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January 6, 1995


Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Session

8:00 A.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mr. Gerald O'Malley

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will commence this morning's sitting at this time.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning on a point of privilege to strongly object to comments made by the Minister of Transportation during Question Period yesterday afternoon. I was asking the minister specific information on detailed road contracts in Richmond County and my own constituency, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. In response, the minister made a comment in this Legislature yesterday that was totally uncalled for and simply put, a comment for which the Minister of Transportation should be ashamed and he should make an immediate apology to the family of the late member for Colchester South. One only has to check Hansard to see the exact phrasing of the minister's remark. It is one thing to say something about a political colleague and somebody who is alive but it is another thing to make a comment about a political, highly respected member who has passed away.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister to apologize this morning to members of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, the minister may respond if he wishes but I want to make two observations on the claimed point of privilege. First of all, it does not qualify as a proper point of privilege because it does not conclude with a motion and secondly, that a point of privilege is to be raised at the first opportunity, that is immediately after or within reason after when it happens and not at the next day's sitting, but the honourable Minister of Transportation may reply.

The honourable Minister of Transportation.


HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member opposite is attempting to twist something and make something that was not intended in the context he is pretending. I had a great deal of respect for, like I think every other member of this House, and was a friend of the late Colin Stewart. My remarks yesterday were intended and aimed at the former practices of the Department of Transportation and for that I will make no apology for referencing those past practices.

MR. SPEAKER: I rule that there is no point of privilege.

We will now commence the daily routine.








MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


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

Whereas a recent Port Hawkesbury Scotia Sun editorial said, "The Savage Government has been limping since day one"; and

Whereas this same editorial said, "the government has created embarrassment after embarrassment, and while it has created work for provincial journalists has done little to create meaningful employment for those who need it the most"; and

Whereas the editorial offered the government a word of advice saying, "the one solution to end the embarrassments facing the government does not require a consultant to be hired by tender, that the solution can be found in the sea of election promises the government made during the 1993 election";

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his government begin offering responsible leadership that was promised in the spring of 1993 instead of the comedy of errors that Nova Scotians have been accustomed to on a daily basis.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice 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 on December 6, 1994 the federal government introduced Bill C-62, the Regulatory Efficiency Act, which would empower Cabinet Ministers to agree to compliance plans providing exemption from regulations of any person who seeks such a plan; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's new Environment Act is but the latest which presumes we can rely upon thorough and effective federal regulations to safeguard public health, safety and the environment; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's ban on negative option buying is this month providing the value of wise public regulations with universal application;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the federal government to heed widespread health, safety and environmental concerns by withdrawing Bill C-62.

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

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

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 Savage Liberals broke their 1993 no new taxes election promise by introducing $78 million in new tax hikes in their first provincial budget; and

Whereas the Liberal municipal service exchange is threatening to drastically increase property and commercial tax rates across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the federal Liberals are preparing the way for a huge tax grab this spring;

Therefore be it resolved that political leaders at all levels of government recognize that there is only one level of taxpayer, that the current tax burden is too high and that any new taxes will stifle economic growth and prosperity.

MR. SPEAKER: 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 approximately 50 physicians will leave Nova Scotia this year; and

Whereas this includes both family physicians and specialists; and

Whereas the ongoing dispute with the province is hurting the physician supply to the detriment of all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this Health Minister address the problems between his administration and its lack of movement on the proposals of the physician community before going south of the border becomes the only option for more physicians, especially specialists, who Nova Scotia cannot afford to lose.

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 in the short time since this government came to power, it has authorized various forms of financial assistance to M & M Manufacturing, totalling $6.5 million; and

Whereas M & M and the bankrupt predecessor companies also received significant support from the previous Conservative Government, with $14 million in total assistance and guarantees to M & M alone; and

Whereas the rocky history of this company should have resulted in considerable caution before more public assistance and guarantees led employees and suppliers into relying too heavily on M & M;

Therefore be it resolved that the Economic Renewal Minister should be less hasty in his assurances that taxpayers needn't worry about M & M's serious financial difficulties and more concerned about fulfilling his own Liberal Party's election promises to stop business giveaways.

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 last September, the Human Resources Minister directed that each department must undertake a plan to recruit and promote aboriginal, black, disabled and female job candidates, because those groups are under-represented and underpaid; and

Whereas Nova Scotians can read in this morning's paper that the Premier, ". . . reserves the right to use the affirmative action program . . "; and

Whereas the government's actions add up to affirmative action if necessary, but not necessarily affirmative action;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of distorting and abusing the goals of affirmative action for the crassest of partisan purposes to rationalize a plum patronage appointment, this government should make affirmative action a consideration in every hiring decision, because the majority of public employees suffer from job discrimination and ghettoization.

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 the House of Commons Committee on Natural Resources recently issued a report entitled, Canada: A model forestry nation in the making, affirming Canada's superpower status in forestry; and

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources said in this Legislature, on Thursday, December 15th, that it is pretty hard to ask Ottawa for an extension to an agreement if the present one has yet to expire; and

Whereas the governments of both Quebec and New Brunswick have had the foresight to seek extensions to their present forestry agreement;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources ask Ottawa for an extension to the current agreement instead of waiting until the present agreement expires and forest workers are put onto the unemployment lines. (Interruptions).

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 Premier, on December 23rd, publicly endorsed recommendations made by Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Alex MacIntosh, for changes to strengthen the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act; and

Whereas in his two recent conflict of interest rulings, Judge MacIntosh recommended an amendment to the existing legislation to define apparent conflict of interest, consistent with legislation currently in place in British Columbia; and

Whereas Bill No. 140 mirrors recommendations by Judge MacIntosh in his recent conflict of interest rulings;

Therefore be it resolved that rather than stalling for six months before introducing their own bill, the Liberal Government consider amendments, if necessary, to Bill No. 140.

MR. SPEAKER: Is Bill No. 140 on the order paper right now?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, it is.

MR. SPEAKER: I believe that resolution may attempt to debate a bill that is now listed on the order paper for second reading. I think the resolution to be out of order.

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 no name has been more frequently listed among the ministers due for demotion in the long-threatened Cabinet shuffle than that of the Economic Renewal Agency Minister; and

Whereas the minister's newest advertising campaign is headed, Nova Scotia - Room to Run; and

Whereas the Economic Renewal Agency Minister and his Liberal colleagues should know, by now, that they can run but they cannot hide;

Therefore be it resolved that the House urges the Economic Renewal Agency Minister and his colleagues to avoid the temptation of believing that they have room to run and hide from Nova Scotians who are suffering as a consequence of this Liberal Government's many foolhardy acts.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.


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

Whereas the International Motor Sports Association Incorporated, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harold J. Kelley, Jr. and Moosehead Grand Prix President, John Graham, announced yesterday that the Moosehead Grand Prix in Nova Scotia has been added to the 1995 IMSA schedule; and

Whereas the Moosehead Grand Prix slated for May 19th to 21st is the fourth of 13 stops on the 1995 International Motor Sports Association-EXXON World Sports Car Championship calendar; and

Whereas the Moosehead Grand Prix will run at CFB Shearwater with a new track, featuring three new straightaways, now 2.2 miles long, and a relocation of the pits to allow for better spectator viewing;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Moosehead Grand Prix President, John Graham, and CFB Shearwater as the site of this world-class event, and wish the participants every success.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[8:15 a.m.]


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

Whereas this Liberal Government promised a fundamental reorientation toward community economic development when they sought election; and

Whereas a community economic opportunity in Cape Breton requires urgent attention to help head off the purchase of CHER Radio by Fundy Cable, the out-of-province owner of its cross-town competitors who would shut down CHER and wipe out jobs; and

Whereas this harmful sale was conducted by Peat Marwick whose cancelled sale of Scotia Ropes to Louisiana interests should have been the last such blow against local control and local jobs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government and the CRTC to take urgent action to keep radio station CHER on the air and to foster the purchase of CHER by local interests who are ready and able to operate it successfully.

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 the Point Edward Women's Institute recently received from their local MLA, the Finance Minister, the provincial Community Services Award given in recognition of their used clothing depot and other efforts on behalf of needy families; and

Whereas the Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia have further demonstrated their commitment to Nova Scotians by opposing this government's headlong rush into casino gambling; and

Whereas the Point Edward Women's Institute may need to redouble their efforts on behalf of needy families if their MLA successfully imposes a casino to tap Cape Bretoners for another $37 million;

Therefore be it resolved that this House joins the Finance Minister in praising the Point Edward Women's Institute for their community-minded commitment and service.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

That completes the daily routine.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 115

Bill No. 115 - Environment Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move Bill No. 115 for third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity, as do all members, to move away for a few moments, at least, from the Committee of the Whole House on Bills consideration of the casino gambling bill that we have had before us and to talk about something which I believe overall is going to create positive change in Nova Scotia. I am referring to the Environment Act which the Minister of the Environment brought into this House many weeks ago and which we have debated through first and second reading and which has had a rather significant change made to it both in the Law Amendments Committee and in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills and which is before the House this morning for third and final reading.

