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December 15, 1994


Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Session

12:00 P.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mr. Gerald O'Malley

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We can commence this afternoon's sitting now. Are there any introductions? If not, we will begin the daily routine.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications.


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

Whereas in the month of December there is an annual renewal of snowmobiling enthusiasm with the arrival of the winter months; and

Whereas the safety of all snowmobile users in the Province of Nova Scotia is of concern; and


Whereas the environment, other outdoor enthusiasts, property owners and wildlife must be observed and protected;

Therefore be it resolved that the week of December 19th to December 23rd be proclaimed throughout the Province of Nova Scotia as Snowmobile Awareness Week.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.



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


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

Whereas this fall and for many years before, Liberal MLAs and MPs have promised to transfer jobs to Cape Breton as part of their efforts to redress a 25 per cent official unemployment rate caused by decades of economic exploitation; and

Whereas meanwhile the government has announced a specific number of jobs that it will transfer from Halifax to Amherst; and

Whereas Cape Bretoners who were the most enthusiastic supporters of these Liberals' promise of jobs will be asking today why transfer targets have been set for a swing riding but not for Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourages the Liberal Government to further emulate the Mulroney-like contempt for its loyal supporters that produced such historic election results for the federal Conservatives in 1993.

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 this government promised Nova Scotians an economic development, job creation plan 18 months ago; and

Whereas neither the 30-60-90 fiasco, nor the departmental audit, have developed into an economic plan; and

Whereas the government's only economic strategy seems to be the ill-conceived, extremely unpopular casinos for Halifax and Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that the government focus, get ready and get going on developing a strategy on economic development to respond to the desperate needs of the unemployed and the underemployed, especially among young Nova Scotians who are becoming dangerously disillusioned.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


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

Whereas under the Liberal Government's municipal plan, the taxpayers of Halifax County will face the largest increase in the province; and

Whereas of the four former Halifax County Councillors now sitting in this House as government members, not a single one has shown the intestinal fortitude to stand in this House and speak up for their constituents; and

Whereas instead, they sit on their hands day after day saying to themselves, I see no evil, I hear no evil, I speak no evil;

Therefore be it resolved that the members for Eastern Shore, Timberlea-Prospect, Sackville-Beaverbank and Preston do more than stage back room revolts, but speak up for the people that sent them to this place.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear! Waive notice, waive notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I believe that I ought to read that resolution and consult with the Clerk before tabling it. Please bring the resolution here.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.


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

Whereas the government began this week with a happy event in the spirit of the season by presenting Community Service Awards to outstanding Nova Scotians, among them Marilyn Worth, coordinator of Community Links; and

Whereas during the long months preceding the ceremony, this same government sat by and watched funding for Community Links expire and took no action to address the issue; and

Whereas Community Links is a proven provider of the community-based, volunteer-driven, health prevention and involvement organization that is fundamental to this government's self-proclaimed goals;

Therefore be it resolved that the government should put some meat on its ceremonial recognition of Marilyn Worth and Community Links by quickly agreeing to support its ongoing development as a building block of community controlled health care reform and community development.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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 Municipal Affairs Minister yesterday performed another series of flip-flops by appointing Bill Hayward as Metro Municipal Amalgamation Commissioner; and

Whereas on August 7, 1993, the Minister of Municipal Affairs said the Liberals will focus more on regionalization of such services as policing than on full amalgamation and now she has appointed the author of the Hayward plan to oversee the amalgamation; and

Whereas in announcing Grant Morash as her first choice as Metro Municipal Amalgamation Commissioner in November, the minister said Mr. Hayward was unacceptable;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Municipal Affairs get her story straight as to the direction of municipal reform so that Nova Scotians can participate in a credible process.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

After consultation with the Clerk, the resolution presented by the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.


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

Whereas William Hayward's track record dealing with amalgamation of local services in metro apparently disqualified him from reappointment as amalgamation coordinator in November; and

Whereas come December, the government has selected Mr. Hayward as the lowest cost coordinator who meets their standards, although when he implemented amalgamation of police forces his original financial forecast proved faulty; and

Whereas it is nevertheless true to form that these Liberals have chosen Donald Cameron's Tory amalgamation commissioner to carry out the top-down, unproven Tory plan;

Therefore be it resolved that if Nova Scotians wanted to carry on with Donald Cameron's Conservative policies and programs, they would have re-elected him instead of defeating 43 Conservative candidates and giving the Tories barely 30 per cent of the popular vote.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, thank you, for your previous ruling on another resolution.

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

Whereas the Minister of Municipal Affairs, despite her promise to openly consult, did not inform Nova Scotia's 66 municipal units at their conference in Sydney in September of her intention to leave a two-tiered social services system in place across Nova Scotia except in the new Cape Breton Regional Municipality; and

Whereas such a decision, for example, would have saved the Town of Yarmouth $800,000 in social services costs this fiscal year; and

Whereas this change of mind has been only one of the dizzying pace of flip-flops by this government since they were elected;

Therefore be it resolved that this government make good on its election promise and commit itself now to a one-tiered social assistance system.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.


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

Whereas the latest crack in the Liberal armour is over the fact that the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency is only going to provide work for individuals in six counties across Nova Scotia this winter; and

Whereas the member for Lunenburg poignantly stated in yesterday's Chronicle-Herald that, "if you are a fish plant worker in Lunenburg, you probably would like to have a job as much as one in Canso"; and

Whereas the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency is not making any apologies because this winter he is refusing to assist the unemployed people of Lunenburg County, or indeed any other non-favoured county, including my own County of Queens;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency go to Lunenburg with their MLA and tell the people of Lunenburg, I know during the 1993 election campaign the Liberals promised to create 63,000 jobs but I will not help the unemployed in Lunenburg County this winter.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.


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

Whereas one family who care for an adult daughter with disabilities, the Huntingtons of Dartmouth, have distributed the Community Services statement that their daughter is entitled to precisely $174 a month to meet all of her needs, with nothing for shelter costs, less overpayment recovery; and

Whereas inadequate, non-existent and unregulated home care, respite care and in-home support force such families to be isolated, overburdened caregivers; and

Whereas this government has not responded to widespread concerns from the disabled community, parents and their advocates;

Therefore be it resolved that a Cabinet which wastes millions to arrogantly indulge their own whims should relent in its efforts to claw back every possible cent from people with disabilities and other fellow citizens who deserve a basic level of security and dignity.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[12:15 p.m.]

Are there any further notices of motion? Is there any other business to come before the House under the heading of the daily routine? If not, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 p.m. this evening. The winner of today's draw is the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. He has submitted a motion stating:

Therefore be it resolved that mental health services for children and adolescents are woefully inadequate and need urgent attention in Cape Breton and on the mainland.

We will hear on that matter at 6:00 p.m. this afternoon.

The time now being 12:16 p.m., the Oral Question Period today will run for one hour, that is until 1:16 p.m.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The Premier said back in February 1993 that hospital beds cannot be closed unless there is a decent home care program for those people in need. That was reported in the Amherst Citizen back in February. He was also quoted later as saying that Liberals differ from the Conservatives, because a Liberal Government will close beds in hospitals only after implementing a decent home care program. That was in May 1993 and quoted in the Scotia Sun.

Well, there are people in communities such as Berwick and Annapolis and too many to name, who have seen closures and changes in their institutional health care delivery system dramatically changed and yet still see no, to use the Premier's words, decent home care program. (Interruption) Well, the Premier says not true.

