993.

This is a government which must be held accountable for on virtually every occasion dropping the ball in their end of the field before they got anywhere near the halfway line, let alone the goalposts. This is a government which will be held accountable and I look forward to being part of that process when they are held accountable in the spring of 1998, Mr. Speaker. I will not be voting in favour of the motion, in fact I will be voting against it. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me great pleasure to rise on behalf of the people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage in reply to the Speech from the Throne. I would like to join my government colleagues in complimenting the Lieutenant Governor, Jim Kinley, for his delivery of this government's intentions for Nova Scotia. The Lieutenant Governor carried out his duties very well on behalf of Her Majesty and the people of Nova Scotia. I would like to pay my respects to both the Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Kinley and show my admiration and support as they continue in their service to the people.

To you, Mr. Speaker, I want to say how happy I am to congratulate you on being chosen our Speaker for this term. I have no doubt that you are most ably suited to carry out the duties of the Chair of this Chamber. Your years of service not only here but in other capacities have given you the proper training and good knowledge to serve us all in our best interests.

At this time I would also like to congratulate our Premier. Mr. Premier has had a very interesting few months while becoming the Leader of our Party, being sworn in almost immediately as Premier and then having to face the electorate in his own riding of Cape Breton North. On each occasion he has done it with great success and I want to pledge my support and appreciation to him as we continue to govern the people of Nova Scotia. I also want to thank him for the confidence he has shown in me in continuing in my role as Government Caucus Chair.

Mr. Speaker, as the provincial representative for the riding of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, I would like to take this moment to express my sincere appreciation to the many residents who have, over the past years, shown me their loyal support and continued

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dedication. The people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, like those throughout the province, look forward to this government's action as we continue to grow Nova Scotia for the next century.

Mr. Speaker, I am always proud to boast about the people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage on each opportunity I have, whether it is in reply to the Throne Speech, in Adjournment debates and especially in the form of congratulatory resolutions, it gives me great pleasure to single out people from my riding, in general and in specific terms.

Mr. Speaker, as the father of a young family, I'm very much in tune with the young people of our communities. I want to take a few moments to speak of them in this reply address.

[5:15 p.m.]

The young people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage are no different than any other citizens across this province. But yet, sometimes I think they need a little encouragement and a little support from both myself as well as all members of this Assembly.

I am going to identify a few examples of why I'm so proud to be their representative. Earlier this year an Eastern Passage family by the name of Whynot had a harrowing experience. Their 13 year-old son, Jeffrey, received severe burns to 99 per cent of his face after a horrible accident.

Young Jeffrey was fortunate enough to have a brother, Douglas, and he was the first on the scene of that accident. His parents unfortunately were not at home at that time, and Douglas, just a 16 year-old boy, took charge of the situation, comforted his brother and escorted him to the hospital where he was able to support him and bring the necessary medical attention that Jeffrey required.

His parents, like many residents, are very proud of the actions of this young man and I want to congratulate Douglas on his heroism, on his maturity and his love for his brother that he showed at that time.

Yesterday, if we were listening to our national broadcasting service, you would have heard another story. You would have heard about a story of a Grade 10 student from Auburn Drive High School by the name of Krista Johanson. Krista, along with a young man from Sussex, New Brunswick are finalists in the 1997 Think Quest Internet competition being held in Washington, D.C. They are competing against 37 other teams and are among only three Canadians participating.

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Their competition is sponsored by the American software companies, including Microsoft, to design their own educational web page. The grand prize for that award is a $25,000 scholarship. This young lady from our community is in the running-up for this competition. I'm anxiously awaiting the results of that competition and hopefully I'll be able to bring further congratulations to her.

Their web page, by the way, was entitled "Unica Island: A Journey Into Communication" and it focuses on the history of communication with many technical aspects in the ways of communicating well.

These are just two examples, very diverse examples, but examples of the young people from our community who are making a difference, truly a difference that we should be proud of, and I am very proud of.

It kind of brings around the concepts and thoughts towards education. Not always, in the past little while, has education received the kind of fair comment that I believe it deserves in the communities of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

We have two high schools. Two high schools that I want to tell you now that I'm very proud of because they have produced and continue to produce some of Nova Scotia's best educated young people that we have seen.

I want to comment about that for just a moment and show you why I believe that to be the case. Last year, as in many years, I always attend a number of school functions. One of them that I look forward to each year is the graduation ceremonies held in the spring. Last year those two schools passed out close to $0.75 million in scholarships. I don't believe there's another area of our province that can boast of the same, $0.75 million. Money like that isn't passed out to students that aren't doing well. Those students are excelling because they have proper training by their teachers, good support by their families and a community that has given them a good rounded education. To say anything different, Mr. Speaker, would be a deception, and I believe that at each opportunity, we must speak so proudly of the young people of our communities. They deserve it, anything less is a mistake on our part. I can tell you, as I have already mentioned, Mr. Speaker, as a parent of children from that community, I am very proud of the education that our children are receiving.

