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November 8, 1994


Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mr. Gerald O'Malley

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We can commence this afternoon's sitting at this time.

Before I commence the daily routine, I wish to deliver a Speaker's ruling concerning a tabled notice of motion submitted yesterday afternoon by being filed with the Clerk and on the general matter of dilatory, that is, delaying motions made in the House on legislation for second and third reading.

Yesterday, the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic filed with the Clerk, and thereby tabled a motion which is printed in today's Hansard under the heading of Notices of Motion Under Rule 32(3), Resolution No. 951. The Clerk did not bring this proposed notice of motion to my attention when it was tabled and I was unaware of it until I read the text this morning in the proofs of Hansard which I receive before the day's Hansard is published. The notice of motion would not have been allowed by me had it been presented in the usual way. This is because the proposed notice of motion was far too long; it contained five "whereases" and a very long proposed resolution. I therefore instructed the Clerks to bring to my attention any proposed notice of motion that is tabled with them by being filed rather than being read aloud in the usual way, and directing that such notices, although they are permissible, are to adhere to the same standards of construction as are permissible for notices of motion read aloud, and, they are not to contain more than three "whereas" propositions nor more than a reasonably long single-proposition "be it resolved" clause.

The substance of the honourable member's proposed notice of motion was a challenge to my ruling of November 4th that there is a quota on dilatory motions proposed under second or third reading of bills and that it is a maximum of one motion to hoist, one motion to refer to a committee, and one reasoned amendment per reading and to require me to justify, from Beauchesne or other parliamentary authorities, this ruling. I am prepared to do so.


I have justified my ruling which is supported by the opinion of both Clerks at the Table, on the basis of the usages and precedents of this House and practice as I have known it in the past, but the usages and precedents of the House may not be sufficient to determine a matter which, to my mind, strikes at the very heart of the ability of this Assembly to conduct its business in an orderly way. It is true that Beauchesne does not establish standards for dealing with the matters that have been raised, for Beauchesne's work applies to the usages in the House of Commons of Canada, where there are other controls on debate that are not found in this House; for example, the two hour limit on the debate of any motion.

I would submit that any fair consideration of the practice in the House of Commons of Canada would indicate that practice there is more tightly controlled than it is here and that there is no provision at Ottawa for the submission of an uncontrolled outpouring of dilatory motions under any heading of business. I grant, however, that Beauchesne's textbook does not establish a quota system for the control of the number of dilatory motions.

Our Rules and Forms of Procedure in this House establish at Rule 2 that in cases not provided for by Beauchesne, the usages and customs of the British House of Commons may be applied to and it is to that authority that I would turn to support my position. Standing Order 28 of the British House of Commons deals with dilatory motions and empowers Mr. Speaker or the Chair of the Committee of the Whole to deal strongly with such situations.

The Speaker in London is empowered by this rule to forbid a member, once having made a dilatory motion, from then proposing another and empowers Mr. Speaker, if of the opinion that a dilatory motion is an abuse of the Rules of the House, to forthwith put such a question to the House without allowing debate or to decline to put the question to the House, that is to rule it out of order.

In my view, the essence of this situation here in this House lies in the powers and duties of the Chair, as outlined in Rule 9, to preserve order and decorum in the House. It would, in my view, be a very serious breach of order, making the position of the Chair untenable and the function of the House unworkable if dilatory motions without limit could tie up the proceedings of the House.

The honourable member claims in his proposed notice of motion that ". . . multiple hoist and reasoned amendments at second reading of controversial legislation have been common in the practices of this House, . . .". As proof of this, he cites one instance, namely, the five second reading amendments allowed in 1991 in second reading debate of the Public Sector Compensation Act.

I have researched this matter. I find it to be factually correct that in 1991 five amendments were allowed by the Chair at second reading of the one bill referred to. What happened in 1991 was that that bill, having been moved for second reading, was then presented with an amendment that second reading take place six months hence. This was defeated. When a further amendment was proposed, to refer the bill to a committee, that also was defeated. Next, the House was presented with yet another amendment, that the bill be read three months hence. Surprisingly, this was agreed to by the Chair, debated and then defeated.

What I am faced with now is a decision as to whether that one instance constitutes the usages and customs of the House. I am not inclined to view it in that context. I would view the 1991 events, rather, as a singular instance of what took place on that one occasion only and in no way indicative of the general practice or common usage of this House.

When the second dilatory motion to read the bill three months hence was presented in 1991, after a motion that the bill be read six months hence had just been defeated, no procedural challenge was made by any member at that time. The legal opinion of the Clerks at the Table was not sought.

It is my view that just because something happened once in this House, it does not make that the common usage of the House, especially if it is something that is clearly contrary to general parliamentary practice. I would ask honourable members to consider the ramifications of this matter, if it were possible ordinarily to tie up a bill by moving that it be read in six months time and then, if that were defeated, to move that it be read again in three months time and then if that were defeated, to move that it be read again in some other number of months time.

Certainly if a full blown debate was permitted on each of those motions, with speeches one hour long, one after another, it would make the conduct of business in this House impossible. As the numbers in the number system is infinite, it would mean that an infinite number of such dilatory motions could be presented, thus making the passage of any measure in this House absolutely impossible. Clearly such a process would be a violation of the most basic necessity of parliamentary law, that is the maintenance of order and the conduct of public business in an orderly way.

It is true that in the British House motions to read a bill, both six months and three months hence, are allowable at second reading. But it is important to note that this is an either/or proposition and that both of these motions have never been allowable one after another in the British House. The practice in the British House relates to the church calendar year and it is from the beginning of the parliamentary session, in the fall, up to Whitsuntide, or the Feast of Pentecost, the motion is for a six months' hoist. It is after the Feast of Pentecost only, which in 1994 would be for May 22nd on, that the motion is for a three months' hoist. This is to indicate the approach of the summer recess and the expectation that the parliamentary session is about to end.

By this practice, the only motion that will be allowable now, in the month of November, would be a bill for six months' hoist.

To sum up, I would deny that the exceptional procedures followed in 1991 constitute the normal practices of this House. I would deny that the British parliamentary practice is to allow multiple hoist and reasoned amendments at second reading of a bill and further hold that such practices are contrary to good order. To attempt to maintain order, I have ruled that one such motion, from each of the three categories cited by Beauchesne, is permissible at second and third reading of a bill, if properly constructed, but not more. I believe that the powers given to the Chair by Rule 9 of our rules provide ample authority for the Chair to rule as I have in this matter.

It is the right of any member to appeal a Speaker's ruling by way of substantive motion, but such motions must be in conformity with the normal standards required of notices of motion in this House. The notice of motion proposed by the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic I find to be of excessive length. I would ask him to reword and shorten it so as to meet normal and customary standards. Under these circumstances, Resolution No. 951 is not tabled, although a revised and shortened version would be admissible and I so rule.

Now, there is no questioning permitted of a Speaker's ruling. It can only be by way of substantive motion.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure, this afternoon, to introduce some members of the United Mine Workers of America. Members of the Coal Miners Political Action Committee, they are Bill McLean, Laurie Lloyd, Russell Bernon and they are accompanied with representative, Bob Burchell, International Teller for the UMWA. These gentlemen are here as representatives from the Phalen Mine and they are hoping to have the opportunity to speak with their area MLA and to also listen as they often do in the deliberations of this House. I would ask if all members would accord these members, as they stand, the usual welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We will now begin the daily routine.




MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: I have been gone from the House, as you know, for the week, Mr. Speaker, on some business of the government and some people on the opposite side have asked information about the trip. So, on the way back, we have prepared a report to be tabled in the House and provided to members opposite so that they can see what occurred during the trip.

I can report to the House that it was a very successful trip and it is the starting of some things and as they develop, Mr. Speaker, I will report to the House as they develop. I would like to table this and provide it to both Parties opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services. (Applause)

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a report, A Review of Children's Training Centres in Nova Scotia and there will be copies for each member distributed. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to make a statement that marks both the end of an era and a new beginning for Nova Scotia and, particularly, for the people of Sydney.

Earlier today, in Beijing, China, Premier Savage signed an agreement with Minmetals of China for the joint operation and subsequent sale of Sydney Steel Corporation. (Applause) The sale of Sydney Steel Corporation to Minmetals is final.

[2:15 p.m.]

As most Nova Scotians know, this sale has been the subject of protracted negotiations between the province and the Chinese steel seller. This week, Premier Savage led those negotiations to a successful conclusion. The Premier, through his presence and persistence, provided the push needed to make this deal happen. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, today some 700 workers at Sysco have new hope for a future in steel making. The economic outlook for Sydney and industrial Cape Breton is a little brighter. And, today Nova Scotians are beginning the process of getting out of the steel business and closing a long and often sad chapter of public ownership.

Mr. Speaker, the agreement the Premier concluded with Minmetals ends an era of dependence for the steel mill. It offers Sysco and its workers a new beginning, making available to Sysco new sources of funding, while maintaining the province's option to repurchase the plant, should it wish to do so.

The agreement calls for a three year joint operation, during which time the partners would share any profits and losses. The partners also agree to contribute up to $30 million for new capital expenditures aimed at enhancing the mill's capability to produce finished products. Both partners also agree to cover any losses during this period, up to a maximum of $15 million each. If losses exceed this $30 million cap, the joint operation period terminates and the sale of the assets occurs. At the end of the three year period, Minmetals must acquire the mill outright for a $30 million purchase price, plus any capital contributed by Nova Scotia, less any operating losses incurred by them during that time.

