STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS
Mr. Russell MacKinnon
[The public portion of the meeting commenced at 9:43 a.m.]
MR. DARRELL DEXTER: I would move that we add to the list of witnesses, the administration of the Halifax Regional Municipality School Board, including Mr. Dave Reid and whatever staff he thinks is appropriate to come with him.
MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Chairman, on that, I would rather we postpone that until we deal with the Auditor General first on this. We have a recommendation in to the Auditor General, and it would be nice if he could finish his work before we do that.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I think the process in this particular case might be to chat with the Auditor General first, whether formally or informally, and then move to hear witnesses from the school board.
MR. DEWOLFE: I am not against doing that, but I would suggest that we table this thought until we do that.
MR. DEXTER: Could I just make a point on that which is that the recommendations that we are making now are aimed for an annual report, which I think we said we are aiming for sometime in September. That recommendation won't even be made or delivered to the House until the fall session. It would be a considerable way down the road before we would be having the school board before the Public Accounts Committee, if that were the case.
MR. CHAIRMAN: That is true in terms of the annual report of the committee. On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent us chatting with the Auditor General in the meantime. Would that be agreeable?
MR. DEWOLFE: That is my point. I want to find out where we stand with this.
MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Let's review where we are. We are hoping to have next week the external legal services from the Department of Justice; the following week we are hoping to hear from OTANS; and the week after we are hoping to have witnesses from PanCanadian.
In the meantime we are going to raise with the Auditor General whether we might have a useful discussion with him about his experience at the school boards this past year and that might lead to calling witnesses from one or more school boards.
So, that is where we are at the moment. Does that fairly reflect where we are, Mr. MacKinnon?
MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: There is one other topic I believe we raised last week as well. The possibility of bringing representatives from the museums, a division of the Department of Education. I believe, Jim, you expressed some concern there.
MR. DEWOLFE: Yes and I have no problem with that issue. I think we should be looking at museums in general, all the Nova Scotia museums, is that the thought?
MR. MACKINNON: Yes. I believe there are 26 altogether.
MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Could we include arts and culture in that also?
MR. CHAIRMAN: How broadly were you thinking of moving on that?
MR. LANGILLE: Well, I believe their office is right here. I personally have some concerns, questions I would like to ask. That comes under the same scope, does it?
MR. DONALD DOWNE: Museums are under the Department of Education. I do not know under what portfolio arts and culture is. I think it is under Tourism.
MS. MORA STEVENS (Legislative Committee Coordinator): It is still Education.
MR. LANGILLE: No, I believe they are Tourism. They are both under Tourism.
MR. DOWNE: Oh, they are, are they? It is hard to keep track. They keep moving everything around.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mora, is there another committee having hearings about culture matters?
MS. STEVENS: Yes. The Standing Committee on Human Resources. We have brought in the Arts Council, we are going to have SOCAN, we have had MIANS. We have done a lot of different work on culture and also the Economic Development Committee has looked into culture as well.
MR. CHAIRMAN: So it sounds as if it might be a duplicate.
MR. DEWOLFE: I was just wondering if I could throw out another topic? Do a value for dollar with regard to tourism advertising in the province.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Conference on this?
MR. MACKINNON: I agree, Mr. Chairman. It sounds like a very timely topic.
MR. DEWOLFE: We are coming into the tourist season.
MR. DEXTER: I just wondered about that, I am glad that was mentioned because I know that in my conversation with tourism operators around the province, many of them are concerned, for example, at the cost of things like advertising in the Doers and Dreamers Guide. I know some of the operators - certainly in Queens County where my family lives - I was talking to some of them and they were saying realistically they could not afford to do advertising in that guide. So, you are suggesting someone from the Department of Tourism?
MR. DEWOLFE: I do not know who, Mora could find out, I have no idea who would be best to direct that to.
MR. DEXTER: That is different than just the spending of tourism promotional dollars. I guess it is a question of what we do internally for advertising festivals and events.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Good point. Any further suggestions at this moment or can we leave it for now?
MR. DEWOLFE: That gives us quite an agenda.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I think it does for a while. If everything turns up, that is right. Okay, thank you very much for your help this morning and we stand adjourned.
[The committee adjourned at 9:50 a.m.]