You know, just recently, only within the last few weeks, I want to give you another example of how well our young people are doing. Auburn Drive High School won the Dr. Moses M. Coady Debating Competition held in Antigonish. You know, there were 11 Nova Scotia schools participating in this two day competition. Our school's A Team that consisted of Natalie Donahue, Erin Burbridge and Gordon Gillis topped 15 other teams across this province to be chosen the top team. We also did very well in on the B Team level. Peter MacCracken, Dave Creamer and Stephen Duncan finished third. I am very proud of these young people, some of whom I know personally. I want to also make mention that Natalie

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Donahue, who was among the A Team competition winners also received an individual award. I want to congratulate Natalie on receiving that award. The top award went to Erin Burbridge of Auburn Drive High School and she won a $1,000 scholarship to St. Francis Xavier University.

St. Francis Xavier University is receiving a lot of attention these days. Each year we send a number of students from our communities on to that institution, and I am very pleased to say that I have grown a great attachment to that school in the last two years. My son continues to speak very well of it, as a matter of fact, and I am proud to say that he continues to be an active member of Saint Mary's, St. F.X., pardon me, a little slip of the tongue. My own alumni takes precedence sometimes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that a Freudian slip?

MR. RICHARDS: Saint Mary's is doing well, as well, as my daughter continues to tell me every day.

Mr. Speaker, these examples that I speak of are just that, examples of the many good things going on with both our high schools and the many young people. We have approximately 2,000 students attending schools from all of our communities. You know, the last little while, these communities have come together, separated themselves from their differences and joined forces to say that the benefits of giving our young people a good education surpass anything else. I am proud to say that I believe that whatever has happened from a negative point of view in the past is just that, in the past. We will continue to work together in harmony with one another and make our communities very proud communities in terms of their academics.

Mr. Speaker, there are other good things going on in the communities of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. I want to move for a moment to talk about another area that I am so proud to be associated with. Each and every person who has driven out the Cole Harbour Road and finally when you get to the top of the hill, referred to as Long Hill, you will see a view that is the best view, I believe, to be seen anywhere in Nova Scotia. It has now been recognized almost worldwide on every postcard, every picture that our local artists can produce. It is part of what we call the Bissett Road heritage properties. There are approximately 140 hectares of land that are combined with 870 hectares that form the Cole Harbour-Lawrencetown Coastal Heritage Park system.

We have been working very hard with the Department of Natural Resources, and soon to be the Department of the Environment, to take control of these lands and preserve them for the protection of all future generations. These lands are tremendously valuable assets, assets that we cannot and should not allow to slip through our fingers. I am pleased to see that there is tremendous progress being made in the past few years. These lands became province-owned back in the 1980's but, unfortunately, like so many things that happened in

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the 1980's there was no real master plan and no one driving the protection of these properties. In the past few years, however, we have turned that around. We are soon going to be making some important announcements in that area. I have worked very closely with the departments and our local communities. There are two very important groups there. The Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society and the Cole Harbour Community Development Association are working in harmony to make certain that the proper protection and management of these lands are there for future generations.

Moving along into other areas of my community, I want to go for a moment into Eastern Passage. Eastern Passage, as we all know, has a very historic relevance to our communities in total. Last summer we were proud to participate on Canada Day, along with approximately 7,000 other people, I might add, to celebrate the first birthday of Fishermans Cove. Fishermans Cove is a beautiful, historic community, rejuvenated by the community itself. I am very proud to have been there on many occasions, and I might add as late as this morning, to enjoy the many benefits that have come from there.

I had a wonderful breakfast there, Mr. Speaker, along with approximately 100 other people. In fact, the place was packed to capacity. They came out because they wanted to share some camaraderie. They wanted to listen to our Premier and they wanted to set a positive tone for the many good things that lie ahead in our communities.

I want to pay homage to the many people of our community who made Fishermans Cove a reality. It was not the bureaucrats in Halifax or Ottawa who made it happen; it was the people within our communities who made it happen. I want to give special note to a young woman by the name of Carolyn Scott as a matter of fact who is chair of that operation and who has taken it upon herself in a volunteer capacity to make certain that this dream of a few years ago has become a reality today. Fishermans Cove is a unique operation. It joins together people from the community, local people, people who have committed themselves to making Eastern Passage a viable operation. It is just doing that. There are more than 100 people working now in that cove area; 100 people actively seeking employment and finding employment and returning to the community the benefit of their work.

There is a wonderful interpretive centre there and a visitor information centre that gives information not only about our own community but, in fact, province-wide. Fishermans Cove has fine shops featuring locally handmade items from not only our community but over Atlantic Canada, woodcrafts, paintings, books, music and all kinds of other activities. I encourage all of us to go down to Eastern Passage, to walk the boardwalk, drop into the shops and don't forget to have a good meal at Boondocks restaurant.