I am pleased that the Government House Leader saw fit to move this bill up on his agenda. In the first week of the new year in which we find ourselves here, the date for this bill to come into effect is, in fact, January 1st. We are a few days beyond that but it is appropriate that we deal with this bill today at the end of the first week of the new year and get it proclaimed as law and get on with the job.

I also want to take this opportunity to commend the minister for going to a department as a new minister and rather than making the assumption that all that had transpired before under another government was necessarily bad, took the time to have a look at what had gone on there before and to take what he felt was worthwhile and to build on that to the point where he was able to put in place what I think was a pretty good public process and which resulted in a pretty good piece of legislation, the piece of legislation that we are discussing this morning. I think that that says a great deal about this minister.

I spent just a little over three years in that department, a very fine staff and a tremendous opportunity for any Nova Scotian to be able to be the minister of that department and I must say that I commend this minister for the way in which he has handled himself with respect to the Department of the Environment in the time that he has been there. We have heard a little bit from time to time about the possibility of Cabinet shuffles. One should never stand in the way of personal growth, but I have kind of a desire on my own part to see the Premier leave the minister there for a little longer. I don't think 18 months is quite long enough for a person to be in that portfolio to really be able to come to grips with it. I suspect the minister in his own mind senses that he is really just coming onstream with a full understanding of the full ambit of the department and it would be a shame to lose that knowledge and experience, now accumulated. But that is the choice that the Premier will have to make. The minister, like everyone in here, being a good soldier, will do as is required of him.

This bill replaces, I think it is 16 Acts. It is vitally important to the business community, the environmental community and the Nova Scotia community in general, that people be able to pick up the Environment Act and know that they have in their hand one Statute that covers all environmental law for Nova Scotia. It will not end but certainly significantly reduce confusion. It will cause people to be able to make better personal decisions; it will cause people to be able to make better business decisions and those are both very positive aspects of this legislation.

It also, although there has not been much discussion of this, results in the revision of the regulations which flow out of this bill, replacing the 16 Acts, and it is equally appropriate that the opportunity be taken to revise those regulations to make changes where changes are required; changes arising out of the experience that one has gleaned over that past few years when we went through quite a regulatory expansion in the Department of the Environment. That began long enough ago that we now know the impact of those regulations, know which ones are working and which ones aren't working quite so well and which need to be refined and, indeed, some which perhaps need to be dropped altogether.

I do think this bill moves us very much closer to achieving, by Statute, the linkage between the environment and the economy. That, after all, must be the main thrust of this bill. I do believe, and the minister knows this is my view, that the bill does fall short of achieving that in that I believe it would be a stronger bill with a clear and consistent set of principles at the very beginning of the bill upon which all of the other clauses of the bill were based. I am disappointed, too, that in putting the bill together that the business impact test, which is used by the Government of Canada and has been used very effectively, has not been included in the way in which the department and the government will take the measure of proposals that are made with respect to development here in the province.

I think, too, an example of where the bill doesn't quite come together is in that while it says many of the right things - it comes close, in fact, to saying all of the right things - it does not hook in, in a statutory way, the other departments of government with respect to their activities. The sentiment is there, but I don't get the feeling that the hook is there such that, for example, the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency becomes an agent of sustainable development in exactly the same way as the Minister of the Environment deems himself to be an agent of sustainable development.

These are things that I think will be changed as we learn to live with this Act and I would anticipate that we may see, at some future date in the not too far distant future, changes brought into the House by way of amendment which will reflect these shortcomings. No legislation is perfect, we all understand that, as we learn to live with it. As those imperfections are recognized, then it is timely for the minister, whoever that may be on that given day, to move further amendments.

We have heard a great deal about the process in here, by virtue of the fact that the government anticipated that we would be through this sitting on December 10th and, in fact, here we find ourselves on January 6th and we are still here. But we are here doing the people's business. While the process seems to have been long, I don't think there is anyone who would suggest that legislation such as this legislation we are dealing with this morning should just be swept through the House without due consideration.

In fact, the process works and it works very well when we have an Opposition which is prepared to make serious amendments and a minister who is prepared to be open and intellectually honest and is prepared to review those amendments and to incorporate many of them into the bill before it gets to third reading. This minister, I think, has done very well. I think the government has done well by him. I think he has done himself proud in that I think there was something in the order of 18 significant amendments made to this bill in Law Amendments and in Committee of the Whole House on Bills and something over half of them came from the Opposition. As I say, I think that allows people to take a measure of the way in which the Opposition has approached the bill but it allows, also, Nova Scotians to take a measure at the way in which the minister has husbanded this bill through it various stages. I commend him for that and I thank him for that.

As we look at the amendments that have been made, there have been several which have changed one little word but that one little word change has made a very, very significant difference in the application of this Act. That is where we changed the word may to the word shall. Again, the minister was very open and was very attentive in listening to what we had to say with respect to that and we welcome his openness and I do thank him for accepting many of those changes.

There is an interesting focus on education and research in this bill. This is one of the areas where I would like to see an amendment sometime in the future. An amendment which would cause the Department of Education, itself, and the Minister of Education to be more visibly linked into the dynamic process which is incorporated in this bill by way of promoting sustainable development and causing it to happen here in Nova Scotia. That is one of the areas in the bill that I think we could stand to change and change fairly dramatically at no cost to the government but it would result in one of those institutional changes that we so often hear about as being necessary if we are going to achieve sustainable development on this planet.

The minister has done something with respect to environmental assessment that I think is a very sound move and that is to move away from the old Environmental Control Council to a new Environmental Assessment Board. Since the Environmental Assessment Act was passed and the regulatory regime put in place, which gives it life, which I think was in 1989, tremendous new demands have been placed on the Environmental Control Council. In fact, those demands caused it to be necessary to seek out people across the Nova Scotian community who, irrespective of politics, brought the right kinds of knowledge and the right kinds of perspective to bear with respect to projects which fell within the Environmental Assessment Act's parameters. As such, the minister has now established a new board which properly takes the place of the old council and which will be composed of people with the right kinds of abilities so that Nova Scotians can have the confidence that the environmental assessment process in Nova Scotia will continue to work.

[8:30 a.m.]

I suspect that most Nova Scotians do not understand how many projects have gone through environmental assessment in this province and significantly how many of them have gone through a very public process. I have a great level of comfort that at the end of the day the people who have been involved, whether pro or con, with respect to a proposal initiated for development in Nova Scotia which has fallen under environmental assessment review, that those people feel that they have been fairly dealt with. In some cases they may not have liked the decision, but at least they felt that they had their day, they were part of the process and that they were fairly dealt with.

I think one of the examples where people have developed a strong sense of confidence in this process is to be found in the recommendations that the Environmental Control Council made with respect to the municipal solid waste incinerator that was proposed by the Metropolitan Authority over these past many months. The minister was given, I think, good advice by the Environmental Control Council and I think the minister was wise to act on that advice.

I do think that - and the minister and I have discussed this personally, he is aware of my views - we still will fall short of the mark in Nova Scotia with respect to environmental assessment until we have an appropriate intervenor funding mechanism. That is why I had hoped that we would, in this bill, incorporate not a specific intervenor funding formula but rather a mechanism which would give government, in consultation with Nova Scotians, the opportunity to create an intervenor funding formula which would be fair and appropriate, would not place an inordinate burden on business and would protect the public interest which very much includes the business interest in this province because after all if it were not for the business interest in this province, there would not be anybody working in this province and this would not be as nice a place to live as it is right now, not that there could not be improvements in the economy here.

So that is a shortcoming that I see and one that some day, some government in Nova Scotia is going to repair. At this juncture it is not going to be this government. Perhaps this government will see that intervenor funding is an appropriate thing to include in the environmental assessment process and will make that change before the electorate sends it packing, as someday it will. It is not a question of whether, it is a question of when, as it is with all who form governments here.

Throughout the bill there are references to the enforcement authority allowed the department and allowed the minister. In the original bill, there were many instances where action was taken on the basis of the minister's opinion. Many people in the Nova Scotian community, both on the business side and the environmental side - although one must be very careful to say that those two sides are ceasing to see themselves acting in opposition to each other but are endeavouring to come together to forge that link in the Nova Scotian community between the environment and the economy - were very much of the view that to cause action to occur because of the opinion of the minister of the day was insufficient.

So, one of the principal changes that we find in this bill has been the movement away from relying on the minister's opinion towards amending the bill in several places where the minister acts when he has reasonable cause to believe that something has happened. There is a much greater protection under the law for Nova Scotians in that respect, and I think a greater protection for the minister of the day, as well, and that is very important too.

