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January 18, 1995


Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mr. Gerald O'Malley

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to commence this afternoon's sitting at this time. We will begin today with the honourable Premier to introduce two distinguished visitors in our midst.

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN SAVAGE (Premier): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to welcome to this House, and to ask the House to do the same, two individuals from Niger in Africa. They are over here doing a deal with a well-established Nova Scotia company, Etruscan Enterprises Limited and I want to introduce Professor Boureima Ousmane who is the Minister of Mines and Energy for the Republic of Niger and Mr. Issouf Baadhio who is a lawyer for the L'Office National des Resources Minieres, the state owned mining company. (Applause)

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









MR. SPEAKER: 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 a University of Ottawa study on health released yesterday stated that the provinces can provide quality of care for much lower cost; and

Whereas the report offers many useful ideas of how this goal can be achieved such as simply borrowing each province's efficient ideas and practices; and

Whereas an issue emphasized in this report is that community services must be in place before large institutions are dismantled, both to ensure good care and to minimize the impact of unemployment by absorbing hospital workers;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians recognize that they have indeed been correct in worrying about the state of our health system and they are right to protest the loss of hospital beds, health professionals and services before the new and improved ambulatory services, enhanced Home Care Program and retraining of our health professionals is instituted.

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 Sinclair Allen of Halifax recognized, from his earliest years, that he could accomplish more for himself and others by working in solidarity on labour issues, issues of the disabled community and political questions; and

Whereas Sinclair Allen provided local, provincial and national leadership by example and experience through some 50 years of participation in the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, Canadian Labour Congress and Canadian Paraplegic Association, among others; and

Whereas many thousands of Nova Scotians have gained immeasurable benefits from the stronger grassroots organizations and specific accomplishments that resulted from the dedication, commitment, principles and inspiration of Sinclair Allen;

Therefore be it resolved that upon the death of Sinclair Allen, this House expresses its sympathy and its recognition of his many accomplishments to his wife, family, many friends and associates.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The request is for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for 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 mayors and a number of locally elected municipal councillors came to Province House this morning to discuss the Liberal Government's proposed legislation, that would merge the four municipal units in metropolitan Halifax into one local government; and

Whereas members of the Opposition attended this meeting to hear the concerns being expressed by local councillors; and

Whereas no member of the government caucus, despite being invited well in advance of the meeting, bothered to attend this very important session; (Interruptions)

Therefore be it resolved that if the Minister of Municipal Affairs plans to proceed with metro amalgamation, that she and her government do it through the democratic process instead of force feeding it upon the municipal units and creating considerable anger and anxiety that is not necessary.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.


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

Whereas Marine Atlantic in North Sydney recently hosted its annual health fair for its employees and their families on the ferry Caribou, the flagship of Marine Atlantic fleet; and

Whereas this fair focused on healthy lifestyle choices, including fitness tests, advice on nutrition and smoking cessation programs; and

Whereas the success of the event was due to volunteer participation from Marine Atlantic, Northside General Hospital, the YMCA and the Department of Health;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers and volunteers of the Marine Atlantic Health Fair for their commitment to health and wellness promotion.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that there be waiver of notice?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.


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

Whereas the 1994 Annual Nova Scotia Home Awards Ceremony is being held today at the World Trade and Convention Centre; and

Whereas these awards recognize outstanding achievement throughout Nova Scotia in the field of housing by homeowners, designers, builders and developers; and

Whereas the recipients will be presented their awards by the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, the Honourable Guy Brown;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the recipients of the 1994 Nova Scotia Home Awards for the contribution they have made to improving the quality of housing in our province and the excellence in design, construction, renovation and restoration of housing throughout Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.


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

Whereas Digby's Pines Resort Hotel experienced an excellent tourist season last year and the Minister of the Economic Renewal Agency has authorized the implementation of phase two of a major renovation plan; and

Whereas renovations include refurbishment of 20 cottages, improvements at the golf course, and further alterations to areas of the main hotel; and

Whereas improvements at The Pines Resort Hotel are necessary to maintain the hotels international reputation, provide direct benefits to the local area and indirectly impact on the economy of the region;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly applaud the support of the Economic Renewal Agency for improvements at The Pines Resort Hotel, as the management and staff prepare for what is anticipated to be an even more successful 1995.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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.

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 United Nations index shows that Canadian women endure one of the largest gaps in the world between their living conditions and those of the overall population; and

Whereas this government has recognized women's inequality, including lower pay, less opportunity for advancement, fewer support services, much greater likelihood of violence and a double standard on matters like maintenance enforcement; and

Whereas the Advisory Council on the Status of Women is urging all Nova Scotians to speak out against any further dismantling of federal programs that support women's independent research, advocacy and action;

Therefore be it resolved that this House joins the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women in urging the federal government to provide stable funding for independent women's organizations, rather than perpetuating inequality by dismantling women's programs.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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.