An operation like Fishermans Cove is a fine example of when people join together good things can happen. Last year as well, I want to say that it became a focal point for a number of activities. They hosted, for instance, the sharkarama contest that drew 14,000 people to our community during a weekend of events. There have been all kinds of other activities that

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I think are speaking well in continuation. There has been our summer carnival which is a continuing successful operation, community driven, community operated and serving so many people. There are all kinds of competitions from beach volleyball tournaments, sand castle competitions, dorey races, et cetera, that speak of the old and the new combined.

[5:30 p.m.]

Just off the shoreline of Eastern Passage are two of metro's greatest assets, Lawlors Island and McNabs Island. These two islands that are part of the constituency that I represent are becoming very critical and key pieces of our eco-tourism operation. I am proud to say that as we continue to develop a master plan of activity for these islands, we will see benefits that will attract people worldwide to the metro area. I am hoping that most of them are going to come to Eastern Passage and take advantage of the tour operators that are working from there that can take people to these islands and continue to add support to our community.

This past summer many media outlets paid some attention to our community for the very first time. In June and again in August, Breakfast Television filmed their show from the cove. Live at Five filmed a show from Fishermans Cove, as well as, CBC Radio Information Morning aired a profile of Fishermans Cove and the development that has taken place there. A few years ago you couldn't get the media to find themselves in Eastern Passage unless there was a disaster. Now they are coming because good things are happening and I am very proud of that.

Fishermans Cove has now given new hope to our community. It is a sign of good things to come. But as we continue to move along up the road a little ways, we find another operation that I am very proud of as well. Autoport operation, just a short distance from Fishermans Cove, received some special recognition a little earlier this fall. I was proud to be part of the ceremony that took place just about a month ago, when Autoport was given the designation of an ISO 2002 quality assurance certificate.

If you drive by the Autoport you really can see it because there are so many cars there but it is more than just a place where cars are parked and then moved on again, it is more than just an automotive terminal. In fact, it carries out necessary modifications to vehicles to meet North American standards, services vehicles prior to distribution and looks after the insurance requirements for the vehicles.

In fact, you could say that Autoport is the next thing to a full-fledged automobile factory. Since its operation in 1970 it has become a very integral part of the business activity within our area. When they received this certificate, and I was proud to be there on that day, when I saw the quality of work that is being performed there and the pride that the workers take in their work, it was a very proud day for me to be their representative as well.

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The certificate of which I speak is the first certificate given to an autoport operation anywhere in North America. I am very proud to congratulate the staff, the workers and Mr. McManus, the General Manager of Autoport, as they continue to show leadership and quality that I think is going to show that they can attract even more business than they have over the last many years.

I might add, Mr. Speaker, that Autoport was an operation that started in 1970. Throughout the 1970's there were many good things that started in Nova Scotia. I am proud to say that this government is continuing its partnership and operation there. We are pleased to extend our congratulations to them on the award of this ISO 2000 certificate.

Mr. Speaker right next to the Autoport operation is the Shearwater base. I want to talk for a few minutes about Shearwater because there are some people who believe that Shearwater is not operational anymore. I want to put that myth behind us because I want to tell you that Shearwater is a very viable operation. There are many people who are working on the base and continue to work on the base and are bringing tremendous assets to our community. Colonel Aruja and his staff are committed to bringing our community good services, as they continue to provide the international community with a number of peacekeeping operations.

In addition to the military component at Shearwater, there are some other very interesting things going on. In September of this past year, was the launch of the new Nova Scotia International Air Show. Although we had a year's lapse in air shows from the base at Shearwater, when we came back this year we came back with a vengeance. Close to 100,000 people joined us in participating at the air show this past year; a tremendous success that came about because volunteers from all over the metropolitan area and, in particular, our own community, joined forces in a partnership and said we can do something great here and we did something great. Something that I am very proud to have been part of.

The Shearwater Aviation Museum is continuing to grow and to be a recognized attraction not only for our local community but, in fact, throughout the whole province. The dedicated staff who work from the aviation museum are people who are locally driven in their motivation to make the Shearwater Aviation Museum a proud and successful operation. It attracts a lot of our young people. Again, I think that is something we should continue to speak well of.

Mr. Speaker, I want to move on for a moment to talk about a few of the other highlights that were addressed in the Throne Speech itself. There is no question that health care continues to be a number one concern for all Nova Scotians. I listened earlier this morning and this afternoon when I heard some people talking about many good things happening in our health care system. Too often, though, we hear only of the unfortunate circumstances that occur.

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I want to tell you a little story about a constituent of mine, a young man, a self-employed businessman who I spoke with not so very long ago. He said that he required an operation. Now when a self-employed businessman has to go in the hospital it means pretty much that his business is tied up for that period of time and there is no money coming in. So obviously he did not want to spend any more time in the hospital than necessary. He went to Dartmouth General Hospital and the operation was performed. They have an outreach program that allows people to return to their homes and recover much faster than we could ever have imagined just a few years ago. He was quick to return to his employment and very proud of the health care delivery system that Dartmouth General Hospital and the community at large provided for him. He is now back, full-fledged at work, and a contributing member of our society. I think that stories like that are stories that need to be told and retold because they are happening every day. We don't hear about them but they are there and we should be proud of our health care system.