One of the changes towards which the bill moved, as a result of some very interesting recommendations made by people who appeared before the Law Amendments Committee, the bill was further amended to incorporate, was the whole idea of looking at environmental residue not as a waste but rather as a resource. I think between all of us and with very strong support and the guidance of many of those people who appeared before the Law Amendments Committee, we have significantly improved the bill in that respect. That is a credit to everybody who has had an involvement with it.

We have had two task forces - the Clean Water Task Force and the Clean Air Task Force - in Nova Scotia, both with Nova Scotia citizens playing a very important role in helping to define for us, through public consultation, where we should be heading with respect to looking after those two resources, which are pretty essential to life in Nova Scotia as well as life on the planet, water and air. The minister, through this legislation, has begun to move us into the implementation of many of the recommendations that we find in those two reports.

With respect to the Clean Air Task Force and the references in the Environment Act to air, the minister had a whole series of actions which were prefaced by the permissive may and, as a result of an amendment in committee, we have changed that to shall. That just tremendously strengthens that clause and I think the people who sat on that Clean Air Task Force must feel a great deal of satisfaction that we have moved in that direction. It is now up to the minister and the department and, indeed, the government to ensure that those clauses are put in force and that those recommendations made by the Clean Air Task Force become implemented across Nova Scotia.

The same may be said, of course, of the Clean Water Task Force. So often, in fact almost always, we have in Nova Scotia taken water as something which has just always been there. We have not had to worry about conserving water, but we have not been as careful in ensuring the quality of that water as we should have been. This bill moves us forward with respect to understanding that water is an absolutely essential and valuable resource.

I think that one of the areas in the bill that I would like to have seen expanded and improved upon is the whole area of the protection of the coastal zone, salt marshes and wetlands. While there is an allusion to that in the bill, I don't think we have been clear enough in the responsibilities that we have, as government and as Nova Scotians, to ensure the integrity of those resources. How often have we seen in our own communities Nova Scotians, as individuals or perhaps as corporate citizens, looking at a wetland as wasteland and seeking the opportunity to fill it in and build something on top of it, not recognizing the fact that the wetlands play a very vital role with respect to dealing with impurities in the water course?

We often refer to the forests, particularly the rain forests but generally speaking the forests, the lungs of the earth, and members in here will perhaps recall, from time to time I referred to our wetlands as the earth's kidneys because they flush out the impurities in water and function, in a sense, in nature the same way as our kidneys do in our own bodies.

The bill deals with transboundary pollution and that is very important because it recognizes the fact that pollution does not recognize man-made or human-made boundaries. Nature doesn't understand that there is a 49th parallel that demarcates a significant portion of the border between Canada and the United States, so it is essential for political entities to understand that and to come to grips with that through creating mutual agreements with respect to controlling and reducing transboundary pollution.

There is a long section in the bill dealing with enforcement. We have the good fortune, in the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment to have a first-class enforcement section. One of the changes I would like to see in the department is to have the capacity to appropriate to it or at least have the Minister of Justice appropriate to his service, at least, one Crown Prosecutor who will specialize in environmental cases. Environmental law is growing very rapidly. It is very complex, it is an area that is going to expand with respect to the court time that is taken up with enforcement activities in Nova Scotia. It is insufficient that the local Crown Prosecutor, just because he is the local Crown Prosecutor, is given the task of prosecuting particularly significant breaches of environmental law. It is absolutely essential that we have at least one person among all those Crown Prosecutors who work for the Crown who has a real, solid expertise in environmental law.

I will tell you what is going to happen if we don't do that. We are going to find that the law firms that have developed expertise in environmental law are going to be able to be much better prepared and in a much better position with respect to defence than are the prosecutors who are acting for the people in Nova Scotia. That would not be in the best interests of the province at all.

There is a section in here which provides greater civil remedies to Nova Scotia citizens with respect to environmental law. It is a very important change in this bill and one which I welcome. Again as a result of an amendment, it very clearly provides the Minister of the Environment with the full authority to provide the real leadership in the development of environment industry technology here in Nova Scotia. I think that that is a very important change that we made to improve the bill.

I would say that the biggest challenge that faces the minister now is to ensure that he is able to convince the Minister of Finance to appropriate sufficient financial resources to make the Act work. You have got to put your money where your mouth is. This is not simply a recodification of a bunch of Statutes, there is a lot of new statutory law in here and the Act is only going to be as good as the capacity of the minister to be able to carry it out and the minister can only carry it out if he has a big enough budget to be able to do the job and do the job correctly.

So, in wrapping up, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I thank the minister for picking up the ball and carrying it. I thank the minister for continuing the public process and causing that public process to result in a reasonably good piece of legislation to be brought into the House. I want to thank the minister for being open to recommendations and changes brought forward by the Opposition and to accepting a number of those changes. I want to say to the minister that certainly, for whatever value it may have, he has my support as he moves forward in implementing this bill.

I also want to say that there are many changes that still should be made to make this legislation as effective as possible in the areas such as intervenor funding in areas such as the way in which we deal with our wetlands and so vitally importantly by creating through this legislation institutional change within the Government of Nova Scotia which will result in every minister, every department, every public servant in this province understanding that they are an agent of change with respect to moving us toward a sustainable economy here which, although we may be very small with respect to our land area and our population on this planet, will nonetheless play a role and an important role with respect to what we as Nova Scotians can and indeed must do to create a sustainable world economy. I will be supporting the bill as we vote at the end of third reading. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

[8:45 a.m.]

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I begin my remarks, I guess I make a couple of statements first of all. The first one is that I am going to be uncharacteristically brief this morning as I wrap up, to the disappointment, I see, of the Minister of Health who has expressed concern. He must want me to wax on eloquently for some considerable period of time but I am going to be uncharacteristically brief and I say that not because I do not consider the bill to be important but, in fact, I consider it to be very important. I have had the opportunity to speak for a number of hours on this bill already and I do not think that it is necessary at this point in the debate to go over all those things that I have said on a number of occasions already in this Chamber.

I also want the minister to know that certainly I, and my caucus, will be supporting the bill going on, that we will be voting in support of it here in third reading so that the bill can become law and, as it is to take effect on January 1st, Mr. Speaker, as soon as it passes in this House, of course with the assent, it will become law because the effective date has already passed.

Mr. Speaker, when I say that I am going to be supporting the bill, that does not mean, of course, that I am totally satisfied or that our caucus is totally satisfied with the bill, but I think that the bill is a positive step forward. It moves us some way toward the direction that we should be going, although there are a number of disappointments, disappointments that the government was unprepared to go that extra step to do all that could reasonably be done to ensure that we have the very best law in Nova Scotia that we could possibly have.

I would like to, as the previous speaker has done, tip my hat to the minister, to congratulate the minister for the process that has been followed. It is uncharacteristic, I guess, for members of the Opposition to be sometimes, or at least it would appear to be uncharacteristic for members of the Opposition to be complimenting Ministers of the Crown and the government for some of their actions, but in this particular case I think that the minister does deserve some bouquets for the manner in which he has handled the bill and its movement through this House and, in fact also before that, in the development of the bill. That is not to say, as I said before, that the bill is perfect and it is also, Mr. Speaker, not to say that I do not think that there are many important amendments that still are needed to the legislation. Hopefully, some of those will be coming forward in the days and weeks ahead.

Quite possibly the minister, himself, might have liked to have seen further strengthening of the legislation and maybe it was the dinosaurs in the Cabinet that were unprepared to see the legislation improved beyond that that has currently been done, Mr. Speaker, but I think that we have made some significant gains.

I would also, as we are congratulating the minister, Mr. Speaker, I would be very remiss if I was not to congratulate all of those interested groups, concerned citizens, individuals and organizations that came before the Law Amendments Committee, Mr. Speaker, and beforehand, also made representations to the minister after the draft bill had been put out for circulation.

I know that our caucus moved many amendments to this bill and supported others in the Law Amendments Committee that were agreed to by the government. I freely admit that we don't have, in our caucus, any more than I am sure the Official Opposition does or even the government caucus, have all the wisdom in their caucuses and it is necessary to rely on the expert advice you are given by those who are knowledgeable in the field.

I am not going to try to mention the many individuals and organizations who, in a very detailed way, examined the bill and made suggestions as to how the bill could be improved. I want it made perfectly clear that those organizations and individuals deserve a great deal of credit for the improvements made to the legislation, both from the original draft before it appeared in this House, Mr. Speaker, because, of course, the bill tabled in the House was not the same as the original draft sent out for circulation but also as a result of the excellent presentations we received and meant that we were able to provide, I think, more reasonable and reasoned debate here in this House and also able to bring forward more reasonable proposed amendments that we brought before this House.