The honourable member for Hants East.


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

Whereas last Friday, the new SepraChem Plant was officially opened in Windsor, Hants County, by Premier John Savage; the Minister of Economic Renewal, the Honourable Ross Bragg; and MP John Murphy on behalf of the Honourable David Dingwall, federal Minister of Public Works and Minister responsible for ACOA; and officials from SepraChem Incorporated; and

Whereas the SepraChem initiative was one of the first projects developed by this government in cooperation with ACOA, which further verifies Nova Scotia's claims as a centre for research and development; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has been chosen because of the province's transportation infrastructure, educated work force, high quality colleges and universities with research capabilities, available real estate for commercial development, local skilled-construction firms, sophisticated banking and professional services and positive provincial and federal support for businesses;

[2:15 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Economic Renewal initiatives of this government and extend a warm Nova Scotia welcome to SepraChem Incorporated for locating a world-class drug manufacturing and research and development facility in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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

It is agreed, apparently.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member of Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.


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

Whereas on January 15th, a new Cable TV program, entitled, Tales of the Eastern Shore, was launched by the residents of the Eastern Shore to showcase their region and promote tourism to the area; and

Whereas Tales of the Eastern Shore is a new and creative program designed by residents of the Eastern Shore and hosted by Keith Colwell, the local MLA; and (Applause)

Whereas this new TV show presents a pictorial look at the history and scenic aspects of the Eastern Shore and introduces viewers to the shore's many creative and talented artists;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the MLA for the Eastern Shore and all those involved in this bold effort to promote the Eastern Shore as a prime Nova Scotia tourist area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.

Is there consent?

It is agreed, apparently.

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

The motion is carried.

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 Colchester County residents face a tax hike of at least 15 per cent due to this government's failure to implement the promised provincial-municipal services exchange and single-tiered social assistance; and

Whereas Colchester County meanwhile must wait like a mushroom to see if the province will seize without compensation the court-house where the county offices are now located; and

Whereas only the most dictatorial government would attack the roots of our democracy by subverting and over-taxing local governments;

Therefore be it resolved that Liberals elected with promises that consultation would be their hallmark should start genuine consultations with Colchester residents and all other Nova Scotians whose tax bills and effective local democratic governments are now endangered by arbitrary Liberal dictates.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.


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

Whereas on Information Morning this week, competing verbal volcanoes erupted from the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the NDP as they fought over who talked longest and loudest during debate on the Gaming Control Act; and

Whereas as the lava spewed, every reasonable listener concluded that when these two talk, more is definitely less; and

Whereas the Tories and NDP would have Nova Scotians believe the debate is an attempt to improve the legislation but now we know it is really just an Opposition war of utter attrition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House install a time clock and hire an official timekeeper to measure the hours of rancid, redundant rhetoric so the Tories and NDP can declare a clear winner following this turgid contest of pompous posturing and political one-upmanship.

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 Housing and Consumer Affairs Minister honoured the winners of the 13th Annual Home Awards today; and

Whereas this year saw the greatest number of entries and the largest number of honourees in the five distinct categories; and

Whereas submissions were judged by a panel of experts in the field of housing;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly extend congratulations to all entrants and winners including Solterre Design for Cow Cottage in Cow Bay, Halifax County, for receiving honourable mention in Category 1B, Home Unit Design.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.


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

Whereas the Colchester County Historical Society has recently published an historical book entitled, Colchester Women, which recognizes the significant achievements of 235 women from Colchester County; and

Whereas this book documents the amazing contributions made by women from Colchester County throughout the years, both locally and nationally, and complements an earlier reference book by the society entitled, Colchester Men; and

Whereas this book provides an important insight into the history of Colchester County and will serve as a valuable resource to genealogists and all those interested in the human history of Colchester County;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend the Colchester County Historical Society and the book's author, Beatrice McCallum, for providing the people of Nova Scotia with such a valuable work of history.

I would request waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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 metro residents have been virtually unanimous in their condemnation of the autocratic, unplanned, midnight-madness methods used by this government to break its election promises and impose amalgamation on the entire Halifax County area; and

Whereas the Liberals' and Tories' hand-picked, all-powerful municipal amalgamator claims that consultation is the basis of all of his work; and

Whereas in the same breath that provincial official rejected any alternatives to the Donald Cameron amalgamation model, such as an urban-rural split before he had even held a single public meeting;

Therefore be it resolved that if consultation is the basis of metro amalgamation, pigs can fly and snowballs don't melt at Liberal Cabinet or caucus meetings.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.