There is another component to health care though, Mr. Speaker, that sometimes gets missed. When we talk about health care, we often talk about the physical needs of our people, and we forget about the mental concerns and health of our society. Mental health for many years, as we all know, was a bit of a taboo kind of statement, we did not talk about it. If somebody had a mental health illness, we said, well, gee, the best thing we can do is maybe put them in an institution, lock the doors and maybe even throw away the keys. Today, we cannot do that anymore. We owe to all people, regardless of what their health needs are, top level service. In my area, I believe we are providing that kind of top level service.

Mr. Speaker, the support and delivery of mental health services is indicative of this government's underlying theme for health care. Community-based programming is what it is all about. It demonstrates our commitment involving Nova Scotians in identifying their needs for health care reform. Today, a comprehensive, province-wide, community-based system is in place in this province to provide a wide range of mental health services to consumers and their families. This network includes facilities, clinics and satellite outreach service sites in approximately 50 communities throughout Nova Scotia.

As the provincial representative for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, I am proud to boast that a team of health care professionals have been offering mental health services from one of the former school buildings in our community since 1996. We are bringing people with mental health problems back into our communities. Mental health services, Halifax County East provides services to people from a very large diverse area extending from Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage to Ecum Secum. Since relocating to the community, the program has provided services to over 1,000 people. Being located in the community, it has increased accessibility to mental health services.

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned already, not so many years ago when someone had a mental health problem, they were just institutionalized and left without any community support. I am very concerned, even today, about some attitudes that prevail when we deal

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with those who perhaps are unable to speak for themselves. I believe there is a very slippery slope when we start to talk about those individuals who cannot speak for themselves, and we say they are disposable. I am concerned that when we start down that slope, that God only knows where it might lead us. Every individual, every person who is given human life deserves our respect and support. Regardless of what their mental capacities might be, what their physical frailties might be, they deserve our respect and support. We cannot, as a society, allow that slippery slope to go one step further than it already has.

Mr. Speaker, you know there are all kinds of things going on in our society today, many good. Sometimes, we do not hear about the good, but I want to bring to the attention of this House, and to our communities at large, that our young people, people in their middle age, as well as our seniors are providing valuable services to our community that need recognition and support.

I spoke some time about our youth, and I cannot overemphasize how critical it is that we continue to support the activities within our schools. Our teachers, our administrators, our support teams need our continued support in order to provide proper education to our future generations; schools that are necessary to be revitalized, schools that are necessary to be built as our communities continue to grow, and I want to put a plug in now, Mr. Speaker, for a particular school within my community in Eastern Passage.

[5:45 p.m.]

The junior high school in Eastern Passage has been overcrowded for many years. It is filled, and has been filled for some time. We are living in a community that continues to grow. It grows because it is a great community in which people want to live. We are reaching and finding support throughout the community to have this school listed as one of the top priorities for new construction. I know that our Minister of Education, because I have talked with him on several occasions, has recognized the need for this school. I am going to be pressing and pushing as hard as I can to make certain that this school soon becomes a reality and helps meet the needs of the young people in our communities.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to stop there. Our total community is in need of new facilities as well. We continue to grow and we have to meet those needs. I am pleased to say that the encouragement I have received over this last little while, both from the minister as well as the Premier, is encouraging signs and I am going to pass those signs on to my people in Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage so that their needs will be addressed as the new school construction details are announced.

I have only highlighted a couple of areas of major concern for our community, but in doing so I want to say that I am very proud to be the MLA for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. Back in 1993, this was a new riding, a new riding that needed some shape and some form to take place. I believe we have done that. We have done that because we are a

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community that has learned how to work together, how to partner ourselves with government and the community at large to make good things happen.

It is a community that I have been proud to be part of for more than 20 years. I am pleased to say that my intent to continue to live in this community will be there for a long, long time. I am proud to be raising my family there, to encourage my family to stay in this community because it does provide a good family lifestyle that we should all be very pleased about.

I challenge all of us to continue to boast about the good things that go on, not to let the doomsayers and the naysayers of our society bring down communities like Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. We are proud to be members of that community and for some members who yell at me from across the way who do not even know the name from time to time, I want to tell you I will never forget the name of the communities that I serve and I am very proud to say that here today.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for this opportunity. Again, I congratulate you on being our Speaker. I am going to say you have endurance that goes way beyond because you started here at 2:00 o'clock this afternoon. It is now about 5:50 p.m. and you are hanging in there like a real trooper. I do not know that I have seen that by any other Speaker in this House. Congratulations on your endurance to serve us. (Interruption) Your eyes are still open. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: I realize, Mr. Speaker, that there are only a few minutes left so I will simply, with your permission, begin some preliminary remarks and leave the rest for another day.