I want to publicly thank those many individuals and organizations for the tremendous help they provided in this whole debate. That kind of open and thorough discussion and evaluation is what will improve the laws of this province and improve our legislation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, a few other points, if I may. While the legislation does go quite a way and I have a great deal of support for and was very pleased to see the extensive purpose of the bill laid out and the high principles espoused in the purposes outlined in the bill, I think it is crucial that all legislation have a section which outlines a purpose, the reasons for that Act. However, what concerns me somewhat is that although we may have the excellent statements of principles at the start of the bill, I don't honestly believe that the main body of the bill, the clauses that contain the actual powers because the principles are simply that, a statement of principle, and they do not have the force and effect of law unless, within the bill itself, the bill is unclear as to the power given within it and only then could the courts really use those principle clauses to interpret what is meant, should the meaning be unclear later on.

My purpose in saying this, Mr. Speaker, is that I don't think the body of the bill lives up fully to the outlined principles in the start of the bill. The bill has been called the may Act by many people, the government may do this or the government may do that or the minister may do this or the minister may do that.

Now there have been some important improvements and I am pleased that the minister was agreeable, and I am sure he was and occasionally it showed, Mr. Speaker, that the minister was a little bit frustrated during the Committee of the Whole House stage of debate, that maybe they were getting a little impatient and the government members were getting a little impatient with the amount of debate and the number of amendments being brought forward. A number of those amendments had to do with this very item, the may versus the shalls, of making something obligatory, making it mandatory that the government agree to do certain things, rather than leaving it in the permissive area. Although it may have been frustrating, I am pleased to see that some of those suggested amendments were accepted, which points out the value of the process that we have here in the House.

I say, in all honesty, that not a single one of the amendments that we brought forward were just intended to be a delaying tactic. We may have differences of opinion and we may be persistent trying to persuade the government to change some of their clauses or sections of the bill, but one of the things that you learn when you are in Opposition is that sometimes persistence, being dogged, is one of the things that will force - and I am not just saying this minister - but government then to take a look at what are the principles or what are those amendments that are being suggested. If you keep at it long enough, that sometimes will force government members to actually then have to pay attention and look at them and then in a spirit of compromise, maybe adopt some of those principles so that the bill will move forward.

I was pleased to see, and I think that the minister was, indeed, agreeable to some of the amendments that were brought forward and I, as I did before, tip my hat to the minister for having that openness and tolerating as well as he did the arduous process that you go through while we are trying to improve the legislation. But we still have too much in the way of discretion, the may versus shall, I would suggest.

I also have some concern, and one of the things that had bothered me a little bit during the bill presentation in debate actually, Mr. Speaker, while I support and have complete understanding with the principle of let's try to be more efficient and prevent duplication so that we can have greater cooperation between the three different levels of government - federal, provincial and municipal - and this bill, of course, will give the provincial government the authority to delegate some of its responsibilities to another level of government, so that you won't have several assessments and evaluations having to go on at the same time or subsequent to each other, so that we can have greater efficiency in the process, but I had some concerns as we were going along in the debate, concerns that maybe by delegating to other bodies or trying to harmonize totally with other bodies that we could be weakening the process here in the province.

I mention that and I guess what causes me to do that at this point in time is, and although we are talking about this bill, Mr. Speaker, one of the weaknesses, for example, is demonstrated by the new federal bill that has been tabled in the House of Commons, Bill C-62, which will give the federal government, in fact, just two Ministers of the Crown, the federal Crown, the ability to exempt any person or undertaking from regulations under what they call the Regulatory Efficiency Act if they supposedly have a compliance plan.

One can see where the pressures for this would be coming from, you know, some companies coming along and saying that, gee whiz, we cannot follow the rules or the regulations that are laid down for business and industry because it is too costly for us so we will supposedly develop a compliance plan which will say that we will do certain things and thereby become exempted without even any kind of a process, an environmental assessment, or any other proper kind of a process, they can be exempted from the federal environmental regulations or the process.

That concerns me somewhat, certainly at the federal level and I would have loved to see the House here in Nova Scotia say that we oppose the ability of the federal government to do that or, in fact, just two members of the Crown, two ministers, to provide that exemption because I don't think that we can then rely upon the federal government and their regulations to safeguard public health and safety and the environment, Mr. Speaker, if they are proposing such legislation.

This bill, with good intent in terms of trying to harmonize, depends a great deal upon the federal regime and now we see that the federal regime itself is being weakened. I know that there are those in the environmental movement in Nova Scotia who share that concern. I was reading a report from the environmental network, Mr. Speaker, and quite honestly it was reading the report from the environmental network that tweaked my interest and my knowledge about that Bill C-62 where they, themselves, are calling for action to make sure that that federal bill gets withdrawn. I hope the minister, here in Nova Scotia, will make some representation in that regard.

[9:00 a.m.]

Another item, Mr. Speaker, certainly something that is not addressed in the bill and although one would love it to be addressed in the bill, I do not know really that it could be, but that is the whole idea of resources. In order for the minister to be effective in carrying out all of the powers and responsibilities that are laid out in the bill, that is going to mean that the minister and his department have all of the resources that are necessary to do that. Although when you are dealing with a piece of legislation, you cannot deal with the budgetary items, it is something that is going to be an ongoing concern and it is going to be something that all members of this House are going to have to keep in mind as we look at budgets and as we see what is going to be happening in the months and years ahead, and that is to ensure that there are the adequate resources provided to the department to carry out the very important mandate that is laid out in the bill.

I am certainly pleased that there were, in the legislation, sustainable economic development powers and the necessity to develop sustainable economic plans in certain areas like solid waste management. However, there are many other areas and if we are taking a look at Nova Scotia, I think that it behooves us not to make a commitment and I am not saying the immediate timeframe that should have been done but I think the legislation should have required the sustainable economic development plans and strategies also be developed in the other very important resource areas in Nova Scotia such as, for example, in Natural Resources for the forest industry, for mining, for things like agriculture and so on, that should have been in the legislation.

Certainly I have concerns that the minister has the ability and that the government has the ability, Governor in Council, to exempt, here in Nova Scotia, many projects from the environmental assessment process and were not more clear in terms of how the information can be made available to the public and the right to have that information.

Certainly also, Mr. Speaker, I am very much disappointed that the government was unprepared in this legislation to ban outright the development of new solid waste incinerators. We saw that certainly in the case of the metropolitan area incinerator, the minister, after the environmental assessment process, did say that that could not proceed and I think with very good reasons, on very good grounds, the minister prohibited that particular incinerator. Quite frankly, in this day and age, considering the potential harm to the environment, to say nothing about the destruction of very valuable resources that incinerators do, I believe here we had an opportunity and we would not be breaking new ground because there are other jurisdictions, Ontario being the first in this country but certainly not the first in the world to ban the development of new incinerators. There are more intelligent ways, much more intelligent ways, of handling what we have traditionally called waste but are more properly called resources.

So I would encourage the minister to try to encourage his Cabinet colleagues to be willing to move that one step forward from where we are at the present time. I look forward to having the opportunity to tip my hat again to this minister or to whoever the minister's successor will be, after the shuffle that is going to be coming in the months ahead after the House rises. (Interruption) Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: You mean a change of government.

MR. HOLM: Well certainly the member for Hants West is saying, a change of government. I want to assure the Speaker and the member for Hants West that the New Democratic Party has long been on record as saying that we would ban, and have called for the ban on the development of new, solid waste incinerators in Nova Scotia. I want to assure the member for Hants West, should we have the privilege, after the next election, of forming the government, that that would be one of the pieces of legislation coming forward. So, I thank the member for Hants West for his helpful intervention that gave me the opportunity to say that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, before I leave that particular area of solid waste, another item I believe we should have done in this legislation is not just accepted the Canadian reduction targets as we have, as a goal, as a target to be reducing the amounts of waste we are disposing of by the year 2000, but that should have been a minimum requirement. I believe that Nova Scotians, by and large, are quite anxious and willing to do their part, if they are given an opportunity to divert from the waste-stream much of that which is really, as I say, a resource, but which has traditionally been considered a waste. I believe that only if we are going to require that reduction, will we be successful in achieving what is, in fact, achievable. So I would have liked to have seen that as a mandatory minimum being imposed in legislation. That certainly would have assisted in providing the impetus for such a reduction.

I guess finally, Mr. Speaker, although there are many other things that one could talk about in the bill, the last thing that I will say I am disappointed about, but it is not the only thing I was disappointed about, but the last thing I am disappointed about is the fact that the government was unprepared to move on intervenor funding. We had many representations appearing before the Law Amendments Committee, from many different groups and organizations, certainly those who had been involved in the battle against the incinerator in Dartmouth, the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation and many others, calling for the provision and requirement for intervenor funding in Nova Scotia.

That is not something that would have cost the Province of Nova Scotia any money whatsoever. That would have been a cost of doing business for the proponents. It would not have been the first time, for example, in the Halifax Harbour Clean Up, the proponents were required to provide some intervenor funding under the federal process, Mr. Speaker, so that those who wanted to - and that doesn't just mean that anybody can walk in off the street and automatically be entitled to intervenor funding. You have to be recognized as a proper organization and have a right to this process, but then you have the ability to get some financial assistance so that those who want to question or get some independent, expert advice about a particular project, have the ability to get that independent, professional, expert advice. That, it has been shown, will actually often speed up the process and save money in the long run in the whole environmental assessment process.