During the joint operation period, the mill management will report to a board of directors nominated by both parties. After any sale, Nova Scotia will retain board representation, plus access to financial and operational records. The province will retain a permanent plant repurchase option and the right to reacquire the mill land for $1.00, if operations cease.

The government is confident that the workers at Sysco can make that mill a competitive, world-class operation. (Applause) The agreement which Premier Savage signed today, somewhere around 4:15 a.m. our time, I might add, gives them that opportunity.

This was a long and difficult negotiation. In the end, it is a good deal for Nova Scotia. It will bring to an end the years of public subsidy of the steel mill. Perhaps more importantly, Mr. Speaker, it gives the steel mill, the workers and their families a real chance for a secure economic future, an opportunity for success, not just survival. (Applause)

Yesterday, Sysco was an industry without any capital or without any available line of credit, and I might add, without the capacity to obtain either. Today that circumstance has been radically changed. Private ownership was the only hope for the future of the mill. The deal the Premier forged in Beijing today, brings that hope to life.

Mr. Speaker, this agreement is yet another hopeful sign for the economic future in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I know honourable members will understand and excuse my absence shortly, as I will be travelling to Sydney to meet with Sysco employees and members of the community. I will be back in the House tomorrow to answer any questions which the honourable members may wish to raise.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will table for information of the members, two copies of the master agreement. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise and respond to the minister's statement. This has been a long saga in terms of trying to address a solution to the Sysco problem in Cape Breton and I certainly want to join the minister in suggesting that this caucus as well realizes that this will bring some measure of comfort to the workers at Sysco.

I had an opportunity to visit the plant and I was impressed with what I saw there and I certainly hope that this agreement is the beginning of a real future for Sysco. I would like to congratulate the minister for having the foresight and wisdom to follow up on the initiative of the previous government to privatize Sysco and who, I believe, identified Minmetals as a potential purchaser. So, while the government does not necessarily follow up on all the initiatives of the previous government, they did follow up on this one and I certainly congratulate them.

I am very pleased that the minister provided the master agreement because obviously, a total discussion on terms of the agreement should be much deeper than the ministerial statement and will really depend on the clauses and the small print in that agreement. Some of the things that come to mind, of course, in terms of what will ultimately decide whether or not this is the very best deal we could have gotten will be determined in those clauses that deal with what happens to the work force at Sysco, the older workers, what happens to the pension fund and what happens, for example in what would be a very unfortunate happenstance, if in fact the mill was sold in terms of who would receive the rewards from the sale of assets.

The other important thing in terms of the agreement is what is the actual deal in terms of a re-purchase plan by the government if, in fact, the Chinese wish to move that plant out of Sydney. If there is one message that we have heard it is that the people of Sydney do not want that plant moved. I certainly hope that the terms and the small print in that agreement fully protect the long-term presence of that mill in Sydney.

So, this is one of those occasions when we are pleased to get up and give our congratulations to the minister, he has worked hard on this and I only hope that his ministerial statement reflects exactly what is in the agreement that he has placed before us just seconds ago. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it looks like after some considerable time, 18 to 20 months of this government's time and with probably the expenditure of upwards of $300 million, plus the assumption of all the environmental liabilities with Sysco, this government has been able to get rid of Sysco to Minmetals of China. I think that the workers at Sysco have reason to be concerned about the future of their jobs and the future of this facility in Cape Breton.

I don't think there is any question that the workers can make this operation profitable. Over the past couple of years, with sound management and with a real, realistic business plan, they have shown their capacity to be able to make this operation profitable. It was getting to the point where it was beginning to turn the corner until this new administration came to the point where they decided they wanted to dump it and they would do everything in their power to do that, (Interruptions) complete with identifying a single buyer and deciding that that was the way they were going to go even though they were going to participate in the market place, so they said they were not going to entertain any other bids from any other interests, Mr. Speaker. That doesn't sound like a whole lot of confidence to me.

We will certainly be asking a number of questions of this minister, one of which is what is going to prevent Minmetals from basically ensuring that this operation doesn't make a profit by the end of three years and walking away with the equipment? It is my understanding in terms of the draft agreement there are no guarantees there that Minmetals will in fact buy from Sysco. There is no guarantee there that protects the orders that are now on the books. Some of those questions have been raised by others as well as us and have yet to be answered, so we look forward to hearing more details.

I am certainly pleased that the Minister of Finance is going to Sydney this afternoon to speak to the steelworkers. It appears that this is one of the first times over the two year period that this deal has been underway, that so much attention has been placed by this government on the interests and concerns of those workers and perhaps this is an indication that this minister and his government will begin to take some of the concerns seriously but, unfortunately, I am afraid, as I think they probably are, that the horse is through the gates and it may be a little bit too late.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am announcing today that I will be going out with a call for proposals for the position of coordinator responsible for implementing the new metro regional government. The call for proposals for individuals will be written and sent out shortly.

Let me say, Mr. Speaker, I believe that the way I have handled the selection of Grant Morash was appropriate. The government's right to manage governmental affairs has to be provided for. Government has a right to retain experienced help when it is needed. Mr. Morash is a very qualified individual. Unfortunately, since my Friday announcement, a shadow has been cast on the selection process, so as to protect the integrity of this process, I will go to a call for proposals for the position of coordinator. I have informed Mr. Morash of my decision and he has accepted it. I would point out that the arrangement had not yet been formalized by a written contract.

My second reason for going to a call for proposals is that I do not wish to jeopardize the success of the metro amalgamation. This amalgamation is very important to economic development for the province as a whole and the role of coordinator is crucial to the successful and timely implementation of metro regional government. I do not wish that role to be compromised by any perception about the coordinator. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The minister took less than two minutes to make her announcement.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, in responding to the minister's statement I would like to suggest that it certainly was the position of our caucus that the minister's selection of a coordinator or commissioner for the amalgamation of Halifax, without tender, was entirely inappropriate. A $225,000 contract without a tendering process is entirely inappropriate in view of what has been said on both sides of this House in support of a tendering process. The tendering process is guaranteed to provide the best person for the job and at the best price. I would like to say that I do not personally know Mr. Morash and certainly anything that I say here today bears no reflection on Mr. Morash; it is on the process.

If in fact this government is going to do what it says it was going to do and to manage in a fiscally responsible way, all contracts must be tendered regardless of what may be perceived as being the best person for the job. The best person for the job is the man who wins the tender and certainly the best price will be achieved in hiring that person through a tendering process.

[2:30 p.m.]

So, I welcome the minister's statement that she is, in fact, reversing her decision to go with an untendered contract because it is obvious that that was not well received and was inappropriate.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am pleased that the minister has reversed her decision and announced that she is going to be cancelling the particular contract at this time.

The minister has answered a few questions, Mr. Speaker, but she has left equally as many unanswered. She has left unanswered how it is that this government and this minister would even consider going ahead with the awarding of a contract in direct violation of the government's own policies on tendering, about issues of conflict of interest. The minister, I also note, is unrepentant because she says that she believes that the process that she followed was appropriate which tells me that she does not believe in the integrity of the government's own tendering policy. She says that there was a shadow cast over the selection process. I ask the minister, who was it who cast that shadow and how was that shadow cast? It was cast by the actions of this minister and this government. It was this minister and this government that put the process in jeopardy and it shows, quite obviously, that the rules that govern this government are that it will do what is right when it gets caught, not because it believes in the integrity of the principles it says that it does support.



Bill No. 120 - Entitled an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation and the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission. (Hon. Bernard Boudreau)

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


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.


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 Premier wasted no time while in China to embarrass Team Canada, himself, and the Prime Minister and initiate an international flip-flop; and

Whereas our Premier was unable to recall the dialogue of important private discussions and suggested that human rights was not brought up; and

Whereas our Premier, with a quick check of his notes and a scolding from the Prime Minister, recalled that indeed human rights were discussed and that he had made simply an honest mistake;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia's Premier, now benched with Team Canada, ensure that in the remaining week in China he start paying attention and achieve for Nova Scotia more than poor national and international relations.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.


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

Whereas as an economic keystone, coal mining provides 9,200 direct and indirect jobs in Cape Breton; and

Whereas Cape Breton coal production has lagged behind the rest of Canada and the rest of the world despite growing demand in Europe and Asia for imported thermal coal; and

Whereas the UMW are marching tomorrow to Honourable David Dingwall's office to demonstrate their concern about Devco mismanagement and neglect of development opportunities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House joins Cape Breton mine workers and other Devco employees in urging the Honourable John Manley, Minister responsible for Devco, and the federal government to ensure lean, effective management that in close cooperation with the workers seizes the development opportunities that can sustain thousands of secure coal-based Cape Breton jobs for future generations.

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 Hants West.


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 Community Services Minister has long promised maintenance enforcement legislation; and

Whereas the Labour Minister has long promised workers' compensation legislation and the Finance Minister has today told us to expect casino legislation; (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. RUSSELL: Wait for it.

Whereas on the seventh day of business the House rested because it had no more legislation to discuss;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government be called to account for the wasted time and money of the people's representatives, all because the Liberal Government did not have its legislative calendar in working order.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

I take it there is no request for unanimous consent.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.