I too, along with so many of the speakers before me here, want to welcome both you and the new members of the House to your new positions in this place. I especially cannot help feeling elated and delighted to have a seatmate, the member for Cape Breton The Lakes. One of the many reasons for that is not a partisan reason at all. I wanted to say a word about that for a minute or two.

It is a fact and it is a fact that probably many members already know, but I would like to say it again for the record, that in the whole history of this place there have been only 12 women, counting the newest member into this House. There have been only 12 women elected to this place in the history of this province, Mr. Speaker. That means that half of the women ever elected to this House sit in this House now.

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I know that the women in other Parties, the elected members on the other side, would agree with me when I would say that there is a need for more representation from women in this place. I know that women in all Parties support the women who seek office. I know that the barriers which exist to women seeking office and taking office are real. They have to be surmounted. Political Parties do different things, I think, to surmount the barriers. But, Mr. Speaker, I think it is clear from the rather sorry record of the history of this place that much more needs to be done.

Mr. Speaker, I don't doubt for a minute that every member of this place would agree with that, not just the women members from any political Party. So I want to mention - and most members probably know this - the first woman to sit in this place was Gladys Porter, who sat from 1960 to 1967.

When I first came to this place last year the member for Kings North claimed kinship with the former MLA from Kings North and said that she was his aunt. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have since learned, and I would not dream for a minute of accusing a member of this House of an untruth, of uttering one or even thinking one, but he did confess to me this time around that, in fact, she was no relation at all. I suspect that he just wishes she were because I am sure - and I am sorry he is not here to hear this tribute from a member of another Party that he would simply be extremely anxious to be pleasantly associated with pioneering women and successful women and women who have served this province.

So, Mr. Speaker, when 6 of the 12 members in history sit in this House today, it is a good moment to celebrate the achievement. I think of some of the women who have not sat in this place but who have contributed to the life and the richness and the texture of this province. Mr. Speaker, because I see that I have very little time left, I am going to mention one and then I will save the rest for another day.

Halifax Fairview lost a woman of substance in the last year, in the last six or seven months. I want to mention her in this place. Her name was Moira MacPherson and she lived on Coronation Avenue. She was an amazing woman. She had Parkinson's disease for 18 years. She was a dancer and a painter whose disease prevented her from fulfilling her creative instincts in a way that was possible for her as her disease progressed. What she did with her disease was that she went to work on behalf of people with Parkinson's disease. She left us with a legacy that includes the following, she was instrumental in establishing the first office for the Parkinson's Disease Association in Nova Scotia; she successfully applied for funding support for patient services; she moved to create, in 1989, the Nova Scotia Division as an affiliate of the National Parkinson Foundation; she was instrumental in developing chapters and support groups all across Nova Scotia; she helped with the publication of a newsletter, the establishment of the help line and many fundraising and public awareness activities.

Mr. Speaker, there is much more I could say about Moira MacPherson, but I will save that for another day and with your permission, move to adjourn.

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MR. SPEAKER: We are approaching the moment of interruption with very little time left. I would accept the motion to adjourn the debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow being Opposition Day, we will be calling after Question Period for debate for the rest of the afternoon, Resolution No. 7. We hope there are just a few minutes for the one House Order that is presently on the paper so we can deal with that as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I now move that the House rise to meet again tomorrow afternoon from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. or whatever time we finish the business.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House now do rise to sit again tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

We will move on now to the Adjournment debate. The resolution has been submitted by the honourable member for Queens who wishes to debate the matter:

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Emergency Measures Organization immediately appoint an independent consultant, as requested recently by Halifax County Volunteer Fire Chiefs, to look into the on-going problems with 911, so that all residents of this province can rest assured that this vital emergency service will be there for them if that need ever arises.

This resolution was submitted by the honourable member for Queens but I understand the member for Pictou West will be speaking for the member for Queens.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

EMO - EMERGENCY SERV. (911): CONSULTANT - APPOINT

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity tonight to raise the topic of 911. I believe the resolution reads, the Minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Emergency Measures Organization immediately appoint an independent consultant, as requested by the Halifax County Volunteer Fire Chiefs, to look into the on-going problems

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with 911, so that all residents can rest assured that this vital emergency service will be there for them if and when the need ever arises.

I want to say at the outset that 911 is a good system and I think it is being received across the province very well. Like anything else new there have been a number of problems and I will raise some of those for you tonight. A lot of the system has been working very well and like anything else, when you don't hear anything about it, it is working well.

As noted in the resolution brought forth by the member for Kings West last evening, it is great for the Director of Emergency Health Services, Mike Murphy, to try to restore confidence in 911 but he simply cannot write a letter to the Chronicle-Herald and hope that the problems will go away because they just will not. The troubling issues of incorrect dispatches being made by 911 operators continues to surface in the news. With the introduction of Resolution No. 891 in the Legislature on November 28, 1996, I brought to the House's attention an incident last fall when a fire department within the Halifax Regional Municipality was dispatched to a mobile home fire in Prospect, Halifax County while the fire was actually burning over 100 miles away in Kings County.