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

Whereas teachers have contributed immensely to the growth in the quality of education in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the 10,000 members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union are celebrating 100 years of teaching excellence; and

Whereas projects such as All Saints created by Yarmouth teacher, Ken Langille, display the innovation of union members;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend our best wishes to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union on their centennial and encourage innovation on the part of their members such as that of Mr. Ken Langille.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.


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

Whereas Bernard and Charlotte Gordon of East Ship Harbour in the riding of Eastern Shore presented a petition concerning drunk driving offenses to the Government of Nova Scotia on Monday, January 16th; and

Whereas this petition seeks stiffer sentences for those who drive drunk, particularly repeat offenders; and

Whereas Mr. and Mrs. Gordon have suffered first-hand the effects of drunk driving in the tragic death of their daughter, Karen;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the courage and determination of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon and the 29,107 individuals who have signed this petition.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.


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

Whereas the former Leader of the NDP once stated in the form of a resolution, be it resolved that the Premier and the members of his government state boldly that they oppose the move of the Nautical Institute to Port Hawkesbury and demand that the institute remain in the Halifax-Dartmouth area; and

Whereas the people of Cape Breton were insulted by this abrogation of responsibility on the part of the NDP for all Nova Scotians, not just those who live in the metro area; and

Whereas our government is looking at every available option in an attempt to solve the Cape Breton unemployment problem;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House engage a multi-faceted approach to revitalizing the Cape Breton economy and recognize the NDP's hollow defence of Cape Breton's unemployed.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.


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

Whereas Mr. Darren Doucette of Dartmouth East has played three years of minor pro ball in the St. Louis Cardinals' system; and

Whereas on December 23, 1994, Mr. Doucette received his latest Double-A contract from the St. Louis Cardinals; and

Whereas he is scheduled to report to the minor league camp of spring training on March 9, 1995 in St. Petersburg, Florida;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Darren Doucette on his most recent contract and extend best wishes to him for a successful spring training and upcoming season.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.


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

Whereas during the past three years, over 600 students from Eaglewood Drive Elementary School have participated in a jump rope, fund raising event on behalf of the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation; and

Whereas Jane MacDougald, a Grade 6 student at Eaglewood Drive Elementary has won numerous Canadian and international gold metals in the sport of rope jumping in the past three years; and

Whereas in the last three years, the school has raised $34,000 for the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation through its jump rope program, the greatest amount raised by any school across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the school's physical education teacher, Mr. Ed Cooper; the jump rope gold metal winner, Jane MacDougald; and the staff, students and parents of Eaglewood Drive Elementary, who have given generously of their time and energy for the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Now, are there any additional notices of motion or any other business to come before the House under the heading of the daily routine? If not, the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 p.m. I am pleased to advise the House that the winner this afternoon is the honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank. He has submitted a resolution, as follows:

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the positive impact that this government's community economic development policy is having on the economic climate of Nova Scotia.

So, we will hear on that matter at 6:00 p.m.

The time now being 2:30 p.m., the Oral Question Period this afternoon will run until 4:00 p.m., 90 minutes.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.


MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. On December 19, 1994, the minister will remember the announcement he made when he signed a Memorandum of Agreement with ITT Sheraton to operate two casinos in Nova Scotia, in Halifax and one in Sydney and with great fanfare the minister said in his statement in the House, "Casino gaming brings thousands of direct and indirect jobs - well paid, secure jobs - to Nova Scotians.". Can the minister explain why it is many jobs he promised to Nova Scotians will, in fact, go to Americans?

MR. SPEAKER: I must caution the House before we pursue this line of questioning that it appears to duplicate a matter on the order paper, namely Bill No. 120. I trust that no questions or answers will duplicate the debate on that bill.

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, nothing could duplicate the debate on that bill. (Laughter) Very clearly, the agreement in principle which we have signed with ITT Sheraton and which was made public and I am sure is in the hands of my learned friend, very specifically indicates a number of things on employment and we are confident that will ensure the employment of Nova Scotians in the vast majority at the casinos both here and in Sydney.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I haven't gotten any assurance from the minister about the jobs to Nova Scotians. I have in my hand a copy of an advertisement that was placed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on December 28, 1994 and January 1, 1995, in Las Vegas, advertising the jobs that pay well, general manager, director of human resources, director of casino operations, it goes on and on. All of the jobs that I looked up that pay a lot of money, all of those jobs are listed. Can the minister explain why these jobs that run from $60,000 to $185,000, can he explain how it is that the very top jobs in Halifax and Sydney are advertised in Las Vegas and will go to Americans? Can the minister explain that and I will table the advertisement. (Interruption)

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it has always been recognized that the very senior management positions for the casinos will be performed, at least initially, by people who have experience with these types of jobs. The very most senior management positions at the casinos will be performed initially by experienced people. If there are experienced Nova Scotians, either here or in Las Vegas, then obviously they should be given preference. Indeed, subsequent to the initial hiring, a very firm, strong, Affirmative Action Program to hire Nova Scotians will be in place.