I would ask the Minister of Health if he would tell us today what steps he has taken to ensure that in those communities where closures and downsizing of institutional health care delivery has taken place, what steps have been taken to ensure that a reasonable quality home care plan has been put in place and substitution therefore?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition for that question. It allows me to state categorically that home care was an integral part of the planning in each of those communities he refers to, those in which hospitals have changed. This not only entailed the support of the current home care program that was already in place and needed major changes but it also was a pivotal point in the development of outreach services which the communities to which he alludes are very much involved and progressing very nicely.

MR. DONAHOE: I thank the minister for his words but they are nothing but words. The words do not represent a description at all of a home care program, decent or otherwise, that is put in place in any community in Nova Scotia, as a supplement or as a complement to the downsizing of the institution.

My first supplementary, that same Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker, promised three weeks ago that, within the next week or two, we will have a presentation which will be less technical but able to be circulated throughout the province for the public consumption on home care. We are still talking about a review of a document that is supposed to describe the program. We do not see home care being instituted in communities where the institutions are downsized. I repeat my question, will the Minister of Health describe, with some degree of precision and clarity, even pick one community for me where there is now functioning a home care program to replace the downsizing or the elimination of institutional health care?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly be happy to list these communities, let perhaps the honourable member listen to the communities themselves in terms and I will be happy to provide him with the documented evidence, both in the press and in the letters that I have received from Annapolis Royal, Pugwash, from the work that is being done currently in Berwick, although I might remind him that we have several months before downsizing occurs in most of those areas, by the way. We have instituted assessment beds, we have expanded programs of care both in the home, the home hospital project is just about to be reported in Antigonish with major savings to patients in terms of recovery rates, major savings in terms of costs. I could go on if the honourable gentleman wishes. I certainly would be happy to draw his attention to the press reports from all of those communities.

MR. DONAHOE: I refer, by way of final supplementary, to the Minister of Health, to a document called Transaction Guide, dated August 8, 1994. I think it was provided by the Minister of Finance to our office. It talks about major reorganization and restructuring of governmental policies and programs and delivery systems and so on. This Transaction Guide says under the category major reorganization, restructuring, that the documentation required is a memorandum to the Priorities and Planning Committee supporting documentation, existing organizational charts and the proposed organizational charts.

I would ask the Minister of Health if he has provided to the Priorities and Planning Committee the documentation I have just now described and is required by the Transaction Guide provided by the Minister of Finance, the Chairman of the Priorities and Planning Committee?

DR. STEWART: Yes, we have had several documents presented, in terms of reorganization, particularly of the department itself and that continues. We should have that completed very shortly. I assume that the restructuring of the Department of Health is the issue to which you are referring.

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



MR. JOHN HOLM: I would like to direct my question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, regarding the Metro Municipal Amalgamation Co-ordinator. The minister's department disqualified all applicants or all those who expressed an interest in the position, other than two, and those two were the only ones who were on the minister's short list that had been put forward earlier.

Now the minister's call for expressions of interest was, indeed, very vague and general and it doesn't even consider, in the Phase I selection process, any reference to the estimated cost of the work. Now certainly the minister would not have wanted the selection to be subjective but, rather, to be based on something that is, indeed, very quantitative.

My question to the minister quite simply is this, did the minister have a quantifiable rating scale system, against which all of those who applied for the position were judged? If so, will she table that rating scale on the floor of the House?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that I reconfirm and ensure the honourable member understands that in actual fact we were looking very specifically for an individual who had certain criteria, which was listed in the proposal for the tender call. So those individuals, the expressions that came in, all the 14 expressions, were reviewed by a committee within the department and were analyzed in comparison with the proposal they put forward, based on their qualifications as an individual to do the job.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister says they are looking for an individual with certain qualifications and qualities. Well, some might suggest it would be a self-serving interest of the minister and the government to have those who were selected for the short list only to be the ones who were deemed to have those qualifications.

I go back to the minister and I ask her, did the minister and her department have a rating scale against which all the things, point values and so on, were placed, against which all the individual applicants were judged, to ensure that an unbiased opinion was arrived at, before you decided to go into Phase II?

MS. JOLLY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister says yes. Will the minister table that on the floor of the House this afternoon? I would also ask, and I am not asking for it to be done by the names of the individuals, the point scores put beside them and rank then A, B, through to whatever number, will the minister provide the information that shows the comparison as to how the different applicants rated on that scale, without giving direct reference to the individual by name, the system that was used and how they rated?

MS. JOLLY: Certainly each of the proposals or expressions put in were rated on the same criteria. I know there were sheets done up on each of the individuals. If it is not a problem legally, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to take it under advisement, I would be prepared to table that information.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.


MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. On December 13th, the minister announced a Nova Scotia Works Program. While the minister's statement to the House was clear, ". . . that certain areas of the province need and deserve special attention.", the minister was also, quite unequivocal, two or three lines later, in his statement to the House when he said, "The jobs would be distributed across the province, . . ."; he does reference priority being given to counties where the need is most severe, but he does not reference any degree of exclusivity with respect to the application of this program, so my question to the minister is, in view of the statement that he made in the House the other day, why are only six counties named in the advertisement, which appears in today's Chronicle-Herald, with respect to Nova Scotia Works?

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, we made a decision, based on Statistics Canada's unemployment numbers, to target this program for the areas with the highest unemployment rates. We also made the decision that, to make it effective, we would target the six highest counties, which are in the ad today. If we had more money, we could possibly go further. Perhaps, when the additional programs are announced, we may be able to address some needs around the province but, we felt, with the limited amount of money that we had, that it was best to target the areas with the very highest of unemployment rates and that is what we did.

MR. LEEFE: Winter is upon us, at least the weather would suggest that, although we are a week off in date. The minister references the possibility and, one would hope, the probability of extending the program. Bearing in mind that winter does have a termination date, could the minister suggest when he may be advertising for the other 12 counties in the province?

MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, I did not say we would be advertising for the other 12 counties. There are additional pieces of the program coming, which we announced the other day when we announced this program. When those come, there may be an ability to do some further extension around the province. As I said, our program was limited. We tried to do the best we could with a limited amount of money in the worst unemployment areas of the province, not to say that we will not continue to try to do things in other areas of the province to help unemployment and problems with job creation and we will continue to do that; hopefully, we can address some of the other areas.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the minister references taking a decision and one assumes that that decision was taken on the basis of a predetermined criteria. Would the minister please explain the basis on which his department determined that being unemployed in Guysborough, Richmond, Digby, or any of the other three counties, is any greater burden than being unemployed in Queens, Lunenburg, Shelburne or, indeed, in any of the other counties which today we learned are excluded from this program?

MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, it is an unfortunate fact of life that we cannot do something to address every single unemployed person in Nova Scotia. We would like to and we are trying. This program, with its limited resources, could only go so far. We tried to do the best we could in the worst areas. I, too, agree, unemployed in Canso, Queens and Lunenburg is just as unemployed as any place else. We had limited resources. We tried to do the best we could with the funds we had available. I make no apologies for that. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. I wonder if the Premier would tell us whether or not the decision announced by his Ministers of Education and the Economic Renewal Agency, relative to the transfer of some 75 provincial government jobs to Amherst, is a policy and an initiative which has been approved by the Cabinet?

HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, the Cabinet has approved a number of different policies. One of the issues that we addressed was the importance, for instance, of Guysborough, with its declining population base, so we had a subcommittee of Cabinet. The process that we are embarking on with the Amherst proposal is just another extension of policies that are applicable to particular areas, but may become applicable to all.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I refer to a document dated August 8, 1994, which the Minister of Finance provided. It addresses the steps which this government is supposed to undertake internally relative to major reorganization and restructuring of departments. In this proposed move of 75 civil servants from the metro area to Amherst, that I would expect would involve a major reorganization, a restructuring of some department or departments. The document requires a memorandum to the Priorities and Planning Committee supporting documentation, existing organizational charts and proposed organizational charts and I would ask the Premier if that documentation and those materials have in fact been prepared and submitted to the Priorities and Planning Committee?

[12:30 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think as I said the exact number, the departments concerned have not yet been agreed on. There are all kinds of proposals, we will be considering different departments and when we do that it will be announced.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary then I would ask the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency who is quoted in the newspaper as saying that,"the jobs will come from, `three different government departments and three separate divisions of those departments,'". "We can't . . . tell you the departments for a couple of reasons. Some of the areas have been identified, some have not, . . .".

The Premier just now tells me, knowing nothing about what is going on, that they haven't picked the departments and he doesn't know what jobs and so on.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't know . . .

MR. DONAHOE: Well, that is what he says. (Interruptions) Well, we will read Hansard and Nova Scotians will read Hansard. You haven't got the foggiest idea what is going on.

MR. SPEAKER: This is out of order, you have got to address the Chair.

MR. DONAHOE: My supplementary to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency is, notwithstanding the fact that the Premier has just said that none of the departments have been picked and so on and you, the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, has said that they have been, I would ask the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency to tell us which of those departments have been identified as he said publicly yesterday?

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to tell the people of Amherst and Cumberland County that the members opposite are against jobs in Cumberland County. They are so starving for political issues they will come up with anything to have as an issue on the floor of this House. We are trying to create jobs in this province, whether it is in Canso, Amherst or any place else and these people are against it. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition on a new question.


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I think the proposal that some transfer of employment from metro to Amherst is completely acceptable and laudable and this minister knows that my questions aren't in any way (Interruptions). Thank you very much, my point is, and my question is to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, in order to make a transfer of some 75 employees who now work and live and presumably raise their families here in the metro area, move them to Amherst which is a perfectly legitimate public policy initiative, should not leave them in limbo and I want to ask the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, (Interruptions) Here we have more helpful comment from the Minister of Transportation. The documents by which this sort of thing are allegedly to be done by this government require in the case of a major restructuring or reorganization that there be prepared a memorandum to Priorities and Planning supporting documentation, existing organizational charts and proposed organizational charts. The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has said publicly that certain areas of people, of departments, have already been identified for move, he said that publicly. I want to ask the minister, has he prepared and submitted to Priorities and Planning the organizational documents which indicate which department, which people and which families are going to be affected by this move?

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, is he concerned about the jobs or does he want to make a political issue? He has just said that he supports this policy initiative our government has taken. Once the decisions are made and the individual areas are identified and approved at Cabinet that information will come forward. We have not identified publicly which ones they are, we have a process to go through and we will not do it on the floor of the Legislature and we will follow the process.

MR. DONAHOE: So, I take it then that when the Minister of Economic Renewal and the question is to him, I take it that when he is quoted as having said and I do quote him from the Chronicle Herald of December 15 . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Well, Beauchesne has something to say about that.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, I will quote him as having said, you tell the departments for a couple of, "`We can't . . . tell you the departments for a couple of reasons. Some of the areas have been identified, some have not,'. . .". Is the minister now saying that he was misquoted and some of the departments have not been identified? Is that what the minister is now saying?

MR. SPEAKER: Well, a question of that type is out of order. Beauchesne specifically states that you cannot ask a minister whether he or she has been correctly reported in a newspaper or whether quotations ascribed to them in the press are reflections of government policy, it is out of order. I will recognize the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition on a new supplementary question.

MR. DONAHOE: I take it then that the reality of the whole situation as we piece this together, talking about people being political. The political activity here, Mr. Speaker, is that this Minister of Economic Renewal and his colleague the Minister of Education were playing politics with the people of Amherst just pre-Christmas. I ask the Minister of Economic Renewal Agency, yes or no, has any department or division of any department been decided upon for transfer to Amherst?

MR. BRAGG: That is a good suggestion, perhaps the PC caucus could be moved in. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: We will have to have order, please. (Interruptions) The honourable Minister of the Economic Renewal Agency has the floor. All other members please be quiet.

MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, if the member had bothered to read the rest of the article that he so ably quoted from today, he would see that I also said there is a process that must be gone through before we make the announcements of which areas we will make the determination in and I stand by that. We have not finalized the process, they will not be announced in the specific areas until that is done, as the rules state and we will do that.

MR. DONAHOE: That being the case I would ask the Minister of Economic Renewal to tell us why it is that he did, in fact, say publicly that certain parts of certain departments had been identified, why did he do that?

MR. BRAGG: Well, Mr. Speaker, we have identified any number of areas where we could implement some of our policy changes. Yes, some of them have been looked at but they have not gone through the process, they have been not approved, that is why we have not identified them. Once we go through the process, they will be identified and you will be one of the first to know.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Community Services. Earlier this week the government honoured, most appropriately, 18 individuals in organizations for their outstanding community service to Nova Scotians. One of the worthy recipients of a Community Service Award was Marilyn Worth coordinator of the Community Links Project and she was recognized for her outstanding work with seniors in organizing programs and services in the province initially in six communities and expanding that to an unbelievable total of 200 small towns and villages across the province over the last couple of years.

My question to the Minister of Community Services is simply this, was the minister or were the minister and the Premier aware when they presented this deserving Community Service Award that the Community Links Project was in the final death throes, in fact had already, for all intents and purposes, been forced to fold up because every single government department approached had refused resources to enable the Community Links Project to continue its excellent work among seniors across the province?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as all members would know, as they had been circulated, I think on November 1st, for nominations for this prestigious award in community services, it is my understanding that those recipients, and there were many who were most worthy of recognition, that there was no one particular project that was highlighting their career. I know in the particular instance that the member brings to the floor, certainly this woman has been well-known in the Dartmouth community and very active in many areas, in education and in many other areas of the community.

So whether there was a proper write-up, if that is what the honourable member is questioning, in the biography of this particular person, maybe that could be questioned but certainly she has broad experience and a broad base in the community.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer has absolutely nothing to do with the question. My question is, how could the government be so hypocritical as to give the deserving Community Services Award to Marilyn Worth and the Community Links Project, when they had refused any funding to allow that exceptionally important program to continue, a program I might say that is absolutely critical to the kind of health reform program and supposed community development commitment that this province has made to seniors across this province?

Did the minister know that was my question, that this project had gasped its last breath and was going out of existence, while they were engaging in an exercise of celebrating the project?

MR. SPEAKER: All right. Now unfortunately, the question was obscured by the editorial that followed but the honourable Minister of Community Services may respond.

DR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I repeat, this award is to an individual, it is not an award to Community Links that has other supports within the community and certainly, I am sure, has done great work. But I repeat, this award is to an individual and I don't know what the issue is that this honourable member is bringing. If she has a particular problem with programs of government, fine. But why is she linking it with an individual, a woman who has given much of her life to the community? This, in some way, sort of makes that less worthy and that concerns me.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, let me be perfectly clear, what the issue is, is the refusal of this government to provide any funding whatsoever to the Community Links Project. Let me be even more pointed. Will the Minister of Community Services give this project, and the coordinator who has given such outstanding service, the true recognition that it deserves, by making a commitment here today that this government will give some ongoing funding for this very important program to seniors in 200 small towns and villages across the province?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, this government is totally committed to programs of seniors and will continue to do so. Those people who brought these names forward and the process within the Department of Community Services are not determining the funding projects and policies of government. This is an award of recognition for an individual.