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 member for Cape Breton West has been threatened with expulsion from the Liberal caucus because in all good conscience he could not represent his constituents by voting for the municipal tax burden created by this government; and

Whereas the Minister of Municipal Affairs has meanwhile engaged in unconscionable actions by encouraging and condoning a more serious conflict of interest than that which caused the Premier to fire Lucy Dobbin; and

Whereas the Liberal caucus may not be big enough for both the conscientious and the unconscionable;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Municipal Affairs should try to heal the wounds within her own government by heeding her conscience and joining the member for Cape Breton West on the Liberal back benches.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

I would like to introduce to the House at this time Mr. Neil LeBlanc, former member and minister of the Government of Nova Scotia, sitting in the Speaker's Gallery. Could you stand up, Neil. (Applause)

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.


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

Whereas the government has publicly declared it is committed to tendering contracts in excess of $5,000; and

Whereas the tendering process can assure Nova Scotians that the best person at the best price is obtained;

Therefore be it resolved that the government live up to its commitment to have public tendering on all contracts of a value in excess of $5,000.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.


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

Whereas the Premier and the Minister of Finance are determined to establish casinos, even though the majority of Nova Scotians don't agree; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance was quoted in the October 21st Halifax Chronicle-Herald as saying taxes can be lowered by the establishment of casinos; and

Whereas the Halifax Chronicle-Herald editorial stated that, "the Minister of Finance would be wise to step away from the wheel of fortune";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance follow the British Columbia lead and allow Nova Scotians the opportunity through a referendum to voice their opinion on the establishment of casinos in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


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

Whereas even the steady application of Dingwall dollars has failed to improve the desperate job situation in Cape Breton, where the official 23 per cent unemployment rate is grave and discouraging; and

Whereas secure employment in export-based industries with growing markets, such as coal, are more important than ever to the long-sought Cape Breton turnaround; and

Whereas elected representatives at all levels should speak out to demand effective management of Devco, to maximize coal production and employment;

Therefore be it resolved that this House joins Cape Breton coal miners in demanding that the federal government end the job-destroying mismanagement that has plagued Devco and, instead, make a commitment to the Donkin mine and all other development opportunities.

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?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.


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

Whereas yesterday the Minister of Health received a petition with 5,000 names supporting the retention of the Eating Disorders Clinic and its three psychiatric hospital beds at the Victoria General Hospital; and

Whereas the clinic is the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas even with hospitalization, those with an eating disorder can face a 5 per cent to 10 per cent mortality rate, but continue to face a waiting line for the services of the clinic;

Therefore be it resolved that this minister stop trying to pass the buck to his new board, whose mandate remains a mystery, and deal with the serious and immediate dangers in which his department, as we speak, is placing real Nova Scotia suffering from the disorder.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.


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 Premier and Government House Leader held a news conference on Wednesday, October 26th, to announce what the major government bills would be during this fall sitting; and

Whereas the Government House Leader promised full bill briefings during this sitting, and that major legislation would not be rushed through without adequate time for the public to inform themselves; and

Whereas less than two weeks later, major bills are either unprepared or withheld, while a major provincial-municipal service exchange is scheduled for public hearings only 12 days after it first saw the light of day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Savage Liberals should get their act together before taking it on the road, unless they want Nova Scotians to conclude that this fall sitting is intended to minimize consultation and accountability on legislation affecting the lives of every man, woman and child.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


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

Whereas last May and June, the Minister of Labour told this House that his new workers' compensation legislation was drafted and that he would devote his summer to wide consultation about it; and

Whereas the minister instead waited until October to issue a discussion paper and hold hasty pro forma private meetings instead of consultations; and

Whereas the government has run out of bills for second reading, while injured workers, their families and many others anxiously await this bill, yet the Minister of Labour cannot or will not produce the WCB bill;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Labour should make a statement, explaining to injured workers and all workers whether his workers' compensation bill has been so long delayed by incompetence or an anti-democratic wish to minimize public debate of its far-reaching effects.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.


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

Whereas Evelyn Garbary transcended the bounds of her chosen sphere of activity, the theatre, to make a lasting contribution both to her native land, Wales, and her adopted home, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Evelyn Garbary has influenced countless thousands of lives for the better, through her teaching, her plays, the theatre companies and ventures that she inspired and founded and through the example she provided; and

Whereas Evelyn Garbary recognized and inspired the best talents of each person and the potential greatness in each community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House joins with the many friends, colleagues, former students and admirers of Evelyn Garbary in expressing condolences to her family and thanks for the grace of her life here in our province.

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.

If there are no further notices of motion, that concludes the daily routine. The Clerk has conducted a draw for the debate on the Adjournment motion when we adjourn this afternoon. It will be held either at 6:00 p.m. or at the actual moment of Adjournment, whichever comes sooner. The successful entry this afternoon has been submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic, whose submits a resolution reading:

Therefore be it resolved that the provincial Minister of Fisheries send a clear message that they reject the corporate, high-tech, bottom line driven policies proposed by the Fisheries Council of Canada.

We will debate that matter this afternoon at Adjournment time.

The time is 2:44 p.m. The Oral Question Period today will run until 3:45 p.m.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.


MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs. (Interruptions)

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please so we can hear the question.

MR. RUSSELL: The Minister of Municipal Affairs, in spite of her protestations in her ministerial statement today, failed to comply with the Premier's policy. I would like to ask the minister why she did not follow that policy?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, in actual fact I have been following through with the policy. There is a policy and there has been a procedure put out by the Premier that contracts over $5,000 should be tendered on all times that it is possible.

What we have found is that we have a very particular person that we were requiring to do a very particular job and in order to get the individual that I felt was the most capable of doing that job, I went to a number of individuals. I actually tried to contact four individuals so we did have a selection process here. There were other individuals I spoke to about this particular position, but Mr. Morash was the one of the four that I felt was the most capable.

MR. RUSSELL: I don't know what makes the honourable minister an expert in choosing the commissioner for metro municipal amalgamation but, however, I would like the minister to tell the House and the people of this province who were the other four people that she supposedly contacted when she said she had a competition of sorts? Would she also define what a competition of sorts means?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, it was very clear when we looked at appointing a coordinator to deal with the amalgamation of the metropolitan area, we looked at some of the similar characteristics that we had seen in the individual, Mr. Campbell, who we directly appointed, who had done the report and received the opportunity to complete the Cape Breton regional municipality job.

We looked for an individual who had some very strong financial background, an individual who had been involved with bringing organizations and government procedures together, an individual who was not directly contacted with the metropolitan units at this particular point in time and an individual who had done quite a bit of work in the community because we felt that community involvement was very important. We looked at a number of characteristics of an individual as well as their ability to bring together such a massive job, a job that was going to be extremely difficult.

I had discussions with a number of individuals. There were aspects that we put out when we called to these individuals and what we were able to find was that after the discussion, that the individual we had selected was Mr. Grant Morash. But as you know, Mr. Speaker, at this time there has been some doubt put over that individual, his ability to do the job . . .


MS. JOLLY: . . . or how the process in selecting that individual and those things I have taken into consideration and have decided that the opportunity to have the metro area go forward is an important one and we are willing to do an actual call for proposals.

MR. RUSSELL: Yes, the minister has danced around the question. The question that I put to her was, who were the four people that she supposedly contacted in this tendering process of sorts that she carried out? Would she give us some names and addresses and telephone numbers, if she has them?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that that information is something I would have to check with those four other individuals to see if they would allow to have their names released. I would certainly be willing to speak with them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville Cobequid.


MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Supply and Services who is responsible for the Public Tenders Office.

The Province of Nova Scotia, Government Procurement Policy that was revised in just June 1994 says quite clearly that the policies applied to contracts awarded by all government departments. Under the General Services, Section 4.2, it places, "Requirements for general services with an estimated value of $50,000 and over are to be publicly advertised.".

My question to the minister responsible for tendering in this province, were you consulted and did you consent to the violation of your government's own procurement policies before the minister announced that she planned last Friday to award this untendered contract? Were you consulted and had you given consent to the violation of these policies?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I think the appropriate answer is that one never consents to violate one's policy or purpose in government. I can say that I, personally, was not involved but that is not to say that my department was not consulted. I would have to take that under advisement and get the answer from my staff.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have trouble believing that the minister's capable staff would not have brought this to his attention before now had they, in fact, been consulted. So, one can only conclude that, in fact, there was absolutely no consultation done, at least not with the minister or with the minister's staff.

I will direct this to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Did the Minister of Municipal Affairs discuss this contract - before she announced that she was going to award it - with the Premier before he left? Did the minister discuss the fact that she was going to be announcing that she was going to be awarding this contract with the Premier?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I was able to have a discussion with the Premier with regard to the fact that we were going to be approaching four individuals. We wanted to approach those individuals to see if they would be interested in looking at the coordinator's job.

MR. HOLM: Well, the minister did not answer my question very directly, Mr. Speaker, but that is her right to duck gun in an answer.

My next question I will direct back to the Minister of Supply and Services because he is the one who is charged with the responsibility and he ends up wearing it when his colleagues violate the policies that he is charged to enforce.

Given the fact that the minister has shown that she is following the policy, when they get caught, I would like to ask the minister, what steps are you taking and have you taken to ensure that your colleagues obey the policies regarding tendering that were adopted by your government and revised as recently as June 1994? What steps have you taken and what assurances can you give?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, let me reflect that at a staff meeting this morning, we did leave the directive for my senior staff to recirculate my memorandum referring to public tendering policy throughout the government and to include our various boards and agencies of government as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.


MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The minister is reported to have said, it was quoted in the press, that she had no choice other than to select the firm of Deloitte & Touche because of the special nature of the work to be done. Is she saying that Doane Raymond or Ernst & Young or Price Waterhouse or Peat Marwick Thorne Inc., et cetera, are not as capable as Deloitte & Touche? I am not saying that Deloitte & Touche is not capable but what I am saying to the minister is, are these other firms not as capable and therefore shouldn't they also have had a shot at the tender for this very important work?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I think that is where some of the confusion has come from, from the individuals across the floor. We were very specifically looking for an individual. We have never suggested we were looking for a particular firm to do this, we were looking for an individual who would be able to act as a coordinator to deal with a very controversial and a very difficult issue, that issue being the amalgamation of the four metropolitan units.

I do not have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, some of the conflict and the controversy that has been in the paper over the last week or two since we made the announcement of the amalgamation but what I have said very clearly all along is that I was looking for an individual who had certain characteristics, who had certain managerial skills and that individual happened to be Grant Morash.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it appears that this minister cannot get it through her head that she has violated her Premier's policy. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Is that a question?

MR. RUSSELL: And today, in her statement, she says, I have handled the selection of Grant Morash in an appropriate way. Mr. Speaker, she has not done so.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. RUSSELL: The minister has abdicated her responsibility and I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that this minister should follow the example set by the Minister of Health when he made an error and submitted his resignation. Unfortunately, the Premier fired the wrong person.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, we have a rule . . .

MR. RUSSELL: Will the Minister of Municipal Affairs tender her resignation today?

MR. SPEAKER: Well, there is a rule in Question Period that a question ought not to be in the form of a representation and that seems very borderline to me but, in any event, the minister, if she wishes to respond, may.

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, no.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I attended the press conference on Friday when the Minister of Municipal Affairs was scrummed and gave out the details that she had hired a commissioner to look after the amalgamation in Halifax County for $1,225 per day. Today, despite the fact that she has now decided to go to a tendering process, she states that the minister believes that her handling of the selection was very appropriate. I would like to ask the minister, what was the process of negotiations that she engaged in with Mr. Morash to determine that he would be paid $1,225 a day?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, in actual fact there was no negotiation on that fee. It was a fee that I had established in the department, as you may or may not be aware, as many members are aware, we often find consulting fees up to $3,500 to $4,000 a day. What I was able to do was to put a cap on the total amount that was available for this and I specifically stated that the fee for the job would be $1,225.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I think that was a rather surprising answer because I think that most Nova Scotians would think that $1,225 a day was certainly an excessive amount to pay anybody for service to the province. I think, too, that we all would agree that a competition will result in a lower fee being possible. The other thing that occurred at that press conference was that the minister was asked by the press why she didn't cancel the election in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County in view of the fact that it cost $0.5 million when in fact they are going to have to have an election next year. Would the minister repeat the answer that she gave to the press?

MR. SPEAKER: How many questions is this?

MS. JOLLY: I am not exactly sure. I have had a lot press conferences since that point in time. There are many things that I have addressed. If the member has a specific question, I will be happy to deal with it.

DR. HAMM: To repeat, my specific question was, why did the minister not cancel the civic elections in Halifax held last month now that she knows that there are going to be repeat elections a year from now, bearing in mind the cost was $0.5 million?

MS. JOLLY: I think we are quite well aware of the discussions that we have had on an ongoing basis that we had at a number of meetings, where there had been a number of items that had come to the forefront as to why we made a decision that the amalgamation of the metropolitan area was so crucial. One of those that I would cite is the unfriendly city report that had been put out by the Canadian Independent Business Association, where it said municipalities hospitable to small business, that the municipalities that we have in Halifax- Dartmouth are not places that businesses are coming to locate.

When we looked at the dealings that we had under the policing, when we had spent four months trying to get the policing agreement and negotiations going forward, Mr. Speaker, and there were any number of things that we had discussions on that we were trying to bring forward, the Red Cross blood fractionation clinic. We found that when we were able to work together, togetherness is progress. If we can work together we can have progress and those are the things that we have worked on and made the decision on the amalgamation. As you are aware, the amalgamation doesn't happen for a year and a half. We have a council that is there for the next year and a half and I am sure there would be a number of people, particularly the new mayor of Halifax who would not have been very pleased if he hadn't had an opportunity to try and fulfil that position.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.


MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources. Last week in Question Period the minister said in this House - and I remember everybody in her caucus applauding - that there is very little evidence of health reform going on in this province; there is very little evidence of anybody in this province with the expertise that is needed with the human resource management of the department. The minister at that time went on to say that the Department of Human Resources is now assisting the Department of Health.

[3:00 p.m.]

I would ask the Minister of Human Resources, through you, Mr. Speaker, if she would explain to me and to this House, specifically what her department is doing to straighten out the Department of Health? What is her department doing?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: My department is not straightening out the Department of Health.

MR. MOODY: Well I hope she will tell us what it is that she is doing. The minister admitted in this House that an Ontario firm was hired, at the cost of $40,000, which was untendered, to straighten out the mess or to assess the Department of Health. I would ask her, why did the minister approve of the $40,000 tender to do something that did not need to be straightened out?

MRS. NORRIE: We were called upon from the Department of Health, upon the resignation of the deputy minister, to assist them in, to determine, the assessment of the department and their needs as they go through health reform. While I do have a lot of respect for the professionalism of the staff of the Department of Human Resources, we don't have the expertise within the Department of Human Resources to address health care reform and the needs that are there.

We looked around the province at human resource consulting firms with health reform expertise and we didn't feel it was there. We contacted out of province and asked where in the country we could find expertise in this field. We were given the names of the Berkeley Consultants and they have come in and are halfway through the process of assessing that need now.

MR. MOODY: They are applauding again today. Last week when you said there was very little evidence of health reform, they clapped. So obviously either they don't listen to what you are saying or they are agreeing with what you are saying.

I would ask the minister, in the final supplementary, in the minister's department when they did an assessment of the Department of Health, did they find that fair hiring practices and normal Civil Service procedures have been followed in that department? In other words, were there jobs not advertised or were there contracts let without going through the proper procedure? What did her department find when they did an assessment or looked at the Department of Health and their needs?

MRS. NORRIE: Well one thing we did find out is that as he had mentioned, it may be straightened out. I think it had to be straightened out from the previous administration, if that was (Interruption) Anyway, I haven't got a complete report back from the consultants, as they are working to assess what is needed within the department, so I cannot answer his question.

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


MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. It seems that the minister has seen the light, in that she is now going to do what is right, after she got caught. Now I want to find out if she understands anything about conflict of interest.

My question to the minister is quite simply this, now that she is going to finally put this out to tender, will she guarantee that her deputy minister will not be involved in the selection process, especially if any of the proposals come in from somebody working in the firm of Deloitte & Touche?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I just reconfirm again, this is exactly why we have difficulty in getting things to move forward. Do we have an individual who is misrepresenting the facts here? I have said very clearly from the beginning, I made the decision on who the coordinator would be, I announced it to the mayors when I met with them. There has never been any question as to who made this decision.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, there is also no question about the fact that Mr. Morash himself said in a news interview that I also watched, that the deputy minister was present with the minister involved in the interview process. I ask the minister again, will she ensure that a conflict of interest situation will not exist, by ensuring that the deputy minister will not be part of any interview process that is going to be selecting somebody for this position, especially if they represent the firm in which his wife is a senior managing partner?

MR. SPEAKER: Well, if the honourable minister wishes to respond she may. I do note, however, that Beauchesne in its rules on oral questions in the House of Commons of Canada specifically observes that a question that has already been put may not be put again. Now this question has already been asked, it would amount to a repetition to put it again.

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, for these people to be repetitious is not something that is unusual. Every time they get up they continue to ask the same questions.

I will repeat again, very clearly, I made the decision on who the individual was going to be. I also have stated very clearly that the deputy minister gave technical briefings to each and every one of the individuals that we contacted because it was important that they knew what the ramifications of the job were. They knew how long it was going to take, the technical information that was required, the number of reports that were on file, the direction the government had taken for the last 30 years on amalgamation. These were all things that had to be explained to the individual who was considering the job, in order for that individual to know whether it was a job that they even wanted to take on.

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear on that, there has never been any question on that. But what is even more important is that this government is trying to do a job, we are trying to go forward and get a job done. I think that is what we should be looking at here. These individuals over here have held up so many things on an ongoing basis, governments have never been able to move forward. This government is taking action, it will continue to take action and it will continue to do the right thing, which it has been doing all along.

MR. HOLM: John Buchanan would be proud of this minister. My next and final question. The Minister of Health will be very familiar with this. We saw that the Deputy Minister of Health was asked to resign by the Premier because it was perceived that there was a conflict between her position and that of her husband.

My question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs is simply this, do you not see the conflict of interest and the perceived conflict of interest that has resulted because of the actions of yourself and your government?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I have to say again, they are not listening. They really are not paying much attention here. I have told them over and over again, we went after an individual. I selected an individual to do this job. I did not select a firm to do this job, I selected an individual. I have made it very clear in all of my comments that we needed an individual to do a very tough job.

When I went out and talked to the four individuals, three of the four individuals that I talked to in actual fact we talked about them as individuals, what their abilities were. There has not been a conflict of interest here, there has not been a situation where we are looking at firms, we are looking at individuals, a coordinator who can do the job which is going to be very tough.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.


MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Human Resources. The Minister of Human Resources has indicated that there was no one within her department or within the confines of the Province of Nova Scotia to help and assist the Department of Health in their reorganization.