One of the advantages that we have with this particular operator is that we just don't have to take their word for it, we just don't have to rely on a signed agreement, we have a track record to examine. I suggest to you if you examine the track record at their operation down at the hotel here, you will be very comforted with their indication that Nova Scotians will be employed.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, a lot of unemployed Nova Scotians will have a lot of comfort in knowing the fact that this ITT Sheraton is advertising in the United States for the top jobs. I want to know and Nova Scotians want to know what guarantee is in the agreement with ITT Sheraton, never mind the track record, what provisions are in that agreement that require ITT Sheraton to hire Nova Scotians and provide opportunity for Nova Scotians in these jobs that the minister had promised?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the agreement that we have reached with ITT Sheraton indicates that, not only with respect to employment but also with respect to supply of materials during construction periods, not only with respect to Nova Scotians generally in the employment picture but also with respect to the visible minorities in this province that a very firm, strong, specific, Affirmative Action Program will be in place. I can tell you that one of the duties of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation will be to ensure that this happens at the casino sites both in Halifax and in Sydney.

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


MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Justice. As I begin my question I say to the minister that we believe very strongly that programs like the diversion program that the minister announced earlier and the community service programs are extremely important and essential programs. They are crucial if we are, in fact, going to have the programs that are going to be assisting in truly providing correctional services in an alternative to incarceration.

In that light, Mr. Speaker, of course the minister will know better than most of us that the importance of these programs, the credibility of these programs and their survival will depend on their credibility and reliability.

My question really to the minister, given the importance of those programs, could he explain how it is that Guy Robart was given a chance or sent to serve his community service in an elementary school, given his record of violence?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, it was a judgment call made by the Probation Service and the probation officer. There was consultation with the preschool involved. It is my understanding that there was agreement that Mr. Robart could serve his community service there. In fact, he did serve at least 70, if not 83 out of the 100 hours ordered under the provisions of his sentence.

MR. HOLM: There does appear to be some confusion over what was and what was not known. I am not really trying to get into that. I am trying to be very careful because I am very supportive of these kinds of programs.

My question, if I could, in terms of my second one to the minister is, does your department have guidelines or policies that direct the probation officers on what is or what is not an appropriate placement for those who are to serve community service? If they do, were they violated in this situation?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, there are general guidelines but they are not very tight, because of the nature of community service work. You cannot write in every contingency that might come along. A lot of common sense by the experienced probation officers is counted on.

In retrospect, it might be that the general spirit of them were violated but I don't think at the time of the placement it was felt by that probation officer in the service that the rules were violated.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I guess my view is that really the guidelines need to be very stringent, very tight, to ensure the appropriateness of the placements of those who are to be serving or doing community service.

My question to the minister is quite simply this, will the minister guarantee that he will go back and instruct that those guidelines be reviewed, with a view of ensuring that they are tight and, in fact, ensure that there will be screening to guarantee that the placement will be appropriate?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I certainly would be glad to do the reasonable things that the honourable member suggested, to try to see that the screening is appropriate. That makes common sense. I think that the guidelines should be reviewed. I think they are general, maybe a little too general. But, at the same time, I think I must caution that as I said earlier, if we tried to write in every contingency, we might not have a decent program at all and you would be no (Interruption) Oh, I didn't say you were saying that, I am just trying to express a concern.

I would certainly be happy to review it with my senior officials in probation, to see that we do what is right and continue programs such as diversion and community service type sentences.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance as well. It relates to the advertisement that appeared in the Las Vegas Review - Journal on December 28, 1994 and January 1, 1995, in which ITT Sheraton Casino Operations, Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, was seeking people to apply for a number of jobs in the casinos here in Halifax and in Sydney. There is no question, Mr. Speaker, as you will see from the item tabled, as will the minister, we are not talking about just a couple of jobs, we are talking about general manager, controller, director of human resources, director of property services, director of casino operations, director of marketing, director of security, director of surveillance, engineering manager, public relations manager, cage manager, slot manager and miscellaneous manager.

The advertisement in Las Vegas indicates, among other things, "Relocation assistance to Nova Scotia, Canada will be provided.". If you are interested, you write to Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite, so and so, Las Vegas, Nevada.

I took a look at the Nova Scotia Casino Project outline, which describes those various jobs which are advertised in Las Vegas and without having a few of them filled in here, the minimum pay for those positions, with four of them missing, is $624,000. The maximum pay for those jobs is over $1 million.