Again I say, why does she want to cast aspersions and detract from this great, prestigious award that is a tradition in this House and within this province?

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Kings North.


MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: My question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. Last winter, the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency signed a $1.5 million tourism and trade agreement with KLM Airlines to develop and expand their cooperative working relationship with a focus on long-term tourism, marketing and trade activities. This agreement will expire at the end of March, 1995.

My question is, how many people or companies have taken advantage of this program and how much of the $1.5 million has been spent or allocated, due to the people who have travelled?

[12:45 p.m.]

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I just don't happen to have those details in my back pocket today. But I will undertake to this House that I will get that information and make it available very soon.

Our belief is the KLM accord has been very helpful. It has helped increase tourism from Europe in dramatic style. It has helped offer trade opportunities with companies that want to do business in Europe.

MR. ARCHIBALD: When you get the information - I think it shows about 30 tickets, but I am not sure - would you table it in the House or should I ask you another question about it.

My second question is, a Nova Scotia manufacturing company requested marketing assistance under this KLM agreement to go to Japan to do some marketing at a trade show. There was a delegation of Japanese business leaders in Nova Scotia that he met with and they offered to put him up at a trade show at the Japanese Government's expense. This gentleman applied for his company to go to Japan under the KLM agreement and it was after a wait of some two and one-half weeks, department officials from the Economic Renewal Agency indicated that Japan was not within the agreement. If that is true, then could the minister tell me why it took two and one-half weeks for them to decide that Japan was not included in the agreement?

MR. BRAGG: Well, Mr. Speaker, first let me say that the honourable member said when he asked his first question, that this was a marketing accord to help access the European market. Now, my geography is not really good but I don't think Japan is in Europe.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not yet.

MR. BRAGG: Not yet. The second point is, I don't know the details that the honourable member is asking about, but if he provided me with the information, I am sure that I can get him the answers that he wants.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I wholeheartedly agree with the minister, Japan is not in Europe. There is a great long list of countries that - it was an agreement with KLM - indicated locations to which KLM flew, and KLM does land in Osaka, Japan. The KLM people indicated that, yes, they would be delighted to take part in this joint venture between the Nova Scotia company and the Government of Nova Scotia and KLM to put this person in Japan. But the real question was, why if Japan wasn't included did it take them two and one-half weeks to figure that out, Mr. Speaker? Why could his department not know that Japan didn't qualify if, in fact, they are listed in the group under the category of Other Destinations?

MR. BRAGG: If the member opposite would like to perhaps share with me some more information on this individual or company or what the problem is, I would be delighted to try to help them get to the bottom of this problem. I don't know the details of when the application came in, how long it took or anything else. As I said earlier, I will look into it if he gets me more specific information about the company name and the individuals and so on, so that we can make sure that we are dealing with the facts.

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Natural Resources. The minister is aware, as I am and thousands of other Nova Scotians, of the tremendous impact that will be placed upon them with the termination of the present federal-provincial forestry agreement, which is set to expire on March 30th of next year. The minister and I have discussed, in fact, the minister has shown me on paper the serious consequences that will result without any deal, consequences like the Middle Musquodoboit education complex being in jeopardy. He suggested that the Canadian Forest Service office in Truro would possibly close, in fact, most likely close, and that would leave us without a representative on the national scene, so to speak.

I wonder if the minister could tell me and Nova Scotians if the federal Liberal Government still refuses to budge on forestry negotiations with this province?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the issue of whether to negotiate or not is predicated on the fact that the federal government have not made a decision as to whether or not there will be allocations of funding in place to allow them to proceed with a negotiated process. We are still waiting to hear whether or not the federal government in their wisdom will be to secure any additional allocation of funding for Round 6 to forestry and mining and agriculture and other subagreements.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister is aware, and thousands of Nova Scotians are aware, that the termination of that present agreement will be felt in a lot of small communities. He recently pointed out in notes to me, in fact, that the federal government recently approved an extension to a forestry development agreement in eastern Quebec and that the program, like ours, was primarily focused on woodland development. I think it is great that Quebec was able to secure such an agreement.

I wonder if the minister can tell us if, in fact, he is looking at that agreement, the specifics of that agreement and if he sees it fitting, will he try to secure a similar type of agreement for this province?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite understands all too well what we have done. In fact, he is quoting from letters that I have written to virtually all the Nova Scotian Members of Parliament last week in regard to this issue. He is basically quoting from the letter that I prepared in regard to some rationale as to why we should be pursuing an agreement for the Province of Nova Scotia, allowing our Members of Parliament to have information to pursue the debate among their caucus members and whatever other vehicles they can choose to point out the seriousness and the importance of this issue.

The member opposite wants to continue to reiterate the information that I have already presented to him last week. In a sense of cooperation and working together in a partnership arrangement here to make sure that the federal government realizes that Nova Scotia is working as a total industry here, politics aside, to try to make sure that the people who are making the decision realize the importance of the subagreement to Nova Scotia. I assume that he is not posing his questions for any other reason but to show support for the efforts that I have made on behalf of our government to make sure that Round 6 is going to be secured or could be secured for Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. TAYLOR: I certainly thank the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: Loquacious.

MR. TAYLOR: Loquacious, yes. I thank the minister for his response and I hope, Mr. Speaker, that he does not doubt my sincerity. I do not doubt his sincerity and different times I question as to whether or not, in fact, he does doubt mine. I am alarmed, and I am sure that minister is alarmed, and thousands of Nova Scotians are alarmed that we may not have a forestry agreement come March 30, 1995. I simply ask the minister, very clearly, when does the minister intend to talk next with the federal Minister of Natural Resources and the federal Minister of Public Works, who also happens to be responsible for Nova Scotia in relation to a new forestry agreement?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated to this House and to the people of Nova Scotia many times over, I have had in excess of seven meetings with the federal minister on this issue and related issues. I have talked to the Members of Parliament, to Mr. Manley, I have talked to Mr. Dingwall on a couple of occasions on this matter. I have certainly made it very clear to these people that this is a very serious issue facing the Province of Nova Scotia and we will continue to have the very open dialogue that we have had with our federal counterparts as well as our counterparts in the Province of Nova Scotia, Members of Parliament representing this great province, and we will continue to stress upon them, as we have in the past, this is a very serious critical issue.

I might add that we have had other colleagues in this House who have also brought this issue forward. Obviously the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has brought this concern forward to the appropriate ministers as well as our Premier has brought this issue forward to the Prime Minister of Canada. Now we will continue to be as tenacious on this issue as we have been and we realize the importance this plays to the Province of Nova Scotia and I want to make sure that people realize that we will not be resting on our laurels on this issue. We are going to fight this issue as hard as we can. The issue is not in the provincial Legislature. The issue is fighting on the Hill to secure the funding. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, again I go to the Minister of Natural Resources. I think there is a saying that goes something like, blessed is he who having nothing to say refrains from giving wordy evidence of the fact. (Interruptions) Now the provincial Minister of Forestry in Quebec did go and secure a forestry agreement. I am asking the minister one last question, does he think it would be worthwhile to go and sit down, at the very least, with the Minister of Forestry from Quebec and see how he was able to secure an agreement?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: I would appreciate it if the member opposite would table, to this House and to myself, the new forestry agreement, as he is alluding to. I don't know the scope and the time he is talking about. What I am understanding is that there has been an extension, as was an extension given to New Brunswick, as were extensions given, maybe, in other jurisdictions, because our program has not run out yet. The reality is, their program ran out, ours does not run out until March 31st.