I did write a letter to the minister in charge of EMO on October 23rd and raised a number of pertinent questions and did offer a couple of examples where problems existed in 911. I didn't get a response to that.

[6:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, you know that problems go beyond what has been mentioned by the Halifax fire chiefs. Problems have been reported by fire departments in Port Hawkesbury, Arichat, Waterville and district and Sackville, as well as by a number of other people. There have been recent stories, of course, in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald concerning problems encountered by various individuals after telephoning 911. A recent story appeared about ambulance operators and firefighters being dispatched from Waterville, Kings County, when, in actual fact, the vehicle accident was in Pictou County at Watervale.

The list goes on and on. Sometimes people are so concerned that they won't really use 911 and that is not good. I am asking the minister today, and he probably will respond later on but is he prepared to have an independent consultant examine the recent problems and come up with some recommendations that can be implemented so people do not have to fear dialling 911 in their local communities.

Mr. Speaker, in early November for at least a 16 hour period, thousands of people unknowingly were unable to call 911 in the event of an emergency in Halifax County. Since that time a meeting has been held with Maritime Tel and Tel. I understand that after that meeting things have been corrected and that they now do have a backup system but for 16

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hours - people didn't know - if anything had happened it would have been a very serious situation.

Beginning in early 1998, I am told, the emergency health service communications centre in Bedford will be dispatching ambulances province-wide. We heard the story about one ambulance that was supposed to go to Cambridge and was actually dispatched to California, which is almost ridiculous.

The Halifax Regional Fire Commissioner Gary Greene is on record as having said last week that we are going to do the job but we are not going to do it in the press. I appreciate that. As I said, I think there have been a lot of good things in the system but we have to get on with it and then inform the public that things are in better shape.

One of the issues discussed last week was the joint fire and ambulance response to emergency calls. Maybe the minister when he comes back to me, when he responds, could inform Nova Scotia volunteer fire services today whether a consistent level of response exists right across Nova Scotia or is it simply just in Halifax County?

A 911 stakeholder committee has been appointed. His officials have a hand in the establishment of this committee. What is expected of that stakeholders committee? There are all kinds of clippings. I don't want to take too much time. There are many needless calls, a growing concern for a Valley fireman. "Volunteer firefighters in Kings County are concerned about the number of calls they receive for motor vehicle accidents since a central ambulance dispatch centre began province-wide operation in September. . . . Kentville firefighters, already the busiest in the county with more than 225 alarms this year, were called to 11 accidents between Sept. 11 and Nov. 1". In actual fact, they were only required for four.

Here is another editorial, issued on November 13th, an editorial in the Daily News; "Emergency fixes needed for 911. The province's emergency phone system has glitches that must be fixed". Then another one, on November 18th, and this again is the Daily News, "Firefighters want consultant to suggest fixes for 911 dispatch system. More than one in 10 emergency calls to volunteer fire departments since January have had problems, disgruntled chiefs told reporters yesterday.". "'It's only a matter of time before someone dies,' said retired fire captain John Giggey.". They, the fire chiefs, ". . . want an independent consultant to assess the new 911 emergency dispatch system and recommend fixes.".

The fire commissioner, Gary Greene, detailed mistakes to the province's Emergency Health Services Commissioner, Dr. Mike Murphy. He says, "'Unfortunately, with the advent of 911 service, our citizens are not receiving the level of service they had previously.'". I said it at the start, and I do not want to be to negative on this, because I am sure that there are many calls that are going through and the responses are being done promptly, but I say to the minister who is here tonight that it is important that we deal with this matter as quickly as possible.

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I have been critical of the minister, and I am going to compliment the minister now. I had a call a week ago Friday from a resident in Pictou who had called 911 four times and did not get through. It was not a life or death emergency, but it could have been. But I want to honestly say that after I called the minister's office, he immediately got hold of MT&T - and it was not only that person, but there were other customers in the same situation. The minister may want to even talk about this later on - but however, they did get it fixed promptly and the minister did write a good letter off to MT&T, giving them hell if I can say it, and to get on with doing the job.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is a very important topic. I think it is one that a lot of people are concerned about and are concerned that their parents, grandparents or whatever in any accidents that it is important when you dial the phone that you can get through. There were problems with your cellular phones. I do not know if that has all been rectified or not, but hopefully those problems will be rectified. As I say again, I thank you for the opportunity to raise this topic tonight and I will be very interested to hear others respond. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act.

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I do want to thank my honourable colleague for giving us this opportunity to respond to a very pertinent and very critical question that, I am sure, is on the minds of many Nova Scotians this hour. I am not going to simply stand here and defend the 911 system, although I will take some time to explain the details of how the system does work. We can look at some of the apparent weaknesses and the attention that my ministry is giving to the call that my colleagues and others have been making.