I would like to ask the Minister of Finance if he can tell me why it is that no such advertisement has appeared in Nova Scotian newspapers to seek applications from Nova Scotians for those jobs which are worth in excess of $1 million?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable Leader of the Opposition may be leaving the impression that because the advertisements were run in Las Vegas, that all of those positions will be filled automatically with people from Las Vegas. The advertisement . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: I bet a lot of people in Sydney get the Las Vegas newspaper.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, if this ad happens to appear in the Mongolian daily news, will he suggest that all the positions will be filled by Mongolians? Let me tell the honourable Leader of the Opposition that all of these positions - if the NDP would be quiet for a moment - will be advertised in Nova Scotia and, indeed, in other parts of Canada.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, I wonder if the minister could explain why it is that it is now Wednesday, January 18, 1995 and he is now getting around to offering an assurance here that advertisements for these positions, worth $1 million to $1.5 million, will be posted here and in other places? It did not take ITT very long to go right to the source in Las Vegas. The advertisements appeared December 28th and January 1st. So ITT is, again, if I may say so, in this particular instance, weeks and weeks ahead of the minister.

Can the minister then tell me, when will these advertisements for these very good paying jobs appear here in local Nova Scotia newspapers, so that Nova Scotians have an opportunity to be considered for these positions?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, due to my duties in the House, I will not be placing the ads myself. But I can tell the honourable Leader of the Opposition that they will appear shortly. There is nothing magical about this. There are some senior positions in the casinos that are not going to be filled by Nova Scotians, unless we can find Nova Scotians with that kind of background and experience, at least not right away. But there is a very clear commitment made. They will be advertising in Las Vegas, I suppose, because there may be some people in Las Vegas with that kind of background and experience. I suppose that is one of the reasons they are advertising in Las Vegas. But those advertisements will also appear here and in other parts of the country shortly.

MR. DONAHOE: We want the jobs and we want them advertised here. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order. The proper format for Question Period is one speaker at a time. The honourable Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

MR. DONAHOE: I ask the Minister of Finance if he will tell me and all Nova Scotians, when will these advertisements appear here in Nova Scotia? If he is tempted to respond to me that that is ITT's chore and not his, will he, if in fact that is what he believes to be the case, give me that commitment that he will, today, communicate with ITT and ask if those advertisements be placed immediately?

MR. BOUDREAU: Well, I think I have to tell the honourable Leader of the Opposition that I will not be placing the ads myself, but I certainly have no problem contacting ITT. I don't know whether it will be today, but if it is not today, it will be tomorrow. But in the meantime, I can assure the honourable Leader of the Opposition that that will be the case.

I want to read just very briefly - and I will table and send him a copy of the specific provision that applies in our agreement - it says, "Nova Scotia Content - Virtually all positions within the proposed operations will be available to Nova Scotians who have the requisite qualifications to fill the positions or the aptitude and enthusiasm to participate in the extensive training program." - and this is the commitment from our partner, ITT Sheraton - "We are committed to continuing the employment record enjoyed at the Sheraton Halifax Hotel where 85 - 95% of the staff are Nova Scotian and 3 out of 4 members of management have been trained and promoted from within. We anticipate that in the initial stages of the operations of the Casino that Senior Management will be industry professionals from outside the Province with the intent to train and promote local staff whenever possible.".

[2:45 p.m.]

The final line, Mr. Speaker. "We are committed to employ local contractors and utilize local suppliers provided the services and materials can be provided or performed on a reasonably competitive price basis, are reasonably available and can be completed timely.". (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: I hear many voices. I am looking for the honourable member for Kings North to make his question, please.

The honourable member for Kings North.


MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you, I would like to ask the Minister of Finance a question. My question to the minister, on December 19th of last year, you indicated, "The permanent casinos in Halifax and Sydney will create 1,072 full-time jobs.". I would like the minister to indicate what guarantee the contract with ITT Sheraton that these jobs will indeed be full-time jobs, 40 hours a week, and that they will not be casual, part-time jobs?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the number of jobs were full time equivalents, although I am informed that virtually all of them will be full time, but that is the commitment that ITT Sheraton has given. The gaming corporation, which the legislation now before the House will establish, will have that as one of their responsibilities, to ensure that the facilities that are built and the employment profile follows the commitments that have been made.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I would like, Mr. Speaker, through you again to the Minister of Finance, does the minister have any guarantee from ITT Sheraton that these minimum wage type jobs, that we have a list of them here, will also include benefits to the employees, and what benefits are the Sheraton prepared to include with these wages?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, we have not and we will not be involved in the negotiation of wages either with individual employees or in fact under collective agreements if, in fact, their organization occurs at those facilities. Those facilities will be managed by ITT Sheraton and they will be in charge of these responsibilities.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you, again to the Minister of Finance, when we look at the list of salaries and wages that are going to be paid, we see the ones from Las Vegas are paid many thousands of dollars; the ones that are available to the local people pay less than $10 an hour, most of them in the $7.00 an hour range. I am wondering, will the minister please rethink and go back - he promised full-time jobs and they would be good jobs - and make assurances that they will be full-time jobs and that they will include benefits?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, we intend to see that an operation is conducted at both sites which conforms to the commitments that have been made to us. We are going to do that by means of a gaming corporation, once the House has decided to pass the bill. Those people will have that specific, clear responsibility and ongoing duties.