So, she hired Berkeley Consulting out of Ontario for $40,000, will the minister tell us today who recommended that she hire Berkeley to do the work?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: We made contact with some expertise out of Toronto who recommended, by looking across the country and health reform that has happened in other province as well as the United States and Europe, to give us names of people that would be the experts in the field.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Why was there no tender called for this?

MRS. NORRIE: We didn't put out a public tender call, what we did was call different consulting firms in the province and a lot of those firms are already involved with hospitals, hospital boards and given some of the sensitivity that has happened already in the Department of Health, we felt that those firms may be in conflict.

MR. ARCHIBALD: What was the role of the Minister of Health in determining that Berkeley should be the group you hired?

MRS. NORRIE: The Deputy Minister of Human Resources and the acting Deputy Minister of Health worked very closely together on this and the Minister of Health, in his role as minister, was not directly involved.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.


MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, too, is for the Minister of Human Resources. The minister will know that on two different occasions in this House, I have tried to obtain from the Minister of Health information regarding the contract of the Health Reform Commissioner. The minister, on the last day in the House, said it was in the hands of the Minister of Human Resources.

I would ask the minister, normally a contract like this would be drawn up by the solicitor in the Department of Health. I would ask the Minister of Human Resources, why is there intervention at this time by the Department of Human Resources on this particular contract?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: I think that given some of the sensitive issues within the Department of Health, that the Department of Human Resources was called upon to look at contracts that were involved with the Department of Health and to help direct them to finalize them in the proper manner.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand what is so sensitive about a contract for a Commissioner of Health Reform for this province that the Department of Human Resources had to get involved in. She says it is very sensitive.

I would ask the Minister of Human Resources, it has been about four months now, could she tell us when that contract will be completed, that we will know that the contract has been completed and will be given to the person to sign?

MRS. NORRIE: I should think it will be done very quickly, as soon as possible.

MR. MOODY: Four months have gone by. I hope it is not another four months, as soon as possible.

I would ask the Minister of Human Resources one last question on this issue. I would ask the minister if she knows - I have asked the Minister of Health a number of times and he has promised to get the information, but has not returned it yet - if she can tell Nova Scotians exactly what the Health Reform Commissioner is being paid by the taxpayers of this province?

MRS. NORRIE: No, sir, I cannot tell the member opposite that figure at this time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.


MR. GEORGE MOODY: My new question is to the Minister of Health. I would ask the Minister of Health if he could tell the people of this province, through you, Mr. Speaker, whether the appointment of Malcolm Maxwell in his department is a full-time term or a contract position?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge it is a contract position. I will double-check that to make sure that is accurate.

MR. MOODY: I appreciate that the minister will get the information. I would ask the minister if he could tell us, through you, Mr. Speaker, whether this position was advertised, as is the written practice of this government, or was this person just contacted and offered a contract?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, that position was one of the many positions that we were filling in terms of health care reform and the restructuring of our department and it was one of the positions advertised in that way.

MR. MOODY: My final supplementary is back to the Minister of Human Resources. I would ask the Minister of Human Resources if she would give an undertaking to me and to all Nova Scotians that she would guarantee that employees within the Department of Health are being hired within the rules and regulations of the Department of Human Resources. Would she give us that undertaking?


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


MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Supply and Services.

My question to the minister is whether he, as minister responsible for public tendering, was consulted before the Minister of Human Resources decided to violate the public tendering policy of this government in awarding the Berkeley contract?

MR. SPEAKER: I would caution the member in posing questions to avoid casting aspersions.

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, in direct answer to the question of was I consulted, I can say that my deputy was certainly involved with the Deputy Minister of Human Resources with regard to that issue and I cannot give you the details at this time.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my further question to the honourable Minister of Supply and Services is whether he could advise this House whether he has any capability to enforce the public tendering policies of this government with respect to the awarding of tenders or whether he is in the position that he has to simply accept whatever other ministers decide to do when they decide to go ahead and violate the public tendering policies?

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I guess to put the thing in essence or in scope is that it is very difficult to force the role of individuals over one's policy or procedure. I guess in answer to the question, I will say that I cannot force anybody - my colleagues or otherwise - to do things that are written in law but we would hope and trust that these people know how to follow the policies that are put forward.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, we are here talking about a policy that is supposed to guide this government's actions. The very clear implication in this minister's response is that there are colleagues who keep insisting upon violating these policies.

My question to the minister would simply be this, in how many instances have his colleagues violated the public tendering requirements and has he gone to the Premier to ask for these decisions to be overruled?

MR. SPEAKER: Well, the honourable minister can reply to that, if he wants. It sounds like a very serious charge. (Interruption)

MR. ADAMS: I will, Mr. Speaker, make reference to the fact that I did not refer to anybody violating any policy of the government, words put by members opposite, but I did not make such reference. I will say that the Premier and I have had many detailed conversations and meetings about the tendering policy and how we may advance it even better in future times. We have not had conversations in recent days about the current issues but I am sure that everyone is aware of the policies and we can't overlook the policy that permits for extenuating circumstances, where one is permitted to sole-source in the searching of goods and services. Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I leave the rest for future reference.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.


DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health. Last week I asked the Minister of Health for some documentation as to the costs of regional health boards. I think it is particularly relevant, in view of the statement of the minister, that in fact the Department of Health is running out of money, in terms of delivering health care. To this date, I have not received the information from the minister.

I will ask the minister then a specific question, will the minister inform the House as to the specific agreements, in terms of remuneration, made with the chairpersons of the regional health boards?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite is labouring under some misconceptions. First of all, the Ministry of Health is not running out of money. We have budgeted properly and duly, as has been introduced into this House some months ago.

In respect to the provision of the costs of regional health boards, my staff is working on that and I will be tabling that as soon as they have finished. This has been only two working days since the honourable gentleman opposite has asked me for that information. I will have all that information, including the question that he asks now, prepared for him in due course.

DR. HAMM: I thank the minister for that. It was merely my impatience prompting me to ask the minister again. I apologize to the minister and I thank him that the information is coming forward.

I will ask him not for a specific answer but would the minister tell the House, other than expenses, is there consideration being given to paying members of the regional health board, other than the chairperson?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I welcome that question. I thank the honourable gentleman opposite for it because it reiterates what I have said in the House before; the boards are voluntary, there will be costs of travel and other items that we have undertaken to cover. If, in the case of disabled people, a careworker is required, we will cover that as well, but that is the extent of the remuneration.

DR. HAMM: I thank the minister for the answer. Would the minister inform the House if there is a specific timeframe for the regional boards to appoint the community health boards?

DR. STEWART: As has been recommended in the Blueprint Committee, the tenure of these boards are approximately two years in duration and we would anticipate that within that timeframe, 18 to 24 months, the community health boards would be appointed and defined and their mandate dictated.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.


MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minster of Transportation. I want to know, as does Don McKay of Pictou, what the government is doing to reverse the changes with the roads in Amherst which has adversely affected the tourism operators along Sunrise Trail?

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, perhaps in accordance with your ruling the other day, we could have a copy of that documentation that was referred to and the name and address of the individual so we could respond. I am not exactly sure which incident he is referring to. I would only assume that it is the incident we covered at some length in this Legislature last spring, dealing with the Fort Lawrence exit, I believe it was, behind the scale house.

If that is the one, we've had our engineering staff look at that. They have taken videos of the area, they have discussed it with staff, they have met with local residents and, as a result, we have moved some signs. We have put up some new signs and we have complied with many of the requests. I think that is where it stands today.

MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the answer the minister gave me but, really, that wasn't what I was referring to. I was referring to the entrance to the tourist bureau at Amherst, the difficulty in seeing the bureau as you are coming down from the New Brunswick highway. There was a suggestion that I had discussed with the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency on a number of occasions and perhaps I should direct my question to him because I know he realizes what I am talking about. The tourism operators along the Sunrise Trail were very concerned that people, the tourists, weren't coming down the Sunrise Trail. I will ask the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency if that is permissible.

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, there has been no decision reached at this time about changing the access into that centre. We recognize the difficulties and we are trying to address it as best we can in conversations with the New Brunswick Government on perhaps a cooperative approach or perhaps changing some of the signage and so on coming into that centre. We have new signage up at the sight that directs people to the Sunrise Trail once they pull off the highway at the Fort Lawrence turn-off which wasn't there previously. The Department of Transportation completed that signage some time ago. We think that will help.

One of the things, Mr. Speaker, and I don't want to take a lot of time of the House, is that we are considering a radio signal so that people driving into Nova Scotia along the highway will see a radio sign that says tune into such and such for visitor information and that may help attract them off the highway and we will be able to give them a sales pitch as they drive down the highway.

MR. MCINNES: I thank the minister and perhaps that is a good idea to have a sign for a radio signal and I appreciate that. This question was raised not only by this gentleman who wants to know, it was raised by myself in early July. I was in the Amherst area and talked to the minister about it at the time. How long does it take to get a decision from the Province of New Brunswick which is your fellows' government as well, same red, how long does it take to get an answer from them?

MR. BRAGG: Well, Mr. Speaker, this is probably a question that is better answered by both myself and my colleague, the Minister of Transportation, because it is one of these issues that deals with both a transportation issue and tourism. From a tourism approach, we have been having steady discussions from the minister on down in New Brunswick to talk about some kind of a cooperative approach. We have not been able to come to a successful conclusion at this time.

My colleague, the Minister of Tourism of New Brunswick, happens to be in Japan this week so he can't return my call but we are in dialogue with them. The question of authority is better answered by the Minister of Transportation about dealing with access in New Brunswick and so on.