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty hard to ask for an extension to a program that has not even been completed. The reality is that we have done and will continue to do all we can possibly do to secure this funding for the Province of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. It is quite obvious, again, just by looking at the call for the expressions of interest, that the cost considerations were not even considered in the Phase I section of the competition, that being the section where the minister's department eliminated all but two.

I want to ask the minister, very specifically, how many of those who showed an expression of interest, or submitted an expression of interest, received an interview and who, specifically, did the interviewing of those who provided the expressions of interest? How many were interviewed and who did the interviewing?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I think, as it has been explained, there were two individuals who were requested in Phase II to give back a much more complete, much more detailed work plan overview of how they would go forward with the amalgamation. Both of those individuals that had submitted that work plan back were reviewed and a decision was made on that basis.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, in other words, the minister's answer is that nobody was interviewed before the short listing was done. So, all of those who were disqualified were not interviewed.

My second question then, we got the answer from the minister in the first one, to the minister is quite simply this. We know that in the Cape Breton amalgamation it is going to cost at least $1 million and that is going to be paid by the taxpayers in Cape Breton, in the municipalities that are being affected. How much does the minister and her government estimate the job of the co-ordinator and the different related costs are going to be for the metro amalgamation and who is going to pay those costs? Is it going to be the province, or is it going to be the local property taxpayers?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am really not sure what the honourable member is referring to $1 million about. I am not really sure in what context he puts that on the table. But I will deal with his comment with regard to the co-ordinator. The co-ordinator in Cape Breton, we have Mr. Charles Campbell as the individual that is there. We had set up a fund, a maximum, that we would go to in putting that together. We, also, in the metropolitan area, have set up a fund, a maximum of which we will go to to ensure the co-ordinator can do that job and, as has been stated, that maximum is $225,000. Of that $225,000 maximum that we have established in the department, the co-ordinator, Mr. Hayward, has provided a proposal that he could use up to a maximum of $177,000. It may not be that amount, but that certainly is the maximum that he has quoted to us.

MR. HOLM: By her non-answer, the minister really has answered, Mr. Speaker. We know in Cape Breton that there are not only the costs for the actual co-ordinator, but there are all the related costs and the fact that the co-ordinator can borrow money and that the new municipalities and taxpayers are going to be forced to pay that and that is, obviously, the plan here in metro.

My last question, then, to the minister is quite simply this - she will know that the metropolitan area mayors have suggested and have said that they are interested in doing a joint study, a study that would certainly be more cost-effective, it would eliminate duplication and, Mr. Speaker, it would build in a spirit of cooperation - has she approached the four metro mayors and invited them to be an actual part, not just being supposedly consulted, but an actual participant in this study so that the costs can be reduced and the cooperation can be enhanced? Has she invited them to become equal partners then in the assessment process?

[1:00 p.m.]

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to say that I was able to speak to all four mayors yesterday prior to the announcement of the co-ordinator. All four mayors are meeting with myself and the co-ordinator next week to get things going to move forward to get the amalgamation job completed. So I think there will be a lot of opportunities for not only the mayors and other elected officials but the public to be involved in this process. It is a process that will be quite time consuming. I also would recognize, as I am sure the honourable member knows, that the four mayors are hiring an individual for approximately $250,000, among themselves, who will do a 12 week project to do with the numbers issues only. Certainly, as I have told the mayors already and I think as I have been reported in the press on some occasions, that we welcome that information, we welcome that material that can be used by both the co-ordinator and the four metro mayors.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.


MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. In announcing the Nova Scotia Works Program, the minister listed six counties as being the recipients of that program and he produced a map for the benefit of members and others, detailing by letter the relative unemployment rates. These are make work jobs, they are not permanent jobs. I was wondering if the minister could tell the House why it is that Amherst is in a B category on the map, that is unemployment between 13 per cent and 17 per cent, why he would transfer permanent jobs to Amherst and yet in the counties where the unemployment is highest he has developed a make work program?

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, we now have another member of the Opposition that is against job creation in Nova Scotia. We came up with a works problem to help create some jobs, yes, albeit some of them will be short-terms jobs in some of the worst areas. The announcement of what we are trying to do as part of a government policy in Amherst is separate and above from that and there may be other things happening within this government and when they happen, we will be sure to let you know.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I suppose what I would like to know is why the move to Amherst? Is it because of the closure of the School for the Deaf, is it because they have high unemployment, or is it because it happens to lie in Cumberland County? However, my specific question to the minister is will he consider moving a government department to a town or to another part of this province every time that there is a closure within a county?

MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, I don't understand the members opposite. They should be standing and applauding efforts this government makes to put jobs and create jobs all over this province. Instead they have chosen to be political and try to condemn it and be against it. Well, we are not against jobs and we will make sure the people in Cumberland County know you are against jobs up there. (Applause)

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am not against jobs in Cumberland County. I am for jobs within the Province of Nova Scotia. Would the minister confirm that one of the departments that are being considered for removal to Amherst is the Department of Tourism?

MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, I won't confirm that. As we said, there is a process we will go through and once we go through the process we will make sure that they are the first to know. I wonder if we had made an announcement yesterday in Windsor or in Hantsport or some place else if the members opposite would be saying the same thing. They are playing politics with a very important policy of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.


MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The government has spent $1 million dollars thus far in departmental audits by consulting firms and changes recommended for the Economic Renewal Agency have yet to be made. The Minister of Education has indicated that 20 per cent of the recommendations respecting his department will not be used and the other 80 per cent apparently were identified, even in advance of the audit.

I want to know, as does Mr. S. Grenier of Dartmouth, why is the government using hard earned taxpayers' dollars, so that firms can be hired to do audits, when it appears that several departments are not going to utilize the recommendations encompassed within those audits?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have that question - and I will table this tomorrow - the province has spent $967,915 and the province has saved $13.5 million in the first year (Applause) in Transportation, in Economic Renewal, Education and Supply and Services. I think that is a pretty reasonable return on the dollars spent. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Finance. The minister may recall that in the spring session of this Legislative Assembly, I tabled a petition with approximately 200 names, protesting the tax which is required to be paid on used vehicles, if they are purchased by private sale or through private means. I have also, on at least two different occasions, raised this issue with this minister. I would like to know, as do Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Deale of Middle Musquodoboit, why it is necessary to have appraisals done and pay more tax than did the previous owner, when these vehicles have not been upgraded and the previous purchase price and tax paid are in the files of the Registry of Motor Vehicles?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, tax payable is based on fair market value. What somebody may have paid for it in a previous transaction, who knows whether that was arm's length or whatever, but the tax is payable on fair market value.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, Mr. Speaker, if a person does purchase a used vehicle through a dealer, they are exempted from this appraisal process, so to speak. But yet if you buy a used vehicle through private sale, you are subjected to the appraisal process. This can be a costly process.

I wonder if the minister - to me it looks as if we have a different set of rules here, one for the private seller and one for the dealer - I wonder if the minister feels just a little bit, even minutely, that there is a double standard here, if it can be perceived to be that way? Perception is something, it is about 90 per cent of it.

MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, of course in a private sale there is no requirement to get an appraisal, unless you want to challenge the value that has been assigned. In fact, on occasion I am sure that would put someone to some difficulty and some expense. We have tried, in our department, to ensure that there are opportunities to have such appraisals done at a very reasonable cost. If, in fact, there are areas of the province where that is not available, I would certainly appreciate information to that effect.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health, through you, of course, with your permission. My question is in relation to the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital. People were very upset recently when the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital was not chosen as the location as the Environmental Clinic's permanent home. The reasons given, according to the media reports that we received in the Valley, were the fact that the ventilation system was not adequate, the fact that Wolfville is the middle of an agricultural zone and, therefore, unhealthy and, as well, the roof leaks.

Now could the minister explain to the concerned citizens who have telephoned me if this was their criteria for rejecting the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital as the permanent site for the province's Environmental Clinic?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the committee set up by the medical school to seek a site for the clinic considered geography and all of those aspects. Certainly part of this was clinical considerations and they did their best to select a site that was in keeping with the requirements of that particular field of medicine.

MR. ARCHIBALD: With that answer in mind, would the minister please table, so I can circulate to the people in the community, the criteria that were used for choosing Fall River over Wolfville because the people in Wolfville really thought that the environmental clinic was going there. So could you forward or table in this House the criteria for choosing Fall River over Wolfville?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I will be happy to request documentation of the Dean of Medicine, yes.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you and through you, Mr. Speaker, to the honourable Minister of Health, the people in the areas that are serviced by the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital are, as you know, most dedicated to the hospital. Over the years they have made financial contributions, they have been volunteers, and it serves the area all the way from Scotts Bay right through to the Wolfville area so a great many patients do live in the constituency that I have the pleasure to represent. Could the minister tell me whether he has any other programs that possibly could be shifted to the EKM Hospital facility so that there will be a future use for the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital in the health care field?

DR. STEWART: As I would trust the honourable gentleman opposite knows, the local community is working very diligently to provide for the health care needs of that area and particularly in respect to the coverage area of Eastern Kings formerly Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital. I am sure the honourable gentleman appreciates the hard work that the community is doing there.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.


MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Health and the minister will remember that yesterday in the House I asked him about why the Nova Scotia Physician Resource Advisory Committee has not been meeting. A committee that was struck by the minister last April to deal with the urgent issues of physicians human resource supply distribution and training and the minister caused quite an uproar with his answer, frankly, that the committee had not been meeting because of the fact that the fee negotiations with the doctors had broken down. I guess I am now beginning to understand a little better what is meant by suggesting that this minister has a bad case of health reform constipation because it is my understanding that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: That seems in poor taste in my view, very poor taste.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, it is a great cause of concern and a very major health issue we are talking about here and it seems to me the analogy is not altogether inept. But my question to the minister, how can he give the explanation that the breakdown in fee negotiations is the reason why this critically important committee struck last April and to which many people have been appointed upon request from the minister, has never had a single, solitary meeting?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I correct the honourable member opposite that I did not use the term fee breakdown or fee negotiating breakdown. I said that there were considerations being discussed with the Medical Society which impinged very much on the resource element and we had to be very careful in our sense of negotiations in respect to the work of this committee. The work of this committee will be very important and the human resource management of physician resources in the province and I pay tribute to that, as she did herself, yesterday, in this place.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health would know better than any other single person of the critical nature of this committee because it came out of the ministerial Task Force on Physician Policy Development. It was a very important, I think it is fair to say, key recommendation of that task force. It also called for the official disbandment of the existing physician human resource planning group and yet, these issues have been in limbo ever since. If the minister is shaking his head to indicate that my concern is ill-founded, can the minister advise this House and advise Nova Scotians when and where this all important committee struck last April has ever met on a single occasion?

DR. STEWART: No, as I informed the honourable member opposite yesterday, this committee has been formed. It was formed at approximately the same time as the Blueprint Committee was meeting and did not yet report. The work of this committee must be folded into the work of the Blueprint Committee. The Blueprint Committee certainly made recommendations on the reform of the health care system.

The work of this committee, that is the human resource and redeployment of physicians in the province has to be folded in with that, as well as the negotiations carried on over the summer. We are now well along in that process and the honourable member opposite, with all honourable members, will see this folded into the plan as we go along.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: There is half a minute left. The honourable member for Halifax Fairview for a short snapper.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister could explain how you can fold the workings of a committee into other plans, when the committee has never even met and begun to consider the issues at stake. Can the minister indicate what is going to be done about the fact that Nova Scotia is the only province that can't even fully and meaningfully participate in the Atlantic Resource Group that is dealing with similar issues because there is no committee?

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if we could revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Department of Natural Resources for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1993.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[1:17 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O'Malley in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The draw this afternoon was won by the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party, who has designated the honourable member for Halifax Fairview to take his place in the debate, whom I now recognize. The topic is:

Therefore be it resolved that mental health services for children and adolescents are woefully inadequate and need urgent attention in Cape Breton and on the mainland.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.


MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to launch a brief debate here this evening about the desperate need for improvement in mental health services right across the Province of Nova Scotia as they exist to serve the needs of children and adolescents.

Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I decided to submit this topic for late debate today because yesterday we had a couple of exchanges here during Question Period, myself as Health Critic for the New Democratic Party and the Minister of Health, around the very tragic situation that developed in Cape Breton last week with the horrifying suicide deaths of two teenagers and a very clear and alarming evidence of emotional distress and, in at least one case, a suicide threat among close friends of those two teenagers who committed suicide.

I must say, Mr. Speaker, that I feel very concerned about the families of the children who lost their lives so tragically, as well as the families and the entire support network of friends and relatives of those teenagers who remain behind very traumatized and clearly very upset. I just want to say this at the outset, that I am sure that for those people, in particular, it must be a somewhat shocking thing to see a sort of swirl of publicity happening around the issues of children and adolescent health services during a time of terrible trauma and distress and grieving. I am sure that it must cause some people even more pain to realize that their very private suffering has become somewhat the topic of public concern as well.

I have to say for that reason, Mr. Speaker, that I was particularly struck by the courage of one of the family members of one of those teenagers who chose to speak out publicly and really plead for there to be attention brought to the inadequacy of the existing services. I think thereby adding his voice, and the voices of all of those who were so tragically affected, to the many voices that have been raised, not just in recent days or weeks or even months but over a number of years, about this very inadequate mental health services system that exists for children and adolescents in Cape Breton, in particular - and certainly in this instance the focus is on Cape Breton - but really across the Province of Nova Scotia. So, I speak with sensitivity about the circumstances of those families, but also raise the matter for a public policy debate in the spirit of those family members who, themselves, have spoken out in the aftermath of this tragedy to plead for attention to the needs of children and youth for an adequate system of comprehensive mental health services.

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that we have a completely inadequate system of mental health services for children and youth in this province. One of the background papers to the Blueprint exercise, carefully spelled out in the mental health component background paper, dated April 1994, not just identifying a number of policy issues relating to mental health services for children and adolescents but actually outlining in graphic detail, and unfortunately at some considerable length, because that is what we are dealing with is a lengthy list of problems, a summary of the many barriers that exist, in varying degrees, with respect to children's and adolescent mental health services.

That list is literally, in its summary form, a full page in length and I am going to table that document, Mr. Speaker. It is part of the background research that was done for the blueprint planning exercise, but the background papers are not necessarily as well-known to people and should be accessed by people that have an interest in these topics.