Mr. Speaker, the people who are hired at the casinos are not going to be civil servants and they are not going to be employed by the Government of Nova Scotia. They will be dealt with in a business-like way and if they organize and have collective bargaining, they will bargain their arrangements. In the meantime, we will see that the commitments are lived up to.

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


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice and it has to do with the terribly unfortunate placement of an adult serving community service time in a pre-school situation and I want to ask the Minister of Justice about that, if I may.

This is a situation, as you may be aware, where a man awaiting trial for an alleged role in the beating of Darren Watts, who admitted on the stand his part in the Kelly Wilneff murder, who was convicted in taking part in a swarming of Halifax police officers, and I took the trouble to make contact with the principal of the school in which Mr. Robart was placed. My understanding is that the minister's official indicated he spoke to a teacher there and asked if it would be all right if there was a placement of a youth in the program who was to do the community service time.

I want to ask the Minister of Justice if he will make inquiry to determine whether or not that in fact is so, that the school was told that the person to be placed was a youth. If he finds that that was what was said to the school, would he be prepared to ensure that administrative changes are made to guarantee that that could never happen again because it is just simply not appropriate? The person in question is in fact an adult and not a youth and I ask the Minister of Justice if he would commit to make those inquiries and ensure that if that story is accurate, that it simply could never happen again? Will he do that?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly be prepared to do that. It is my understanding that before Mr. Robart went there, that the principal in fact was aware of it. But in any event, the principal was aware before the time that Mr. Robart left, which was yesterday, and he didn't request that he be removed in any event. But I will be glad to review with the experienced probation officer involved and the probation service to see just how the thing happened and to try to make sure that the placements are as careful as possible.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to get overly argumentative with the Minister of Justice but what he just said, if I understood him correctly, is absolutely wrong. It is because the principal became aware of the fact that Mr. Robart, who was known to the principal, was there under these circumstances that he, the principal, Mr. Vanroy Tobitt, took the steps to make contact with this minister's department to say, I don't want this situation to continue in my school any longer and why is he here.

So, with the greatest respect, if the minister is saying to this House that his officials have advised him that the principal was well aware and was completely happy to have this all go on, he had better go back and talk to his officials and he had better fire whoever told him that because it is wrong. I might suggest that the minister might take the time and the trouble to speak to the principal himself. I ask the Minister of Justice again if he will immediately make inquiry, including a contact with the principal, to ensure that this situation simply does not ever happen again. Here is a very serious situation where this is an adult serving community service time being placed in a situation which common sense says is just simply not an appropriate place for him. Will the minister ensure that a more appropriate placement is made immediately?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I certainly would be glad to do that. I didn't mean to imply in any way that the principal of the school was very happy that Mr. Robart was there. Of course, in retrospect, it would seem that it probably wasn't a proper decision, it may have been better that Mr. Robart might have been placed with some painting assignment not involving people. But the decision was made again by an experienced probation officer who is familiar with the community. It is easy to second guess here. Now fortunately, nothing untoward happened, thank goodness, and the matter is over and the person was removed. I will certainly double-check and triple-check to see if it is humanly possible that this type of thing doesn't happen again.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Justice would give an undertaking to this House that he would ask immediately, ask his staff to do an assessment of every single community service placement that is now underway, to ensure that there is not a similar or equally inappropriate placement in place in the province at the present time. Would the Minister of Justice give that undertaking?

MR. GILLIS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I hope that the placements are appropriate and I am sure that in most, if not in all cases, they are. But again, is it, I am sure, within the human limits of the probation officers that they would be more than happy in the service, to review as quickly as possible all the placements to see that they are appropriate and to see that nobody is affected in any difficult way because of the placements. I will be glad to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.


MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my question is also directed to the Minister of Justice but on another matter. In May 1994 fees for corporate name searches at the Registry of Joint Stock Companies were drastically increased, from $5.00 per transaction to $35 per search. In that very same month the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies incorporated a company by the name of Namecrest, to start up a business in carrying out such joint stock searches. One month later the Joint Stocks Registrar resigned, going into business under that Namecrest corporate umbrella, taking full advantage of the policy change implemented in his final days as Registrar.