It is not breaking new ground again. We have, in Canada, four governments that currently do provide for intervenor funding. I hope this government, and I won't go through the whole litany of arguments that have been put forward by people far more knowledgeable, I would suggest, than I about the importance of this, Mr. Speaker. We have raised those points before and the minister has copies of all those well-thought-out arguments in his possession from presentations made at the Law Amendments Committee. I hope the minister will be very much open to those ideas.

Mr. Speaker, one last point I will make, too, even though I said the last one was going to be my last point, that is that I think there still is room for the possible transfer of some staff, who have an enforcement and a regulatory role, that are currently located in other government departments, possibly to be transferred to the Department of the Environment. In some of the other departments, for example in the forestry section, there are those who have the responsibility to try to develop the forest industry, to promote it and, at the same time, regulate it. There may be a bit of a conflict there that they are trying to enforce and regulate themselves.

If, Mr. Speaker, it was required, and it is not in the bill that each and every department had to be accountable for and had to take the environment and sustainable economic development into consideration in all the decisions they are making, then maybe it would not be as important. But that is not the situation in the bill. So maybe, as part of the reorganization or restructuring that is ongoing, the government may wish to consider transferring to the Department of the Environment those particular resources that are in some of the other departments which are specifically geared to the enforcement sections, to the Department of the Environment, where they would be more independent from those other responsibilities that they have within their current department. That might make for a cleaner break and, therefore, a more efficient operation and better security for the environment and for the people of this province.

Mr. Speaker, with those, as I said, uncharacteristically brief remarks on my behalf, I will be resuming my seat but I again want to extend my thanks and appreciation not only to the minister but to those many individuals and organizations that spent literally hundreds of hours, cumulatively, examining the bill, examining the regulations, making their views known to the minister in advance, which I believe led to an improved bill coming forward compared to that of the draft. It certainly assisted us, in the Opposition benches, to better understand some of the complexities in the bill which, I think, enable us, maybe still certainly on my part, inadequately, being able to bring forward some of those concerns in cohesive and coherent arguments. Those groups and individuals do deserve a tremendous amount of thanks from all members in this House.

We are, in fact, very fortunate and very wealthy in this sense, in that we do have very thoughtful and caring people in Environment and many people with tremendous expertise. I want to add my thanks and appreciation to all those people, along with the minister, for his cooperation and willingness to listen to many of the concerns brought forward by so many people, to try to make the bill a little bit better.

I hope, Mr. Speaker, that that spirit will continue and that we will have the opportunity in the months and years ahead to achieve even more amendments to the legislation because even though we have this bill before us now as a new piece of legislation, combining all of these other Acts together, which I freely admit is a step forward and which I certainly will be supporting, it still is not perfect. So even though this new Act is in place, that is no reason why we should sit on our laurels, sit on our backsides and say, well, it is done, we do not need to think about the environment any more to try to find ways to improve the Act. It is an ongoing process and I look forward to continued cooperation and continued improvements to the piece of legislation that we are considering here on the floor again this morning. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[9:15 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I know that by agreement all the way around, it was intended that we not take undue time here today as we continue third reading relative to the environmental legislation, but I did want to make a few remarks and having had the opportunity and the honour to spend some time as Minister of the Environment, and I hope on the odd occasion even, attempted to participate in the debate on second reading and in Committee of the Whole House on Bills in a reasonably helpful way, I would like now, as we close debate on third reading, to make some concluding remarks because I think this particular piece of legislation, as I am sure you will agree, Mr. Speaker, is without question one of the centre-pieces of the legislative regime being brought forward by this government and it deserves the careful scrutiny and attention that it did receive and I think there are a few concluding remarks which I hope will be taken to heart by the minister and his Cabinet colleagues because I think there are some steps which still need to be taken relative to the implementation processes which must now follow once the legislation becomes law.

I want to, not by way of boast, but simply by way of statement of fact to say, as my colleague the member for Queens did, that I think the Minister of the Environment deserves credit and kudos for having continued an undertaking which was entrain at the time that he became Minister of the Environment. The human condition being what it is, Mr. Speaker, it is not impossible for a new minister to come into a department, get himself or herself briefed on what is going on and come to the conclusion that I am the new person on the block and that was the effort of those others who, by definition, since the people threw them out, obviously did not know what they were doing, so we will do it our way. This minister did not adopt that attitude when he went to the department and I mean it sincerely, I think he deserves credit and kudos for continuing and advancing and accelerating the effort which had been undertaken, some of it even during the brief time that I was there as Minister of the Environment.

We had come to the conclusion during my time there, as the present minister knows, that we just simply had to effect a consolidation of the environmental laws of the province because we had a patchwork quilt of legislation and regulatory regimes which, quite frankly, were not only troublesome to the very effective and able men and women in the department but, if I may say so, with respect to them, were even more troublesome to the men and women who are trying to make things happen in economic development terms in the Province of Nova Scotia and it simply was, seemingly, that we had too many occasions where the rules, the regulations, the legislation, the role and function of the men and women in the department too often were seen to be - whether always accurately or not is another matter - but too often seen to be at cross purposes with the men and women in this province upon whom all of us and all who follow us are so dependent.

I refer, of course, to the men and women who are prepared to put their bank accounts and their wallets on the line to make things happen in terms of economic development. There was a sense and a perception that the environmental laws and regulations were too often an impediment and did stifle, or would stifle, that legitimate effort or initiative, or desire to effect economic development.

So the process which the Minister of the Environment has followed here in moving along the set of dynamics which he found upon attaining, or assuming responsibilities as Minister of the Environment, is, I think, noteworthy and, if I may say so, it is a process similar to that which, I believe, has been followed by his colleague and seat mate, the Minister of Labour, in regard to attempting to move on in as thoughtful and effective a way as possible, changes and improvements and refinements with workers' compensation legislation.

What do I mean by that? I think, I really sincerely do mean, that in the process followed by these two ministers, we have an example of a process which has enabled all of us, as legislators, and more to the point, the thousands and thousands of men and women in the community outside this Chamber, to become participants in the analysis of the commentary upon and the development of a new legislative regime. (Interruption) That too, I think, Mr. Speaker, is noteworthy.

It is a little disappointing though, if I may say by way of contrast, and not to inject an unkind cut here, but when I look at the process followed by these two ministers and ministries, and contrast them with the narrow and closed process which has been employed, in my opinion at least, by the Minister of Municipal Affairs in terms of trying to get municipal reform going, and going in a way in which it is truly a participatory process, and the king of kings, the casino legislation, if either of those public policy initiatives had been pursued in anything close to the way in which these two pieces of legislation, the environmental legislation and the workers' compensation legislation have been pursued, I think we would have (a) a better legislative package, but (b) we would have thousands of people across the province who would be able to, and rightly and honestly say, we were participants in that process, and while we perhaps did not get our way in every element of what we are trying to do with municipal reform and casinos, we, at least, were included in the loop and we had an opportunity to participate. So on that basis, I think, as it relates to the environmental legislation which is before us, I say again and I say sincerely, cued us to the minister in that regard.

I think, too, that the Minister of the Environment has demonstrated, and it is reflected in the legislation which he has brought to this place, it is demonstrated in his participation in the debate of the legislation in this place, has brought to the debate an understanding that a meaningful, sensible, sensitive and supportive environmental regime is an absolute pre-condition to expanded economic development in the Province of Nova Scotia and to the creation of new wealth. Because, if we do not, and I know we have said this in different ways, many of us perhaps all of us, create new wealth in the Province of Nova Scotia, we are just all spinning our wheels and fooling ourselves and, more important, fooling the people whom we purport to represent, because if we do not create new wealth, we are simply going to spend our time in here, as legislators, trying to find new and imaginative ways to divvy up either a stagnant or a shrinking pool of resources, and that doesn't do anybody any good.

So the name of the game for all 52 men and women in this place, in my opinion, is to find those ways within a reasonable, legitimate and supportive legislative framework whereby we create the environment, and in this context I am referring to an economic development environment, that supports and enhances the creation of new wealth.

This minister and this legislation, I think, to an extent, with some exceptions and I will make a couple of comments relative to a couple of outstanding concerns in a few moments, I do, though, think, in the main, this particular piece of legislation does take into account the understanding that there is a business community out there which has to grow and prosper and cannot be stifled and strangled by environmental laws and regulations to the point where they cannot or will not make that new investment and expand and grow their businesses and create that new wealth.

The legislation, too, I think though, at the same time, is mindful of, sensitive to and supportive of what it also must respond to and by definition and by title relates to namely the protection, the enhancement and the prudent use of our province's environment. Therefore, those who are environmentalists and those who are naturalists and those who are leaders of the wildlife and wildlife protection movement of our province are, also, accounted for and the legitimate rights and needs and interests of those interests are recognized.