I am not going to read from it in full, by any means, but it identifies what really is known and understood by those who are involved directly in the field of struggling to provide services to children and their families, but also known to those families who have had the horrifying experience of facing long waiting lists when they have had very urgent concerns that they wanted to see addressed. It acknowledges that far too many of the services that do exist are fragmented or disjointed. There, just simply, is not the kind of comprehensive, co-ordinated approach that is needed.

But underlying all of that, Mr. Speaker, is the desperate need for us to shift to a much more preventive approach to the mental health needs of children and adolescents in our society. That is why, not to try to give the minister, or certainly not to give his officials a hard time, but to try to say that when these tragedies are so much in the forefront, it surely has to force a response to this situation to recognize that these needs have been understood for a long time; there has been a lot of talking.

There has been, just in the instance of Cape Breton alone, report after report that has been submitted over the years, documenting the need for some small number, and nobody would argue that we need a lot of hospital beds, we are going in the wrong direction, for sure, but we do need some small number of beds designated in a couple of regions of the province, other than just in metro, where children in acute circumstances, where there is severe threat of suicide or homicidal tendencies, severe aggressive acting-out behaviour, that children can go for assessment and, where necessary, active treatment in such crisis circumstances.

To say that the Nova Scotia Hospital will meet the requirements is just not good enough. Anybody who works at the N.S. Hospital will tell you that and anybody that works with children and youth. It is obvious, you cannot rip people out of their own communities, send them half-way across the province, removed from their family, removed from their natural surroundings, removed from their support systems, removed from the network of services on which they will need to depend and expect that those children are somehow going to emerge from that experience better off. I think, in many cases, what is well-known is that children end up worse off when that is the only resource available to them.

So I just want, again, to plead with the minister to seize the opportunity - if I dare to use that word and risk being misunderstand - but to seize the situation that has presented itself to ensure that there is a positive response to the pleas for there being the designation of appropriate in-hospital beds for children in acute circumstances but, most importantly, that there be a positive response to the truly excellent planning process that has gone on through the children and adolescent working group in Cape Breton, to name one, and I know there are other similar groups in other parts of the province trying to address these concerns.

A couple of excellent proposals have been submitted that do observe the principles of the community-based preventive model, that recognize that when you are dealing with youth that you have got to be prepared to deal with the issue of sexuality and pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. You have got to deal with the reality of substance abuse. You have got to deal with the fact that many of these young people are struggling, not only with desperately deteriorating economic circumstances in their families, but all of the ugly problems of family violence, sexual abuse and so on that all too often accompany the disintegration of family and community that is happening.

I hope that the minister will respond with the recognition that these people have been working hard to try to bring these problems to light. I have to say that I don't mind the minister taking a swipe at me in the House, and I guess he does not either, if we can get the job done but, when the minister tries to characterize my plea that the criminally inadequate services be addressed, for him to suggest that what I am doing - and he said this - I am characterizing . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Time has expired, please.

MS. MCDONOUGH: . . . the hard work of the professionals in the field as criminally inadequate, I think we have to set that aside and recognize that that is not the real issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Halifax Fairview for bringing this very important and distressing topic to the attention of the House.

It is a very sad day for this province when we see 15-year-olds, just beginning their adult lives, ending that precious life with their own hands. It is hard to imagine the grief of the community, of the fellow students and, most especially, of the parents and siblings.

There are some very serious and weighty issues thrown on the shoulders of our youth today, from the frightening threats and changes to our environment to the situation in our education system, and not the least their job prospects.

I don't know if anyone can ever piece together all the reasons for a suicide but suffice to say, the situation is extremely tragic. In Westmount, in Cape Breton, we have two friends within a month taking their own lives. The words of the father of one child said, the one wish he had was not to go to the funeral of another child, another classmate or another friend. It must be so hard for several other teens, who are so despondent, that they were sent to the only psychiatric facility on the island for counselling. Other parents were holding suicide watches over their children, because of their children's behaviour.

While it appears that the school board has been doing what it could, following both incidents, within the walls of the Westmount school, the situation still leaves many Nova Scotians asking the question that the father of the second boy who died asked himself when he discovered his son, that is, where did I go wrong? What didn't I do?

These are tough questions to ask after the fact and even tougher to answer. So, as Mr. Tomie has so bravely done, we must ask ourselves, what can we do to prevent this from happening again. In fact, this father is recognizing so early in his grief that silence is one of the most devastating factors in these cases. He not only has spoken out in the media but is also planning to speak to the children at the school. He is so right, silence is a big factor in so many ways; silence on mental health within communities, silence between our society's youth and adults, silence from government on solutions.

I was at least pleased on one account, that the minister had said in this House yesterday that he had met with the parents of the two children who had committed suicide. This is, as the minister so rightly pointed out yesterday, a very serious issue and must be treated directly, immediately and with a planned direction.

Although we might not know the reason behind these two suicides, there is a trend with what has been termed, Generation X, our youth today, that tends to elicit one word, hopelessness. I can think of no sadder thought than a whole generation approaching their adulthood with a sense of hopelessness. We have decided their future by not ensuring that it can and would be a bright one.

I must say that in our province, as we await and watch the monthly figures emerge on jobs and unemployment, there is no region with so severe a problem in the area of unemployment as our Island of Cape Breton. In this light, we must recognize there are many factors surrounding the issue of these young people's death, and mental health in general. There are several socio-economic factors and, thus, government departments and community organizations which must be involved in the solution. The minister hinted at such when he mentioned yesterday that a joint plan by the Education, Justice, Health and Community Services Departments would result in a pilot outreach program in the new year. However, as my honourable colleague, the member for Halifax Fairview indicated the Health Department must immediately and effectively address the distress with the Island losing its two child psychiatrists in 1995.

[6:15 p.m.]

I asked in Question Period the other day about the minister's plan on physician resources and this is certainly a large factor in the solution of this problem. The other, as has been pointed out by the community in their pleas for help is the fact that in the Island's only psychiatric facility, in Sydney River, there are no beds set aside just for children and adolescents. This is a real problem and became very apparent only after these tragedies had come to light and there was a very well-publicized event focusing on this very serious deficiency.

I was dismayed at the Minister of Health's initial reaction to answer that need, send some people from Halifax to deal with the community on-site. I can think of many well-qualified people, academically, who would simply not be able to jump into that Cape Breton community and be able to respond not knowing the area and many of the difficulties within the community.

Government does have many problems facing it today, and this is but one, so it simply cannot through money and resources haphazardly try to address this. It must, however, go to the resources that are and have been available, resources like the well-researched report from the Working Group on Mental Health.

In this, there are many fundamentals pointed out which must be addressed so that Nova Scotia has preventive resources in place in relation to our mental health services. These must not, as we are all aware, be institutionally-based. There are many players who must be involved. And, as the report pointed out, that while government has limited financial resources, it believes that by, "putting into place the key directions and initiatives we have recommended will eventually result in reduced need for in-patient and out-patient services.".

Outreach services, treatment and education should be available in the home, the school and the work place, and volunteers with special skills and qualities must be encouraged to play an expanded role in the future of mental health in Nova Scotia.

The working group pointed out that children should be a special focus in mental health promotion, so problems can be dealt with before they become more serious. A Cape Breton Post editorial pointed out that "perhaps with more aggressive attention to the mental health needs of young people, their self-imposed barriers could be lowered. Teenagers who are cut off from help by their own mistaken belief that the adult world can never understand them are denied access to professional help as surely as if the professionals were not available at all.".