The minister is well aware of this and has had a couple of weeks since a letter of complaint was written to him about this matter. My question to the minister is whether he has determined if this bit of entrepreneurship on the part of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies violates the post-services requirements of the conflict of interest legislation?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, in a general way I recall the correspondence. On the basis of the reply which I believe has gone out to the person who was in touch with me, there is not a conflict of interest and proper procedures are followed. I don't think this person has done anything to violate the Act but I would certainly be glad to double-check just to make sure that that is so.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think there is a great deal of concern about the specifics of this case but also about whether this is the kind of creative public/private partnership that we are going to see this government sponsoring more and more and favoured people cashing in on.

My question to the honourable minister is whether he reviewed this matter himself and came to the conclusion that there was no conflict of interest or, did he do the appropriate thing and refer it for the full consideration of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I did not refer it to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner because based on the correspondence, as I recall it, there seemed to be no clear evidence to suggest there was any conflict of interest.

I might also add, and as I recall, I am going from memory, within the last couple of days there was an ad that appeared, opening up the whole field to anyone, any person who wanted to offer these types of services. There is certainly no closed shop for any employer, any former employer or anybody else. It is open, it is a free opportunity and it is some innovative way we are trying to proceed.

I think you will find that there is an openness but again, I would be glad to examine the file to see if there is any perception of conflict of interest. I would certainly refer the matter to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, if there is any evidence, based on the material that I have, that that is so. I welcome the member to give me any material that she thinks supports her contention.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think I understood the Justice Minister to be indicating that he would refer this matter to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. I would ask the minister to refer to the relevant section in the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act which makes it quite clear, in Section 24, that there is, indeed, intended to be restriction on any such activity on the part of a senior public servant. Yet, even in advance of this public servant leaving his post, he proceeded to incorporate a company that has taken full and direct advantage of a policy change in which he was clearly involved himself. So, I would ask the minister if he would agree to table in this House the information on the basis of which he concluded that it was no conflict of interest and also to confirm whether he is prepared to refer this matter to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner?

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. GILLIS: I am not able to table in the House the reasons or the information on which I based it, it was an impression I received from carefully reading the correspondence that I received from, you could say a complainant and my answer, it didn't seem it would be there. What I did undertake to do in earlier response to the honourable member is to review the file and to see if it would appear that there is an apparent conflict of interest and in that case refer it. So, I have nothing that I can table for the honourable member's interest. In fact, I suggested to her that she give me her evidence but I will undertake to check the file and make the referral if it seems necessary on the basis of the information available.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is also for the Minister of Justice. I wonder if the minister would confirm for this House that it is his intention to reduce the number of Provincial Court sitting locations from 36 to 24 and the number of Supreme Court sitting locations from 18 to 12 and the number of Family Court sitting locations from 25 to 24 and in the process be eliminating Lunenburg and Middleton? Would he confirm that?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: All of the decisions have not been made but in an effort to live within our means we are faced with the reorganization and it may mean that there will be fewer court sittings. But in general the Small Claims Court, the Family Court and the Provincial Court will remain in many of the locations they are now and the Supreme Court sittings will be generally held at administrative centres if that is the final conclusion with the option of the court to sit at other locations if the justice involved so desires.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, it occurs to me and I am sure to the Minister of Justice as well, I am sure he has had discussions with his officials to the effect that if the kinds of changes which we are talking about here are, in fact, made that it will undoubtedly result in a great many more delays, potentially anyway, a great many more delays and procedural wrangling relative to access to the court system which is difficult already without further being exacerbated. I wonder if the Minister of Justice would be able to tell me today when it is that he proposes to table the plan with the precise detail as to the administrative changes that he and the department propose to make will be disclosed?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, it is certainly not the intention of any court reorganization to have delays, it is to, in fact, to improve matters. I am sure the honourable Leader of the Opposition would recall that the court reorganization proposals were started and commenced and much of the work was done under ministers in the government of which he was a part. In fact, part of the program not only is to make changes in where the courts might sit but also a program of renovating and upgrading and improving and, in fact, building some new court facilities so that there will be additional courtrooms and there will not be delays and that justice will be more available, not less available.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, more availability as opposed to less availability is the very issue and it is not every day that Nova Scotians are in a courtroom and engaged in litigation matters, be they civil or criminal but when they are they are, in many cases, exceedingly traumatic and they are very important to those involved and affected. Being from a rural part of the province, this Minister of Justice will know that particularly in many parts of the province without a regular, some might say adequate bus service, access to the court system will be difficult for many. Can I ask the minister through you, Mr. Speaker, what steps if any is he proposing to take or at least even reviewing with this officials to address that serious problem of transportation and access for rural Nova Scotians should these changes in the court administration system be made.