At the outset, I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that 911 is all about the process of saving lives. It is about protecting property and enhancing the public safety and that is why the previous government said it wanted to establish a 911 system and that is why this government put it in place, public safety being paramount.

I know of no human being, no machine, no operating system that is infallible. But talk of so-called 911 failures have indeed been amplified to a certain extent, Mr. Speaker, while stories of how 911 has helped people do not draw the same media attention. The Nova Scotia 911 system is the first province-wide system in all of Canada, developed with our partners which is Maritime Tel and Tel, our various municipalities across the province, the RCMP, the Emergency Health Services and, of course, our volunteer firefighters and full-time firefighters. 911 has indeed helped a good number of people in this province. That is what it's all about.

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911 is designed to put those in need in contact with those who can help. And that is its job. No one ever claimed that fire trucks would go faster, that robbers would be caught any quicker or sooner or that ambulances would be able to break sound barriers with the introduction of 911.

In its first year of the province-wide operation, the 911 system handled over 200,000 telephone calls.

If I might take a minute to clear up some of the confusion that we hear over who does what in the 911 partnership. There are three steps to the process: (1) Reporting the emergency to 911; (2) Dispatching assistance to those who are in need; and (3) Emergency vehicles responding to those who are in need.

The Emergency Measures Organization is responsible for the first step, putting those in need in contact with those who can help. In many cases that is municipal police, fire and volunteer fire departments or the ambulance service.

However, we all realize that the entire system has to work together to make sure those in need get the help that they truly require.

Yes, there have been problems with the municipal dispatch system in some areas; particularly in the Halifax Regional Municipality. While this is a municipal problem requiring a municipal solution, I can assure this House and all who hear me that this government is working to help our municipal partners work through their current difficulties.

We have been vigilant on this situation for some time now. The 911 emergency reporting system, the part the province established, is highly fault-tolerant. There are several layers of built-in redundancy to accommodate technological failures. The potential for human error is kept to a minimum. However, we all know that human error can never be totally eliminated.

None of the problems to date have been caused by a 911 call taker. The difficulties have been isolated to either technical limitations of municipal dispatch or human error.

I want to talk for a minute about a concern from local volunteer firefighters. I give volunteer firefighters a good deal of personal and public support because I have walked in those rubber boots one time myself.

I want to say that these people, these volunteer firefighters, provide a valuable, almost invaluable service to their neighbours. They do most of their own fund raising which becomes an ease of the burden to the local taxpayer. I believe that when they speak we all should listen. And we did, in the department of the Emergency Measures Organization.

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Our manager of the 911 system managed to establish an agreement that will ensure our volunteer firefighters with medical training are sent to the scene as they have requested. This took place and started last Friday.

We have worked with Emergency Health Services to have seven firefighters hired in their centre in Bedford to ensure that firefighters who have the medical training remain in the loop.

We have heard a report as recently as yesterday that it has been a good weekend in that regard. In fact, we've heard no negative stories.

But I believe that my 911 staff have been and will continue to work toward improving the co-ordination of emergency response even though that is not necessarily within the role of the Emergency Measures Organization. It certainly is the ministerial order of the day.

I want to make it clear that the complaints are not 911 system complaints. I am repeating myself but it is important. They are complaints about dispatch procedures with the fire department at the new central dispatch facility owned and operated by the Halifax Regional Municipality and problems with the province's new ambulance dispatch centre also located in Bedford.

The volunteer fire service has recommended that an independent consultant be retained to examine the relationship in Halifax Regional Municipality between 911 call taking and call dispatch for fire and ambulance services, and to make recommendations to improve this relationship. The volunteer fire service representatives have been invited to attend the Halifax Regional Municipality's Central Dispatch Advisory Committee meetings at which the province is also represented. The committee's next order of business will be to consider the recommendation of hiring a consultant.

[6:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that today the Minister for the Emergency Measures Organization did write, endorsing the requests for an independent person to look at the call taking and call dispatch procedure within the Province of Nova Scotia entirely.

To answer the question asked at the outset of this debate tonight, Mr. Speaker, the conclusive answer is positive, that yes, timely, it was today that we did ask for that recommendation to be exercised. We will give our full support in helping to find that independent person who does not work for us nor the municipality but would have an observing eye, if you will, and the ability to address what we think we may have seen go wrong.

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As I said, Mr. Speaker, human beings are not infallible. We have recognized that there have been some human errors, there have been some errors which I have, as minister, found difficult to accept and we have taken action on those. I commend the member of the Opposition Party who raised this, bringing to my attention the fact that we didn't have a connection with 911 in the person's telephone. That becomes a very serious issue which we have addressed. We had a communique this afternoon from MT&T where there is a board meeting to address part of that again tomorrow and they will keep me apprised of their developments there.