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: My question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications. Mr. Speaker, I am finding it hard to believe today we seem to be hearing quite a bit from the government that we don't have a whole lot of expertise here in Nova Scotia and recently the Minister of Transportation said that his government, and specifically the Department of Transportation and Communications, did not have the expertise to choose or sort through seven private sector proposals, to cut the costs and make improvements to Highway No. 104. The government has been spending big potfuls of money on consultants and tenders. Tenders will close tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, on bids submitted to help the province with the evaluation of the private sector proposals.

I wonder if the minister will assure Nova Scotians today that they will not have to face yet another $0.25 million or perhaps even $0.50 million charge to have some outside consultant review private sector initiatives?

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to believe at times how little homework these people do. It really is. I would encourage every member of this House, as the member for Sackville-Cobequid raised this with the media, and I have been waiting for this opportunity, I have to tell you, read the call for proposals. The call for proposals states that the Department of Transportation lacks the expertise to evaluate the merits of the elements of this not normally associated with highway construction.

Now in Ontario, the Ontario Government created a Transportation Finance Corporation. Now is that the type of expertise that would be retained in the Department of Transportation? Of course not. Is that the type of staff you would retain full time? Well, I hope not. If you would, God help this province.

Mr. Speaker, if they would clearly read, we said from day one, when we set this process out, we said we would be having a call for proposals for an independent consultant to help with the evaluation process, to give integrity to this. What we did, in fact, we looked at areas that had gone through this process, the Government of Ontario.

I met with the Minister of Transportation in Ontario; my staff have met with the Director of Operations for Highway No. 107, the $1 billion private/public partnering project; and my people have met with the Director of Financial Operation of that project, and they said to get some private expertise to give integrity to this process, to protect the people of Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, this is consistent with what we said we would do last spring when we first announced we were going to look at this project. (Applause)

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it is too bad that the steam that blows the whistle can't be used to turn the wheel. I am a little curious and there have been some different press releases about possibly looking again at a northern alignment or a central alignment, I want the minister to take the undertaking, or at least assure Nova Scotians today that the western route is the preferred route, give an undertaking, yes.

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that when this government came to power last year, that the transition team and the Premier of this province put that project on hold pending a re-evaluation, an economic study by the Department of Economic Development. That was done, the decision is made and that decision stands.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the answer from the Minister of Transportation. I wonder if the minister can tell us, when does the minister plan to have his department begin work on skirting Death Valley and making Highway No. 104 safe for the travelling public?

MR. MANN: Again, Mr. Speaker, for I don't know how many times we have dealt with this, the previous administration did not negotiate the funding to complete the section of Highway No. 104 between Masstown and Thompson Station. In an effort to accelerate the construction and completion of that section of highway, we are attempting to have it constructed under private/public partnering. The money is not in the federal-provincial agreements, in either the SHIP agreement or the HIP agreement, to complete the project. It is not there, therefore, we are attempting to accelerate that. We met with the liaison committee and we will continue with this process. We have seven expressions of interest - not proposals, as he referred to earlier - we will meet with those individuals, the committee will, they will then go for a call for proposals and we hope that by doing this we will, in fact, be able to have that very dangerous section of highway completed much earlier than it will be completed in any other situation, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on a new question.


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister talks quite a bit about the previous government negotiating a deal with respect to the twinning of that highway. The previous government negotiated a deal that was offered, the first offer that came from the federal government was $50 million and they negotiated and consulted up to $100 million for the completion of that highway. They negotiated and consulted, something this government preaches quite a bit about, but does not practice.

[3:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I want to know if this minister had any dialogue with the federal minister regarding negotiating a new funding formula for that section of highway?

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, the funding for the national highway system has been the subject of active debate. I have hosted a meeting in Truro of Atlantic ministers. I have attended a meeting in Charlottetown of Atlantic ministers, with the federal Minister, Doug Young. We had a meeting in Winnipeg in October with Mr. Young and all provincial Ministers of Transportation across the country, where the national highway system was the item that was discussed. Those negotiations and dialogue and consultation is underway, it has been underway and it will continue.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the seven private sector proposals to cut the costs and make improvements to Highway No. 104, in regards to the four lane, I understand the proposals, the expressions of interest at least, contain somewhere in the statement that we will be subjected to tolls on those roads.

I wonder if the minister can tell me if any of the proposals had some reference, or at least made reference to the fact that there would not be tolls?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, we have not received any proposals to construct Highway No. 104 between Masstown and Thompson Station. What we have received are expressions of interest. Those expressions of interest deal with the companies involved, the process has been set out. It has been explained, it has been announced and we are following through with that. The next step is to put the parameters in place, to look at the seven expressions of interest, to meet with the companies involved and to see which ones then would be invited to put forth proposals, at which time, how they would intend to construct the highway, over what time period, what financing arrangements they would make and their return on investment. That is when those issues will be covered, not during an expression of interest.

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


MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to go back again to the minister responsible for tendering in the province, the Minister of Supply and Services. I just look again at Clause 1.3 of the Province of Nova Scotia, Government Procurement Policy. I will read this one brief sentence, "This policy statement shall apply to procurement contracts awarded by all departments, agencies, commissions and crown corporations.".

My question to the minister is quite simply this, are you aware of any other contracts that have been awarded that do not follow the policies as laid down in your government's procurement policy? Are you aware of any others and I will even limit it to the last six months?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the only answer I can give to that question is no.

MR. HOLM: So the minister is not aware. I am sure he has and I am sure also that the Premier, given the controversies that have surrounded, and the Premier, of course, was even here, surrounding the Cynthia Martin contract, the Berkeley contract and now I am sure he is very familiar with the one that the Minister of Municipal Affairs tried to issue. So I am sure and I do not have tongue in cheek when I say this, Mr. Speaker, that the Premier would be very concerned . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The Premier is not here, question.

MR. HOLM: My question to the minister is - thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your help -quite simply this, has the Premier, to the best of your knowledge, issued any directive in which he indicates that there will be any repercussions taken if ministers disobey the policies as laid down in the policy that the minister himself is supposed to enforce?

MR. SPEAKER: Beauchesne states that a question must be within the administrative competence of the government and of the minister to whom the question is asked. A question as to what the Premier has done is not properly addressed to the Minister of Supply and Services.

MR. HOLM: The minister would know because he is supposed to enforce it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Supply and Services, do you care to respond?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, my response would be simple in that I repeat what I said earlier, the Premier and I had many discussions on the public tendering policy and the effects of it, the importance of it but I can't say that he has any plans. He would have to answer that question himself of what he intends to do in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The question has to be put to the Premier, obviously.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, hopefully I won't need your help in being able to phrase this in an appropriate way because the minister, obviously, didn't understand my question. I must have phrased it improperly. I didn't ask about what he plans to do, I asked if he had, and so for clarity, I ask the minister, has the Premier already as a result of these controversies issued any directives instructing the ministers to obey the policies and procedures as laid out in the policy that this government supposedly supports? Has he issued any such directive and if he had you, of course, would have received one so you would know.

MR. SPEAKER: With due deference I don't believe that question to be in order. It is a question about what the Premier has done and yet it is addressed to someone else. (Interruptions)

The honourable member for Kings North.


MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Agriculture, I would like to know from the Minister of Agriculture because I have received letters of support from poultry and dairy and the fruit growers association with regard to the farm registration proposal. There is a great deal of interest from the farming community about the farm registration proposal and I am wondering when the minister intends to introduce the legislation so that I may support it in here?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question. Our intention is to certainly bring legislation this fall, to introduce legislation for farm registration. Presently we have a committee in place, members of the Federation of Agriculture along with members from the Freedom to Farm group are looking at this issue, have been looking at this issue for the last number of months.

We certainly have indication from a meeting that was held just recently that we are going to be proceeding this fall.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.


MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The Minister of Municipal Affairs indicated that one of the reasons that she went to a sole source to award the contract for the commissioner of the amalgamation of the metro area was simply because of the fact that he had the necessary expertise.

Would the minister confirm that she did not contact the firm itself, she contacted Mr. Morash directly and I will leave it at that?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I can confirm I contacted Mr. Morash directly.

MR. RUSSELL: Were the other four contacts that she made with firms or with individuals?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, the other contacts - were made with two other individuals, a fourth individual we were not able to get a hold of because that individual was on vacation -were directly with individuals.

MR. RUSSELL: So, as I understand it from the first question and the supplementary, all of the individuals that were contacted with regard to this particular contract were individuals.

If the minister then believes that her sole-source search was perfectly in order, can I ask her why did she reverse her decision today when she came out and put it out to tender?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why I made a statement. I would just want to reiterate, he calls it sole-sourcing but we in actual fact contacted or attempted to contact four people and contacted three of them.

I think what I am trying to do here, what the government is trying to do here, is to get a job done. Mr. Speaker, the job of amalgamating the municipal units is the most important aspect of what we are dealing with here today. Having that job done by an individual who can do it, by an individual who will be able to bring forward all of the consultation that is required with the public and with the metro mayors and with the councils is extremely important. We wanted to look at an individual who was a mature individual and probably well into their career because it was important that that be a consideration.

What we want to do is try to get the job done. We want to move forward with reform and amalgamation, we want that to be done in a way that would be the most reasonable, the way that would have the most support from the greatest number of people. That is why I have decided that at this point in time, based on the shadow that has been cast over this procedure, based on the shadow that has been cast over this individual, that in actual fact a call for proposal may be a way to alleviate some of the shadows that are out there.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.


MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources. In view of the fact that there was a shadow cast over the circumstances of awarding a contract by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, will that same shadow now be cast over the Minister of Human Resources and will she rescind the contract or stop the negotiations with Berkeley Consulting and also put that contract out to tender?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Human Resources, I, too, am trying to get a job done. In the policy that is under Subsection 11, it states "Where the procurement relates to an unforeseeable emergency and the product, service and construction cannot be obtained in time by means of a prescribed tendering process;", you would then try to get someone in to do the job as quickly as possible.

Given the resignation of the Deputy Minister of Health, there was an urgency that did exist with a need to get the job done and the consulting was done around the province looking for expertise in health reform. When we could not find that, we went elsewhere and we did find a company that did have the expertise to assist us in identifying the requirements that the Department of Health needed to fill their jobs from a human resource point of view.

I think this is solid human resource management and I think the Department of Human Resources is handling this matter as expediently as possible. (Applause)

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Premier. Would the Acting Premier tell the members of this House and the people of Nova Scotia whether or not, in his mind, that the interpretation of the policy put out by the Premier of this province with regard to tendering for contracts is left up to the interpretation of how that policy should be applied by the individual ministers?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, the best way to answer that might be a directive the Premier sent, I think at least a year ago, to all ministers and I will get a copy and I will table it. He said, for example, tendering should be used for procurement whenever it is feasible, whether or not it is required under the Government Purchases Act. The general thrust of it is, he wanted, if at all possible, for the tender policy to be followed. If not, he wanted written reasons from the deputy minister why the tender policy was not followed. That was implemented on December 1, 1993.

Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to table a copy of that and I think the member for Hants West can see for himself.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on a new question.


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: A very short question, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs. As the House knows, the Minister of Municipal Affairs made a ministerial statement today. The announcement essentially said that the position of coordinator, responsible for implementing the new metro regional government, would be called shortly. Without getting into whether the selection of Grant Morash was appropriate or inappropriate, I wonder if the minister would tell this House if her statement today was precipitated by her most recent discussion with the Premier?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: There is half a minute left. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.


MR. JOHN HOLM: A very quick one to the Minister of Human Resources. Did the minister consult with the Premier before she awarded the contract to Berkeley?


MR. SPEAKER: Well, there are 10 seconds left. I don't think even the quickest question imaginable could be framed in that short timeframe.

The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.


[3:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, we are not going to have any government business at this time, although we could debate the casino bill if the members of the Opposition wanted to waive the waiting period, we could certainly do that. (Interruptions)

We did offer to switch days with them, but they could not accommodate that either. Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Opposition . . .

MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am listening to the minister's comments with great interest. I am just wondering if it is a view of the government that we should not have the opportunity or take the time to read the bill, quite a heavy bill, before we start to debate the merits the legislation, or should we just be taking it on faith that everything is wonderful since the government says that it is?

MR. SPEAKER: That would appear to be a question rather than a point of order.

MR. MANN: Obviously one, Mr. Speaker, they can answer themselves, since it would require the unanimous consent of the House to have debate on it. So, obviously, that is up to them. Obviously, they do not seem to indicate their support for that. As I indicated, of course we could have recessed until Thursday morning last night with no government business, but we wanted to provide the opportunity for Question Period today and for Opposition Members' Business again tomorrow.

So perhaps again we will attempt to get the House Leader of the New Democratic Party to give us the order of business for tomorrow.

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

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, it is our intention to call for debate Resolution No. 915, then Resolution No. 945 and in the remaining time available to call House Orders.

MR. JOHN HOLM: And the hours will be 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I move we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The resolutions for tomorrow are Resolution No. 915 and Resolution No. 945.

The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow afternoon at the hour of 2:00 p.m.

The motion is carried.

The resolution for debate in the late show is as follows:

Therefore be it resolved that the provincial Minister of Fisheries send a clear message that they reject the corporate, high-tech, bottom line driven policies proposed by the Fisheries Council of Canada.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity in the few moments provided during the Adjournment debate to discuss some concerns that I have and that have been shared with me by others over a report put forward by the Fisheries Council of Canada, entitled Building a Fishery That Works: A Vision for the Atlantic Fisheries.

I raise this issue because what it does is it puts forward a vision for the Atlantic fishery that I don't agree with. It puts forward a vision of an industry that is vertically integrated whereby all the resource would be in private hands, that the issues of efficiency and effectiveness of technology would be the primary concern. The international markets would dictate whether in fact anyone fished in our waters or whether the fishing effort would be totally shut down. It absolutely ignores the whole question of appropriate harvesting technologies for our particular region.

Let us not forget, that the authors of this report, the sponsoring body of this report, who are putting forward this argument, are the same people that pushed, back in the early 1980's for the Kirby Report. You may remember the Kirby Report which set up two major offshore companies and a third followed not too long after that, Clearwater, Mr. Speaker, and that these offshore companies, these multi-national offshore companies, had the freedom to fish wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted and however they wanted.

The resource was deemed to be theirs. It was no longer a communal resource. It was no longer owned by the community of Nova Scotia or of Canada, it was, respectively, either Clearwater's or it was FPI's or it was National Sea's, Mr. Speaker.

The question, of course, that then comes up is that that was their answer then to how it was that the fishery was going to be handled, that if they were allowed to carry out their harvesting practices along those lines, taking in regard the bottom line then we would never, ever have to worry about the sustainability, the viability of the fishing industry in the Atlantic Provinces ever again because they had the answer, they had the control. Well, here we are 10 short years later and in fact we are in a serious crisis. The method that was advocated by this group has not worked.

In fact, many would suggest, and I among them, that the way the harvesting of that resource was organized, the way that the ownership of that resource was organized, in large part contributed to the serious overfishing and the crisis that we are now into. I guess there are some serious questions that have to be asked at this point and I haven't heard anything come out of this government in response to this particular report in terms of whether it is acceptable or it is not acceptable. The minister of our department of course doesn't have responsibility, in fact, management issues are a federal responsibility but you and I and anybody else in the industry over the past year and one-half have seen a department headed by this minister that has been I think quite responsible in handling much of his duties and handling many of the concerns that have been raised in the industry here in the Atlantic Provinces and that that minister has been front and centre in responding to the concerns that have been voiced by the industry here in Nova Scotia.

I think it is imperative that regardless of what he or his department says because of whatever they decide is appropriate, I thought it was incumbent upon me at least to stand up in this House and take an opportunity to raise some of these questions and to raise some of these concerns. Mr. Speaker, imagine if you will, if all of the resource off Nova Scotia is set up in the individual transferable quota system, in the ITQs. Who has the financial resources to pick up those ITQs? Is it the Sobeys, is it the Jodreys, is it the R.B. Camerons, is it the NatSeas, is it the FPIs, is it the Clearwaters? Those are the people that have the deep pockets, those are the people that have the resource, and you can just see not too far down the road that the concentration of ownership of this resource would very clearly be in the hands of one, two, three major companies.

You and I may think well, maybe that is raising some unfounded fears and that is not going to happen, competition will continue to work and so on. The people that are pushing this very plan are in fact suggesting that that's what needs to happen, that you need to have the bigger and better. That you need to have bigger firms, you need to have high technology, you have to have more efficient ways of harvesting our resource using bigger machines, bigger boats, faster boats, better technology, airplanes and the whole bit to ensure that as those boats go out that they are bigger boats and that they make sure that the resource that they bring in is the greatest volume that they possibly can regardless of how many people that are actually employed in harvesting that very resource. Those same people suggest that the only way that we can compete internationally, in the global economy, is to further concentrate ownership of this particular resource.

Well, I think it is important for us to remember that the recommendations, the answers, the solutions provided for in the Kirby Report have not worked out all that well. We are in a serious crisis right now where we have to re-examine each and every aspect of our particular industry and how it is organized and how the resource is shared. We have to make a decision now learning from decisions that have been made in the past. We have to decide what is going to be best for out communities, what is going to be best for the people of Nova Scotia in terms of jobs, in terms of spinoffs, in terms of distributing the work and distributing the income and distributing the resource.

While there has been some considerable attention in this particular report about the issues of ownership and the concentration thereof, there has been very little attention provided to that important question and that is the issue of technology, the issue of the appropriate harvesting technology that we need to make sure is put in place to sustain our industry, to ensure that our industry benefits the most people, the most communities that it possibly can and the most people.

I would like, perhaps even at a time when the Fisheries Resource Council has just come down with a report which I think will have some impact on the industry, they have reduced quotas in a few areas. I guess the only one that increased ever so slightly was haddock but the signs are not good that the resource is going to be rebounding immediately. But certainly there are good indicators out there in terms of water temperature in the Gulf, I understand, in terms of the size and quantity of haddock and so on, that we need to continue down the road as we are right now taking a cautious, responsible and studied approach to ensuring that we maintain a viable and encourage the sustainability of our fishery in the future.

I would be extremely concerned if I thought that this minister and this government were in any way considering the proposals put forward by the Fisheries Resource Council of Canada. All aspects of the fishing industry not only groundfish but also lobster and others, would be taken over, under this individual transferable quota system, whereby individual companies have full right and responsibility for that resource. I raise that issue because I am concerned as are others and I look forward to hearing from the minister on this issue. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Fisheries.

HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the member opposite has brought forth a discussion about fisheries because, as he expressed, there are many concerns by people throughout this country and particularly our small communities of Nova Scotia that are still gravely concerned about the future of their fisheries.