Mr. Tomie had asked his son if he needed any of the counselling provided after his friend's death and he assured his father he would never do such a thing himself. I hope, with the immediate, but thoughtful, direction of this minister we can see an approach that will help other youths, and adults, facing what they feel are insurmountable obstacles and futures. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place to add my comments to the very reasoned and pertinent and heartfelt comments of the honourable members opposite brought about by the recent tragedies in Cape Breton and brought about by our having raised the issues, particularly the honourable members of the Opposition in the last several days.

I particularly want to thank the honourable member for Halifax Fairview for raising this issue tonight and for offering me the opportunity to express to her my disappointment and my apology for the reaction in her comment to me the other day, which was misunderstood and in the sensitivity of the moment was indeed reacted on by me in an unseemly way.

This is an issue that transcends Party stripe, it transcends across the aisle, it affects us all and certainly in the conversations that I had with each of the families of the people, both in the hospital over the weekend and also with the father of one of the boys who died, it emphasized to me that we are indeed one family in a sense. This is the Year of the Family and these tragedies are, of course, in that sense all the more striking to us. So, I compliment and thank my honourable colleagues opposite for the reasoned and high plane of this debate.

Unfortunately, it often takes tragedy to bring to the attention of the public, to the attention of government certainly and of ministries and of honourable members, the issue surrounding very important elements of our health care system and, indeed, very important elements of our social fabric. We sometimes can get caught up in the rhetoric of the time, particularly of the debates we have in this place, and very often we perhaps obscure some of the real issues behind the rhetoric.

In bringing this to the attention of the House this evening in the debate, the honourable member opposite and my colleague, the member for Pictou Centre, do a great service in pointing out the fact that we have a great deal to do in respect to adolescent and child mental health services in this province, indeed in Cape Breton as well.

I want to pay tribute to the work done on the ground at the moment, as we speak, by the child and adolescent mental health services in Cape Breton. I have met many of them, I have spoken with many of them, I have certainly seen their work and have been for approximately 10 months now working towards some of the outreach projects which, in my own community particularly of the Northside, would be a welcome addition to health care services.

Currently in Cape Breton we suffer the gaps that are suffered around this country, around this province, in terms of personnel assigned to child and adolescent services. There are only 350 qualified child psychiatrists in Canada, a ratio of 1 to 80,000, I am told. In Cape Breton at the moment, at least, we have a ratio of 1 to 50,000, three child psychiatrists at the moment and we are currently interviewing actively to add to that total or indeed to replace those who might leave. They have 8,000 child and family consultations per year, they have over 1,000 ongoing clients. These are statistics and figures, and we can say that we spend $6 million in Cape Breton on mental health services for adults and children and so on, but these statistics pale in light of the tragedies that we have had over the past month on the Island of Cape Breton.

Certainly, the honourable member for Pictou Centre puts it well when he outlines some of the difficulties of identification of those at risk in society, particularly the youth. Very often adolescent suicide strikes as a bolt from the blue without any warning. Certainly, we know much less than we would like to know about this disease.

We have seen in the last week, and the last several weeks in Cape Breton, the flexibility of response to a tragedy. Just less than five weeks ago there was a special effort in that community in child and mental health services for stress debriefing, a special course was conducted just before the first suicide and people who were there were prepared to do their part. I want to pay tribute to the parents who have, of course, suffered greatly and yet have borne up in all of this as the honourable members both have alluded to.

Certainly, I can say we spend x amount of money, we have x amount of personnel on the ground, we have $37 per capita spent in Cape Breton, $32 per capita in the rest of the province. These are statistics that pale again in consideration of the tragedies. But we do have hope for the future, Mr. Speaker. I would say that the debate this evening, the desire of all honourable members to do better, the desire of the reform process to add to the services, particularly in out-patient treatments, all bodes well for the future. The opening of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital with the flexibility of the mental health unit built into it, certainly bodes well for the future in terms of facility.

As the honourable member for Halifax Fairview has said, we must not hang our hats, if I could paraphrase, on in-hospital facilities but it must be much broader than that. We must have prevention programs, out-patient, outreach of youth services, dealing with the problems of youth; teenage pregnancies, the problems of sexually transmitted diseases, the problems of youth in turmoil, the problems of broken homes.

We have resolved, in my ministry, to take our place among the members of this House who have expressed their interest, who have expressed their concern, who have expressed their worries about child and adolescent health in Cape Breton and in this province in general. We have had, in our department, proposals for change in mental health services in terms of more outreach. The regional health board will be the vehicle through which this will take place, but even before they get up and operating, as we hope within the next year, we will begin to see change. We will see a new facility opened. We will see new programs of outreach, a youth program which some of the members of that medical and social community, and the community themselves have gotten together and have participated in forming. We will double our budget in Cape Breton this year, in terms of adolescent and child mental health services.

How will we double this budget? Where will the money come from? This is an example of how health reform will work in this province. We can get that money and redeploy those finances from the fact that the Cape Breton Regional will, through economies of scale, now be housed in one facility, one building, rather than three. We will take monies from that saving and we will double the budget. The Blueprint will be our guide. We will do well to heed their warnings in terms of the necessity of increasing our ability to do better in this regard.

Might I say in closing, Mr. Speaker, that the legacy left by these adolescents who so tragically died should be our pledge to work harder to provide improvement in the services that may allow children and adolescents to choose life, that we may enjoy them and their young lives to the enrichment of all of us. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Adjournment debate has expired.

The House will now revert to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O'Malley in the Chair.]

[7:59 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O'Malley in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, the House will sit between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. The order of business following the daily routine will be to continue the debate of Bill No. 114 in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

I move that we adjourn until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been made.

The House will now rise to sit again tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 8:00 p.m.]


Given on December 14, 1994

(Pursuant to Rule 30)


By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. James Barkhouse (Minister of Fisheries)

(1) I want to know, as does J. Jarvis of Weymouth, if you would consider a proposal to turn the now defunct military base at Cornwallis into a national DFO training depot for giving instruction to all Fisheries personnel working in Canada?


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)

(1) I want to know, as do Shirley and Ralph Murphy of Tangier, how they would go about paying their drug bill each month which is $535 per month and all this family receives is $844 monthly. This leaves them with only $309 a month. They do not feel this allows them for very much to live on. Do you have any answers?


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)

(1) I want to know, as does Mrs. A. Jennex of North Sydney, why, as a doctor, would you make it so hard for seniors to be able to access our health care system? She feels that not all seniors abuse these facilities.


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)

(1) I want to know, as does J. Nixon of Kingston, why are you and Dr. Savage so persistent in putting our health care system down the drain?


By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Jay Abbass (Minister of Labour)

(1) I want to know, as does E. Chapman, when will the Workers' Compensation Board start paying medical impairment benefits? Ms. Chapman lost an index finger and was advised she would get 5 per cent.


By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)

To: Hon. Jay Abbass (Minister of Labour)

(1) I want to know, as does M. Gibbons of Dartmouth and. C. Taylor of Lower Sackville, who was on the Halifax Harbour Cleanup Committee, what was their stipends, their expenses, their office costs, et cetera, and what is happening today - is there another study being undertaken?


By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. Wayne Gaudet (Minister of Agriculture)

(1) I want to know, as does N. Donovan of Kingston and N. Bird of Kings County, why the government is spending $40,000 on a consultant's study to determine if Nova Scotia should open its border to the importation of honeybees from continental North America; was this information not already available within the Department of Agriculture? What is the status of the study and when will a definite decision be made on this matter?