The legislation is, I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, one which has to set out a legislative and a regulatory framework in which we can have, people like to use the expression sustainable development, my own preference, quite frankly, from day one and from the first moment that I went to the Department of the Environment as minister, is that the expression is better stated as sustainable economic development, as opposed simply to sustainable development, because I think the use of the word sustainable conjures up all of those elements, legislative and otherwise, which must be in place to ensure that we sustain, protect and ensure the survival of the environmental and ecological reality of the province.

The use of the word economic injects into the formula the realization and the understanding that economic development and the most maximum amount of economic development that we can possibly have is as important. So that we were, in that regard, somewhat disappointed and continue to experience that disappointment, that certain of the proposals which were offered by the Opposition were not acted upon.

My colleague, the member for Queens has made mention of one and I think it is worthy of repetition and I would ask, as the months unfold over the next while, that the Minister of the Environment would perhaps revisit the whole proposition and engage in canvassing the thought or the principle with his officials and with others.

I refer, in that regard, to the attempts made by some of us on the Opposition benches to convince the minister that we would have a piece of legislation which, in its introduction, would talk about principles rather than goals. Some might say, well, what is that? Is that a distinction without a difference or does it really mean all that much to talk about goals, as opposed to principles?

Well, not to get too picky, but as the minister may recall, during our debate on that particular element of the legislation, I went to the dictionaries and, looking at a couple of those, found that in the main the definition of goal is the object or effect of ambition. That is contrasted with the definitions I was able to read and find that define the word principle. Principle is defined, I think adequately for the purposes of the point I wish to make, principle is defined as a fundamental truth or proposition on which many others depend.

I would have been happier and some of us would have been happier if the purpose clause, so called, was set out as a statement of principles as opposed to goals because - and maybe it is and I hope it is not, and I do not honestly believe it is; some critics might say, well, he is just playing head games with himself a little bit here and there really is not a difference - I find for my purposes that there is a difference between the enunciation and the articulation of a statement of principles as opposed to the establishment of a goal. That, however, was not the view of the minister and of his colleagues and we understand that and those are the vagaries of debate of legislation in a situation such as this.

[9:30 a.m.]

This legislation, Mr. Speaker, as you know, and as the minister so well knows, has in it very strong enforcement powers. I simply want, as we close debate upon it, to make a plea to the Minister of the Environment. I think the passage of this legislation imposes a tremendous onus upon the Minister of the Environment and it is this: I think the onus is now very heavy on the shoulders of the Minister of the Environment to ensure that he goes back to his deputy and every single official who will have a role and a function in the administration of this new legislative and regulatory regime and have as many encounter sessions or upgrading sessions or retraining sessions or explanatory sessions - call them what you will - with that staff and urge that staff to understand that while some of the language in this legislation is very strong in terms of the power enjoyed by that staff in terms of enforcement that if enforced with, I was going to say the right attitude better said with the wrong attitude, it can prove to be very punitive.

I get the impression, and I hope my impression is an accurate reading and reflection of the minister's attitude here as displayed by his participation in the debate and things he has said publicly elsewhere and so on, I would plead with the minister that he make sure that in the next couple of months there are information sessions organized through his department whereby the men and women who will enforce this legislation understand that while their principal priority and responsibility is the protection of the environment of the ecology of the Province of Nova Scotia, they have an equal responsibility. That equal responsibility is to be aware of, sensitive to and, to the extent possible, supportive of the right and the interest of the men and women who really make this province tick. It is not the 52 of us in here who make the province tick. It is not, in the main, the officials in the Public Service who make this province tick. It is the men and women in this province who are prepared to put their dollars on the table and make things happen in terms of economic development.

I really plead with the minister that he will ensure, to the extent that it is reasonably possible, keeping in mind, I repeat, that I am not for a minute suggesting that he or his staff have to blindly close their eyes to their principal obligation, namely the protection of the environment and the ecology of our province, but they are as aware and as informed as they possibly can be of the honest and legitimate need of the men and women running business in this province who want to grow those businesses and have those businesses prosper.

On occasion - and I am not referring only to the Department of the Environment, and I had the occasion to work in a number of ministries - it is possible, indeed, on occasion it happens with too great a frequency that men and women who are in the Public Service across the province, working with legislative provisions which afford them a regulatory power on occasion, too many occasions, get the sense that their role in life is to make sure that they squeeze as hard as they can to ensure that the rules and the regulations with which they work every day are enforced in a way that absolutely stifles the economic development or the legitimate interest of the person or persons or corporations with whom they are dealing.

I believe if we are ever, as part of our effort to move away from a dependence upon government, a dependence upon provincial government hand-outs, a dependence upon federal government transfer payments and hand-outs, if we are ever to move away from that, we have got to develop a mind-set and an ethic in this province that profit is not a dirty word, that making money is an activity which is to be supported to the extent that it can be within the confines of a legitimate and reasonable legislative and regulatory regime.

I repeat, and the minister knows it, there are many, many provisions in this legislation which, if the wrong attitude is taken by those men and women who will be handling them and enforcing them, if the attitude is, we will get them out there under any and all circumstances and get them under our thumb, then we are going to do great harm to the economy of Nova Scotia and we are going to do great harm to the resolve of the men and women who really do want to take the risk and take the chance and grow their businesses and employ new people and pay new taxes. That, in the long term, is what is going to play a very major part in revitalizing the economic reality of our province.

We had many background papers and other documents made available to us in the course of debate of this legislation, Mr. Speaker. I want to just quickly make a brief reference to the environmental assessment process which is redesigned in this legislation and as others have said, applaud and compliment the changes made. Procedures in this legislation are established for streamlining the process while at the same time, I am referring to the environmental assessment process, while at the same time ensuring sound environmental assessment of undertakings. This section also contains significant revisions such as the ability to refer projects to alternate dispute mechanisms and the option of using a focus report to examine specific issues.

Having spent some time in the department, I think that is a very important and helpful advance. Because I found myself on a number of occasions in that ministry constrained by the old legislation of not having that out, that alternate way in which a very difficult or contentious assessment process requirement could be handled. I found that the existing legislation was quite a constraint, a constraint to the ministry but more to the point, a serious constraint and cost to the proponent.

I might say, too, by way of compliment to the process and to the minister that I really do think that it is important for us all to realize that there is an authority given to the minister here to enter into agreements with other levels of government for the purpose of joint reviews. This means that an applicant may only be submitted to one review process at one level of government no matter how many approvals are required. Provisions exist for joint assessments of undertakings with the federal and municipal governments as well as class assessments.

I applaud that but I caution the minister, as I am sure he will and I am sure he will be very vigilant, that time is of the essence for the business person. I urge the minister when he is engaged and is assessing recommendations from his officials as he will be on a regular basis, I am sure, in the area of joint assessments, that he not allow himself, as can happen, to be talked into a process which some will try to promote and encourage him to undertake, that, well, the other guy's assessment process must be better because it is longer and it puts the proponent through even more hoops than, say, our provincial process.

Well, that is not always necessarily the best result. I would hope that it would possible for this minister with this authority, under this legislation to open up a dialogue now with municipal and federal authorities, whereby we can have a joint process which, even if on occasion it does not respond to elements 3, 6, 9 and 12, say, of the federal regime, that agreements can be reached that a legitimate, effective and a proper assessment can be made, even if each and every one of the elements, in my example, the federal regime are not met. I think that is exceedingly important that the minister do his best with the help of his officials to effect that kind of result.

I notice that in the legislation, as well, and I think it is worthy of comment and I won't be too much longer, Mr. Speaker, I promise, I notice that, and I have paid particular attention to it because I think it is a very important piece of this legislation. In Part 17, Environmental Industries, Innovations and Technologies, the legislation tells us that, Clause 156(1) "The Department, . . . ", the provincial Department of the Environment, ". . . is designated the lead agency of Government to promote the development and use of sustainable environmental industries, innovations and technologies.". It then goes on to describe what the minister may do to fulfil that mandate, "(a) establish a private sector-driven management consortiums . . .", and so on, "(b) provide assistance to the consortium . . . ", and the like.

I am not sure that in the course of the debate, unless I missed it along the way, whether we really resolved whether there is any conflict or potential conflict between those provisions and Bill No. 117, which is the legislation which establishes the Innovation Corporation, which is under the control and administration of the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I would hope that the minister will do everything humanly possible to ensure that we are not in a conflict situation there, because I would hate to think that we would have conflicting or competing bureaucracies there when the Minister of the Environment, on the one hand, is attempting to grow and prosper and foster environmental industries, innovations and technologies and, meanwhile, we have an Innovation Corporation Act which, I am guessing here, is probably the place where we are going to find the budget allocation.