As he also alluded to today, the Fisheries Resource Council of Canada made its statement here in Halifax and tabled the report with the federal Minister of Fisheries with regard to the recommendation.

After many months of hearings and detailed studies within the Atlantic Canada region, I think there are some very favourable items came out of that report today. Notwithstanding, the Fisheries Resource Council of Canada report which was tabled in Fredericton here a few weeks ago which I had the opportunity to be present at, we heard the report as it was tabled by the executive of the Fisheries Resource Council of Canada, we came out in strong support of the federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister, the Honourable Brian Tobin's call for reform, a round table, so that all participants in the fisheries would have an equal voice in shaping the future of Canada's fishery. I think that is paramount and we support that issue and this round table because I think it is an opportunity to study the future fishery for Canadians.

[4:00 p.m.]

The Department of Fisheries in Nova Scotia has general policy and development objectives in our policy guide, printed in 1989. Many of the objectives, seven major objectives, are very important principles on which the Department of Fisheries in Nova Scotia works together with the processing and the harvesting industry. I will state a little more about that in a few moments.

The Fisheries Resource Council of Canada's vision and guiding principles, I think, need to be stated. They had five guiding principles: That resource conservation objectives should be based on ecological sustainability and cooperative management; that fisheries should be managed to generate net benefits for Canada; thirdly, that the management framework should promote financial stability and stable employment opportunities; fourth, that the regulatory decisions should promote industry efficiency and operating flexibility; fifth, that the management of the fisheries should be depoliticized. I think these are very important principles that we, as a province, and I am sure most fishermen, can understand those principles on which they worked to provide their vision.

Certainly, there are divergent views from many aspects of the industry, the small individual boat owner or the crewman on a small vessel and small, individual plant owners. But we are supporting the round table concept to ensure that all people who are participants in this fishing industry have the opportunity to voice their opinions, to speak to these guiding principles and to the vision. I am very optimistic, as I think many other people in the fishing industry are, that there will be a turnaround in the very near future coming for the fisheries. From the fisheries resource statements this morning, there will be an increased total allowable catch of haddock in 4X, and that is not based on anecdotal information but based on scientific information and fishermen's information collected this past year.

The Fisheries Resource Council has been listening to the fishermen. Mr. Tobin, the federal minister, has been listening to the fishermen and we are also taking note of all the issues the fishermen are bringing forth. There are very strong efforts by all players to have a co-management of the fisheries, for everybody who is a player to be listening and to be making your decisions based upon joint co-management, the process where all players are being heard at the table.

Our province is planning to be at this round table, which will be held by the federal minister as soon as possible. I expect within the next few months, along with other busy agendas, that the opportunity will be made available for all fishing industry representatives to give a good voice, to discuss and analyze some of the statements made by the vision statement of the Fisheries Resource Council, to tear it apart at this time. I think the principles are guiding principles that I think most people can support because we want the fishery to be managed and we want the general net benefits to come to Canadians. That is critical for all Canadians.

The resource conservation objective should be based on ecological sustainability and cooperative management. That is very basic to our fishing policy that we have in the province, that we respect the policy that we have had in place for many years. But that sustainability, the conservation aspect of it, is most critical.

The concern expressed today is about the conservation but also that the seals are recognized as playing a part in the sustainable future of the fishery and that the harvesting process will be discussed again in a forum and that a harvesting program will be brought about. This is all part of the sustainability of our communities, the people who are in these communities. Last week the Cabinet Secretariat met in Guysborough County and had five meetings with people in various communities. The sustainability of these communities is paramount in that region of the province and it is based primarily on fisheries.

There are a substantial number of small communities that are still thriving, but the community of Canso, for instance, is not sustainable at the present time due to the closure of the plant. We do hope that resources will be available in the form of fish products that will offer that opportunity to the community to again be revitalized and to come back to what it was in the past. But we must have a supply of fish in that region that will provide work for the people.

We have heard this throughout the community and through many communities. It is incumbent upon this government to work very closely with the federal government and with the fishing industry, members of the Fisheries Resource Council, as well as the small communities in Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries has had a long standing policy of working closely with all the fishing industry representatives and working hard with them. I think Nova Scotia's position has been well recognized in the past and at the present time in our input into the Fisheries Resource Council objectives of providing proper management, and that is cooperative management based on listening to the fishermen, providing sentinel fisheries, that is to send fishermen out there in their vessels and to do test fisheries.

These are important aspects of supporting the scientific evidence that is collected through the normal research processes that have been developed over a period of time. We are now working closely with the fishermen and the fishing industry in southwest Nova Scotia. There is an article in a recent paper, following the Fisheries Resource Council's statement. People in that region and 4X, along Shelburne, Queens and Yarmouth Counties have had a very viable fishery in the past several hundred years and it is based on the conservation techniques which these people have employed in the harvesting of fish and adding value to their fish products.

May I make it very clear that in the first six months of this year, the province exported $354 million worth of fish from Nova Scotia and in the past five years the average has been $358 million. We are down about 1 per cent. Our landings have been down approximately 20 per cent, but the value that we have put in our fish, the better prices because of the better handling, the quality of our fish demands a higher price on the market place and Nova Scotia fisheries, in some regions of this province, for certain are having great difficulty.

There are other fisheries processors who are having a reasonably successful year. But it is important to understand that the processors, small and large, are adding more value to their product, they are looking after the product better, the fishermen are taking training programs and enhancing the quality of the fish from the time it is captured until the time it is sold at the retail level.

Mr. Speaker, I believe my time is soon up and I want to thank the member opposite for bringing forth this very important issue because I feel very strong about the future of our fishery. I can be optimistic about it, but we are all going to have to work together in a co-management style and I am prepared to work with members opposite and with our industry to make it a very viable industry. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to yield the floor to the member for Digby-Annapolis or the member for Argyle. They are both up on the fishery a little more than I am.

I want to thank the member for Halifax Atlantic for raising this topic today. As most of you know, my colleague, the member for Queens, is away on public business today, relating to the Public Accounts Committee meeting in Montreal. I did have an opportunity to speak to him briefly today and he did echo the concerns that I am going to raise today.

As I say, I have been away from this department for some time, but I will make some comments as discussed with my colleague for Queens. As the member earlier has indicated, Herb Clarke of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council recently announced that the council had imposed recommendations for conservation and management practices on the industry as early as 1995.

Now this is a top-down process which will see decisions made by bureaucrats, rather than by pure evaluation. Our position, as a Conservative caucus, is that the Fisheries Resource Council has no business dealing with anything other than groundfish. Its mandate relates solely with the groundfish industry. This is where they should constrict their activities and, particularly, the Fisheries Resource Council must not get involved in the lobster industry.

This sector is well-managed through a peer review and monitoring process. For the Fisheries Council to consider usurping the fishermen, is dead wrong. That fishery is not broken and the government shouldn't try to fix it. The lobster fishery around this province has been very successful over the years. I don't have the exact figure of dollars that are taken in, I believe it is in the $150 million area that the lobster fishery contributes to the Province of Nova Scotia and has been successfully dictated by the fishermen and looked after by the fishermen themselves, and I believe that that is the way it should be.

I know our own fishermen in northern Nova Scotia are successful fishermen. They didn't have the biggest year in the world this year, but they managed their own activities. If somebody is over-fishing, they will handle it themselves. They will monitor their colleagues and see that they are doing it properly. I won't get into an issue about how one particular fisherman took it upon himself, but they do look after their own business. The suggestion about round tables and having all parties involved, I guess that is fine. There is nothing wrong with that. I think it is important that we have all parties. I, to be honest with you, haven't had time to study this report but my understanding is they are talking about round tables in the Maritimes? That is what the federal minister is suggesting. Maybe that is right; there is nothing wrong with that. Anyway, I would be very pleased to take my place; I would be glad to hear from the member for Digby who is very knowledgeable of the fishing industry and I would be glad to hear his comments.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby.

You have six minutes if you wish to use them.

MR. JOSEPH CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I didn't want to hog the time here but this is an important thing. I didn't get ready for this speech at all. I can understand what is happening in our area, that there are some great hardships as I see it, plants are closed and so on. Did I understand the honourable minister to say that the 4 X quota on haddock would be increased? (Interruption) Up? Up, that is good because . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Cod are down.

MR. CASEY: Cod are down, yes. They are getting haddock and I have seen what is happening in the Bay of Fundy near my place anyway, the boats go out, they have a quota left on flounder and they go out, and I know one boat in particular, he was fishing for flounder and he put his net over and when he hauled it back he had 2,000 pounds of flounder and he had 7,000 pounds of haddock and cod; mainly haddock. What would he do with them if he brings them in? It is illegal; if he dumps them overboard it is illegal and this is the situation that they find themselves in. I know that dragger has been tied up, still has some flounder quota and still cannot do anything about it.

There has to be some change in this method of monitoring the catch of the fish, and allowing them some more leeway. Not to bring stuff in illegally, I don't mean that, but some way that they can do it and not waste fish. It is bad. That is all I am going to say right now because I am not prepared but I will be back next time. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for the debate on the Adjournment motion has just about expired. The Adjournment motion has been made and carried. The House will now rise to sit again tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

[The House rose at 4:15 p.m.]



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

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

(1) A list of the risk factor guidelines used by provincial social workers to assess child abuse cases across Nova Scotia;

(2) A list of individuals now serving time or who have been penalized for child abuse since January 1, 1994 and the time as to when they will become eligible for parole; and

(3) A list of individuals who have been convicted of child abuse in Nova Scotia more than once since January 1, 1990.