We have had assurances right across Nova Scotia that MT&T would, in fact, do an absolutely good inventory with all municipal units, to list everybody's phone number so that it would link with 911. To have one incident where, in fact, somebody called and the circuit was not complete, it is really waltzing disaster and fortunately that was not a situation that was life or death. It certainly was a wake-up call for us who are involved.

I do want to say in concluding, Mr. Speaker, that I appreciate this topic for debate tonight. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I find myself in a somewhat unusual situation in that this evening I am going to be standing up and congratulating and thanking the minister for the actions he indicated he has already taken today.

Mr. Speaker, the 911 system is a matter that has been on the table for discussions and I think back to the days, some might say the Dark Ages, the years before I was a member of this House and I was involved in what was called the Sackville Advisory Board, back in the very early 1980's and late 1970's and also something called a Fire Relocation Study Committee group. As part of those discussions one of the things that the fire chief and the fire community, those who were involved in the volunteer fire section were talking about was the wisdom of having a 911 system, so that we could have one number that people would call when in need of emergency help and through which the appropriate services could be dispatched. It has been about 17 years now, I guess it would be, since I was first involved in those kinds of discussions and, of course, the process is up and running.

It is an extremely important program, a very important initiative and it provides an opportunity, especially those who live in the rural areas and who may not know who to get in contact with for fire, for health emergency needs, for policing - a one number dispatch. I want to especially congratulate - because I think their actions have brought fruit, that is, I want to congratulate - the fire chiefs, the volunteers who brought this to the public attention. This isn't unexpected. As you start a new system one can anticipate that there will be flaws, that there will be bugs, that there will be kinks that have to be worked out, but they have. It

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is rather startling. You can say, well, 10 per cent is not a high number but when you are talking about potential life and death situations, 1 per cent or 0.5 per cent is unacceptable.

According to the reports, 1 in 10 emergency calls to volunteer fire departments since January have had problems. That is unacceptable. That information had been brought forward. I am not going to go into who it was brought to, whether it was municipal officials or provincial. That is neither here nor there right now. Basically the response was, well, there may be a couple of minor isolated situations but it is not a serious problem.

Like the person who called me and I was talking to in my riding approximately a week ago, I guess, now. He had called 911. It was a chimney fire. Three separate people they spoke with, three. They made the call. It was dispatched through from one to another and the third person at the end of which the information was properly taken and the fire vehicles were sent out. That of course took another 10 minutes. It should not be required to talk to three separate individuals. It should not take 10 minutes when the station is only about a three to four minute drive away.

In this situation it was not life and death and there was no heavy property damage endured. However, if that had been a life-threatening situation where every moment counts then it would have been crucial. You do not know when that 911 call goes in. You cannot pick and choose and say that this one or that one has to be answered efficiently. We have to know that the system is running smoothly and it does not matter if it is a technical difficulty or if it is a human error that caused the problem. It does not matter. It is unacceptable. It cannot be allowed to continue.

I truly, on behalf of the tens and tens of thousands of Nova Scotians who are depending upon the 911 system, on behalf of those I am going to be so bold as to say thank you to those fire chiefs who brought this matter to the public attention and through that, through the media coverage, has encouraged, has forced, whatever we want to say, those who are in positions of authority to recognize and to own up to the fact that a difficulty exists. It looks like those fire chiefs, whether we talk about Chief Casey from Hammonds Plains or the others who have spoken out, deserve to pat themselves and to be patted on the back by those whom they serve because their public disclosure of all the difficulties that have been occurring has caused those who are in the positions to make the decisions to take some action, to, in fact, take that action.

I certainly could go on for some length. I certainly hope, I sincerely hope, as I am sure do all of those who may some day have to rely upon the 911 system for assistance, that the meetings that the minister talked about and that the discussions about appointing an independent auditor or examiner or consultant to look at the system will not be seen as being threatening but actually be seen in a positive light. An outside, fresh evaluation can often identify difficulties that are staring us in the face but that we do not recognize. It is extremely important, so I hope that person will be hired, that company hired, to do that independent

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evaluation. I sincerely hope that the minister and his department will not say it is really just a municipal responsibility, but will in fact say that we are going to be overseeing it because it was the provincial government's directives, it was the provincial government's guidance that really pushed to get this established.

I think that the province has an extremely important responsibility to ensure that difficulties that exist are identified and the corrective measures are put in place to address them, and not to address them six months, eight months, four years hence; it has to be done and in fact should have been done yesterday. It has to be a top priority because every single 911 emergency call in future that could have been prevented, if it had some difficulties with that, is unacceptable and could result in a tragedy.

I certainly hope that the minister and his department will - and I am taking it from his gestures across the floor to me that he is taking this very seriously - that they will in fact be prodding and pushing and making sure that a report is in the very immediate future and that the necessary corrective measures to resolve the obvious difficulties will be in place forthwith.

Again, I thank you for the opportunity to speak and I thank the mover of tonight's motion for bringing this important topic to the floor for discussion.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair wishes to thank all those members who participated in the Adjournment debate.

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:27 p.m.]