So, I would urge the minister, and I know he is mindful of the concern - it was raised and I think he may have reacted to it during the course of debate - that there really has to be a delivery system worked out between himself and his colleague, the Minister for the Environmental Review Agency, so that we don't find ourselves at cross purposes, that we don't have two sets of bureaucrats in conflict, each with the other, in terms of their day-to-day role and mandate and function and, most important, that we do not have the Minister of the Environment in a situation where he has an authority to move in the area of environmental industries, innovations and technologies and not have the resources to be able to effect that result in any meaningful way.

Some might say I did not learn very much during my brief time in Environment and, perhaps, that is true. But I honestly believe, within myself, one of the things that I did learn is this, that despite the criticism of many who suggest that, gee, environmental regulation and legislative constraints are, almost by definition, a constraint against doing good business.

[9:45 a.m.]

I know this minister knows, Mr. Speaker, and I know that many others know that just the opposite is also true just as often. What do I mean? I mean that there are men and women in this province running businesses now who if, and which if, properly supported, can develop environmental technologies which are not only of tremendous importance to us in Nova Scotia but are exportable world-wide. So environmental technologies in and of themselves can become generators of new employment and new wealth and, if I may say so, the result or the catalyst for the injection into the Nova Scotian economy of money and, I think in some measure, very sizeable amounts of money from other places in the world. So I raise this whole issue of these environmental industries, innovations and technologies in the context of an authority now resting with ERA, to really again plead with the Minister of the Environment that he be as active and vigorous and aggressive as he possibly can, to ensure that in establishing the Public Service complement that will deal with both these issues and to deal with the budgetary allocations that will relate, that we not allow ourselves to get into this conflict.

My colleague, the member for Queens talked about the prosecutorial capacity here in this legislation, and I mentioned just a moment ago briefly, I agree clearly and obviously that in a piece of legislation such as this, a serious and significant prosecutorial capacity is necessary. I again repeat the plea to the minister that he do everything humanly possible for him to do, to ensure that sustainable economic development has to be fairly and sympathetically considered as the rules are imposed. If we, in the name of a blind enforcement of this legislation and the regulations which will go with it, we run the risk of doing harm to the Nova Scotian economy, as opposed to doing what I think this legislative regime can do, and I think it really can, in a proper and sensitive way, become a real support to the business community of the Province of Nova Scotia.

My final comments, Mr. Speaker, are simply these; we have, I have, and I am sure - yes, I know, because he has been copied by some of this mail which I have received relative to this piece of legislation, a number of corporations in the province have contacted me and expressed some concerns about Bill No. 115 as it will ultimately appear. They express concern about the lack of the business impact test proposed by CMA and agreed to by the Public Consultants Committee process and is not in support of the principle of sustainable development.

Many in the business community continue to express concern about the working of joint and several liability as being unfair and in conflict with the fundamental principle of the polluter pays. The minister knows that and I hope the minister will revisit that. They also raise concerns relative to the extent and application of the precautionary principle that leaves business with the impression that the department is not obligated to consider scientific certainty in the application of the bill and the regulations.

We endeavoured, as a small Opposition caucus, during debate of this bill, to change some of that language which would have met the interests of some of the business community which had been urging it upon the minister, but without success. So what I would like to do by way of conclusion is simply underscore and put on the record certain recommendations which have been made by some of the business community of Nova Scotia, some very successful businesses in the Province of Nova Scotia, to underscore their requests of the Minister of the Environment.

Those requests, as he is aware because he has received this correspondence, are in the following areas. Many in the business community, as the minister knows, are urging him now, as we pass this legislation, to appoint what they describe as a government/industry implementation committee to recommend refinements and advise the minister on the Act. I can tell him, from considerable past experience, that there is, in my view at least, very real merit in him surrounding himself with such an implementation committee because there will be all kinds of bumps, warts and wrinkles that will develop as this new regime is implemented and many people in the business community can be very helpful, in my view, in helping him and his officials through some of those areas.

I, though, speaking for myself at this moment and not necessarily only for the business community which offers this suggestion, I would go just a tiny bit further with the minister in suggesting such an implementation committee. I would suggest that there be, if I may characterize it this way, some citizen committee, some citizen involvement on that committee. If he were to follow that recommendation, I think he would be greatly, or his work or the work of such a committee would be greatly advanced by having included upon it a couple of members of the community at large, along with appropriate scientific and business community interests in concert with his own officials and, of course, with himself.

I think, too, as has been recommended to the minister by certain business interests, that the minister would immediately, in concert with his officials, undertake work and ultimately an early introduction of a schedule of compliance that provides time for further evaluation, compliance assessment and analysis and lead time for communication and training. Those, I think, are highly important elements that are side-pieces and side-bars to the passage of this legislation. There should be timeframes and processes worked out and I know, knowing pretty much all of the senior officials in that department and all the players who would be assisting the minister with it, I know that if charged with that task that could be done in relatively short order and I don't mean overnight, I mean over the coming many months. I think that is a highly important recommendation.

Finally, one of the recommendations made to the minister, of which he is aware, is that the business community be given the opportunity to consult and communicate with the department on the regulations to ensure that the business implications are well understood. I think that is absolutely essential. I think, and I may be mistaken and perhaps as he closes the minister may comment on it, I am not sure, but I believe that that is absolutely essential. There must be a dialogue set up, a process of dialogue established, in my view, but in a way that is not - as I am sure would be consistent with the minister's general demeanour and disposition anyway - a we/they confrontation process. There are hundreds and hundreds of enlightened men and women out there who are sensitized and really do understand or have their definition of sustainable economic development.

In this whole area, I say to the minister that there is no one person, himself included nor, God knows, myself, nor indeed any one individual in his ministry who is the repository of all knowledge. I know he knows that and I say to him sincerely, as he moves to the implementation phase, that he surround himself with as many reasonable and broadly-based advisory groups as he possibly can to ensure that, what I think, is a very important advance in our environmental legislative regime, as evidenced by this legislation, is put into place.

Those observations are the thoughts which occur to me, Mr. Speaker, at this point as we conclude our review of this most important piece of legislation. I really truly hope that it will be, once enshrined on our books and in the laws of the Province of Nova Scotia, acted upon, enforced and implemented in a way that pays as much attention to the need to grow our province, I do not refer, when I say grow our province, only to environmental growth and ecological growth, but I refer to economic growth as well. I know, as the minister knows because we have talked about it a little bit, there is a very fine line and it is a tightrope that he and his people have to walk, that tightrope called sustainable economic development. I mean it sincerely that he has demonstrated to this point, by my observation, a pretty fair ability to walk that tightrope. I have every expectation and hope that he will continue to do so in concert with his officials and with the larger community with whom he has to deal.

So, I have high hopes that these efforts - if I am not accused of patting predecessors on the back - begun by my colleague, the member for Queens, carried on a little bit during my time in Environment by myself, has been brought to fruition by this Minister of the Environment in a way which I think is a pretty darn good effort. I applaud him for that, and close with the expression of the hope that the new regime will prove to be a workable, effective, supportive and positive framework for real advance, as we all seek that elusive sustainable economic development, which is so vital to all of us in the province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I won't take a great deal of time here. It strikes me, in listening to this debate this morning and during the debate in second reading, that the Committee of the Whole House is, in fact, perhaps a better location for the discussion that should take place at this final moment.

This Act, I think, has been served so well, not only by predecessors of mine in the Ministry of Environment but by the previous government, having initiated consultation and direction that we had no problem in maintaining and fulfilling, both pre-election and post-election. In fact, I believe, obviously, that we have made a contribution along the way. I feel a certain privilege in having been able to have been part of the building of legislation in this manner. Because, as colleagues and critics have indicated, this may be an example of the way in which public policy is best served in terms of the creation of legislation that works for people.

I think the hallmark is that because the province and this House and others share so much in the building of it, that it becomes their Act. It is not the Act of this House. It is not the Act of a Liberal Government. It is the Act of the Province of Nova Scotia and it is owned by all those, hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people really; clean air, clean water, the consultation that has taken place, it has taken four or five years to get here and in five years again, we will be reviewing it, enhancing it and hopefully each month and day, we will be doing that. So there is a sense of ownership that has built when you build public policy this way and turn it into legislation and Statute.

There is a double-edged sword to that. Part of this government's commitment is to a balanced approach to social, fiscal and environmental debt and deficit. Those are caused by decision-making problems that have not been exercised in such a way and, I think, my colleagues opposite talk about sustainable economic development. For me, the important word is sustainability, because it is a function of decision making, whether it is in any one of those spheres or in all three simultaneously.

[10:00 a.m.]

So this government does not have the luxury of building policy over five years in the area of fiscal responsibility, in the area of social responsibility; no government has the luxury of someone from New York walking in and saying we are going to drop your credit rating, it is going to cost you $60 million in social deficit and debt, or in environmental deficit and debt. We have to develop our own sense of credit rating and our own Moody's, if you like, sense of what this province needs.

So, there is a double-edged sword in having the time to build public policy with full consultation, because it speaks to the issue of that policy to begin with. There is not the sense of urgency that there is in the fiscal domain and, perhaps, in the social domain. There is a double-edged sword there. We have to develop that internal capability of developing a sense of urgency on all three fronts simultaneously. I mean, therein lies the Opposition's role, and that is to ensure that that balance is maintained, and we hear it every day. There is no point in sitting here talking about the cumulative thing, as my colleague from Kings North talks about. It is there; it is real. Everybody, in a sense, contributed to it. The reality is that we have to get ourselves out of the mess we are in, in a balanced and meaningful fashion.

So, as much as it has been a privilege to be part of a long-term process, there is a double-edged sword that says, how is it we had the luxury of five years or seven years to contemplate this in this manner? Ideally, we would have this process ongoing in every sphere of public policy development. The reality is, if our decision making is faulty to begin with, we end up with insidious and hidden debt that does not give us the luxury of the time necessary to build it in this manner.

Let me suggest, in terms of the business community and the business impact test and CMA's very strong advocacy and very persuasive advocacy, that we could sit here and develop a business impact test based on the precautionary principle and announce to the manufacturers of this nation and the world the potential cost to Nova Scotia business. We could do so on a wide spectrum of possible scenarios and, undoubtedly, we would be criticized for not doing it effectively, depending on where the needle fell on that spectrum.

I think a better process is one that combines consultation, business impact, thinking in the minds of the department and, ultimately, public participation in the development of the regulations. I mean, therein lies the ability for Clearwater or Fundy Gypsum or any of the companies that are representing themselves now and saying to them, look, the regulations are being developed in the public domain, not in private conversations, the we, they, private, public discussion we just had a moment ago, not closed-door meetings with industry only, excluding the public or vice versa, but open opportunities for business to assess the impact of regulations, to make their submissions and have a department with enough common sense to respond to that, both in terms of compliance schedules and in terms of the detail of the regulations.

Therein lies, I think, a better process. For us to take full responsibility for business impact testing on every piece of legislation, and only us, I think, would be a mistake and I don't think it would lead to anything but attack for the way in which we did it because it would be so dependent on the conclusion.

There is no question that the issue of driving environmental industries - we have talked in our Cabinet and in caucus about the importance of every minister being a minister of economic development - there is no question that the passion for solving environmental problems in the first instance is with the Department of the Environment. We have more interest than any other department in finding a solution to, whether it is Halifax Harbour or anything, because we want to help solve those problems, both prevention and technology, in the event that prevention does not solve all of the difficulty.

So, it is critical to franchise the economic development to all ministers. There is no problem in having the Minister of Health, in terms of emergency health services, thinking about exporting the product world-wide. In fact, that should be encouraged. The concept of centralizing decision making on environment, as my esteemed colleague, the Leader of the New Democratic Party said, bringing from DNR people over to Environment so that we can do the forestry thing properly, and separating regulatory from development roles, I think that is faulty. I think what we should be doing is developing, in each and every department and in every citizen of the province, that balanced view of sustainable decision making that allows our people to know where the line is, develop technologies, but stay on the regulatory side of the line.

The same should exist in DNR. They should have people over there that are concerned about the sustainable management of the forests of Nova Scotia, so that we are partnering up with the Storas and the Bowaters and the other companies that have a world view of sustainability.

When Stora makes the decision to be, and I am sure Bowater has similar documentation, I just haven't read it, when Stora announces that it wants to be seen as the international leader in sustainable forest management, we should be applauding that, as a province, welcoming them as a partner. I know, speaking to Chris and others at Bowater Mersey, that they have the same sense of mission and that is wonderful for Nova Scotia. So we should not take all the people from DNR and bring them into the Department of the Environment and then send them back - or the Department of Transportation. The Department of Transportation has a whole new department now of environmental thinking, environmental reasoning on every project, rather than coming to the department to check that sort of command and control model, which I think we had to go through, by the way, and I am not faulting anyone here. We now have to franchise that kind of thinking out.

You will see in other jurisdictions, in the federal government now and in Manitoba and other places, they have sustainable development legislation which forces every department to comply with certain principles. I think we can achieve the same thing, we may have legislation some day that does that. But we are really talking here about an ethic, a way of doing business in the province and ultimately every citizen has to have that sense of balance.

So every minister and, in a sense, every colleague must be a Minister of Economic Renewal. The comments about not getting into a conflict situation and a turf war over whose job it is to drive environmental technologies, we have to be transparent and seamless. We are a small province, that is our competitive advantage.

When Mobil Oil is here making press releases, I mean they are coming here and complimenting this province on its ability to function as a single unit. There are very few jurisdictions in the world that have that kind of competitive advantage and we should be making maximum use of that. That means that every minister should be able to interface economically and talk economically about the well-being of exporting solutions that we found to be problems here in Nova Scotia.

Just a quick comment really on the issue of the department itself. I think the department, in its 20 year history, has gone through an evolution, one of needing to be a regulatory body to protect the environment from bad things happening to it by business. It became a command and control regulatory agency because it had to find itself. That was its first identity.

The business community, we are blessed in this province that thinks sustainably and sustainability. With the odd exception - and we don't even need to talk about the exception, the bill is well positioned to deal with enforcement - this business community is articulate, has an attitude that focuses on sustainable development. They are paying dollars to make sure they are environmentally conscious. They have a sense of long-term commitment to this province. We, as a partner, have to work out a relationship that is different than in the past. That is the natural evolution of a department called Environment, which still must maintain its regulatory function. Its most sacred mission is to serve nature, that ultimately is the constituency, but it can do so in a way that in 1994 partners up with business and does not lose sight of the ultimate responsibility, if and when the business, in particular, develops a problem.

So I listened full well to the precautionary advice that has come through in the last hour about making sure that when we implement, we do so with this focus and that focus and another focus and I appreciate that very much.

I will just end very briefly here by saying there is no question that the effect on four ministers, former ministers opposite and Environment Critics, the effect of working with and being part of this department is something that literally changes your perception of many things for a long time, perhaps forever. It is a great honour and privilege to be part of it. It has been a tremendous learning experience to build public policy and legislation this way. My compliments really go not only to the members of this House, to the critics and former ministers opposite, but to the public of Nova Scotia whose Act this is, because of the participation of all those people all the way along, this is their Act, our Act as a province and it has been a great privilege to be part of the process of building it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would move third reading. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 115. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[10:09 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O'Malley in the Chair.]

[3:52 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 Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Statements by Ministers.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to advise the House of a job creation effort that the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs has now begun.

Approximately 150 jobs will be created through the Winter Works Program, (Applause) which was announced by the Honourable Ross Bragg a few weeks ago. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Economic Renewal Agency for making the funds available to our department and I commend the minister for his efforts.

I also understand the Honourable James Smith will be making an announcement on additional jobs some time in the very near future.

These jobs will be spread throughout the Province of Nova Scotia and those hired will be upgrading our public housing units.

With this program, we are targeting, Mr. Speaker, people in greatest need. Our intention is to provide income to those who have perhaps exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits or those who are receiving municipal or provincial assistance. We believe this will provide a vital economic boost for communities right across Nova Scotia and, more importantly, it will provide people with self-esteem that comes to us through employment.

While these jobs are short term, I believe they will provide some much-needed relief during the winter months. We expect the jobs to last 10 to 12 weeks.

Applications will be available through the 19 housing authorities located throughout Nova Scotia. If anyone would like information regarding this program, they can contact their local housing authority or their nearest office of the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs. On Monday I will be tabling applications for all members of the House of Assembly so that they can supply their constituents with the proper information.

Let me close by saying, once again, how pleased I am to be able to participate on behalf of my department with regard to the works program. The work will be done through our public housing units which will be of great benefit to the tenants but also, through maintenance, great benefit to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia had the second highest economic growth rate last year, Mr. Speaker, and I believe beginning in 1995 with the job creation program, will give us a great start to this one. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The minister took three minutes. Three minute responses would be in order.

The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I will be very short, Mr. Speaker. I am delighted that the Minister of Housing has made this announcement today. While it is true that 150 jobs is not a great many jobs, certainly every job that is generated is important. I presume from his announcement that this program will be spread across the 19 units so that it is not being concentrated in any particular constituency. So that is another welcome move by the minister.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to seeing this program in action because I know that there are a great many senior citizens' housing projects at the present time that could, indeed, stand some routine maintenance and this will certainly fill the bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I also rise to compliment the minister on this announcement. I think that unquestionably these jobs will be certainly a big help to those people who will be the successful applicants. There is no question that repairs to public housing units would be a positive contribution to that kind of public housing stock in any community in the Province of Nova Scotia. I just say that I applaud the minister and the government for coming forward with this statement. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on Monday, we will be sitting from the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The order of business following the daily routine will be Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

I move that we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

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

The House will now rise to sit again at the hour of 2:00 p.m. on Monday hence.

[The House rose at 3:59 p.m.]