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, we think access is important and there is no intention especially with the courts that are most frequently used - Small Claims Court, Family Court, Provincial Court - to cut down that access to such an extent that people are not able to receive justice in their own community. Even the Supreme Court hopefully will be relatively accessible. I think we have to keep in mind that we are heading for the year 2000 and what was appropriate in the year 1900 when people travelled in different ways and not by motor vehicles, in particular, that people can move a little distance to access certain courts and certain facilities. I think we have to be realistic but again the bottom line for me is that in general we are not going to move the courtrooms too far away from the people who are seeking to have their trials heard or their matters heard before a court. They will be relatively close but we cannot have one around every corner, especially now when people have abilities to move a reasonable distance to go to a court.

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


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, again, if I may, to the Minister of Justice, it is my understanding through you to the minister, that the minister is considering a reduction of the total payroll for Prothonotaries and Registrars of Probate to the extent of approximately 25 per cent. I wonder if the minister could confirm that and indicate what the total payroll is for those employees, Prothonotaries and Registrars of Probate?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I do not have those figures. I try to carry more important information around in my head, not that. But in any even, when the distinguished and able Minister of Finance presents his budget for 1995-96 and once we finish with certain deliberations we have now, and we have a budget, all that information will be duly revealed.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Prothonotaries and Registrars of Probate will be delighted to learn that the minister does not think it is important information that he knows what they are paid.

Well, to refresh the minister's memory, if I may, through you, Mr. Speaker, the total payroll for Prothonotaries and Registrars of Probate across the province is approximately $2.5 million. If there is a reduction in that amount by the Minister of Justice of approximately 25 per cent, that is a reduction of about $625,000. At the same time, it is my understanding that the minister is proposing to renovate and build 12 new administrative centres at a cost of almost $50 million over the next 3 to 10 years. I want to ask the Minister of Justice if he can explain the juxtaposition between a purported saving of $625,000 by way of reduction of salaries and firing people on the one hand as against an expenditure of $50 million on new facilities. Can the minister confirm for me that we are going to reduce the Prothonotaries and Registrars of Probate by 25 per cent, save $625,000 and spend $50 million on new facilities?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, one might say that the question is hypothetical. The member is making up his figures and we are expected to accept the fact that there is going to be such a 25 per cent reduction from whatever the figure is now. Well, there is going to be some reorganization. I implied that, in the courts across the province. We may well have less Prothonotary offices and Probate offices and that is so but the member is trying to have it both ways. He made a great plea to the members of this House about the importance of having justice close to the people and not having unnecessary delays and when there is some money proposed, whether it is $50 million or some other service, he said for administrative centres, certainly the money that we are pointing towards is for court facilities. I don't know if it is $50 million, some amount, but we have to provide more courtrooms so there are not delays.

So the Leader of the Opposition cannot have it both ways. We want to provide better facilities so a person's day in court is not delayed and that we get on with the job in general in a fair and even-handed way.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, I am sure somebody might have understood that response but I do not include myself in that group, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if by way of final supplementary, if the minister might advise whether or not the $625,000 in savings, if he reduces the Prothonotaries and Registrars of Probate by about 25 per cent, has taken into account layoff settlements, severance packages and the administrative costs of implementing the 12 new justice centres which, I understand, are proposed by his ministry?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, not only is this hypothetical, a person is not supposed to ask questions in detail about the budget in the House once it is proposed. We do not even have a budget for 1995-96 and it may be a month or two away and I am getting grilled in here about a hypothetical reduction of $625,000. I think the member should wait until the Minister of Finance has a chance to present his budget and I will be prepared to answer any questions at that time. (Applause)

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I heard on the television news last night and again on the radio this morning, that the federal Liberal Government has made the decision to dismantle and, in fact, demolish the partly constructed Airport Hotel.

I wonder if the minister can confirm for me today, that in his talks with Ottawa, it was confirmed to him that one of the reasons the hotel had to come down was because of the G-7 Summit and the visitors that will be arriving in Halifax later this spring?

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Well, Mr. Speaker, I have had no discussions with the Honourable Doug Young, the Minister of Transport for Canada, regarding the hotel.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, one of the key individuals who was working on seeing the project completed, and I am sure the minister knows, was Annapolis Valley businessman Don Wallace. The Premier, of course, knows him quite well, too, because he accompanied him to Korea in March of last year.

He is calling the federal government's decision to spend $1 million of taxpayers' money, stupid. Mr. Wallace was very optimistic and, in fact, very confident that he would have the necessary funding to complete the hotel within two or three months.

MR. SPEAKER: Come to the question, please.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker. So, if the hotel is not being brought down and subjected to the wrecking ball because of the G-7 Summit and the minister has indicated that he has not talked to the federal minister, I wonder if the minister has been talking to any bureaucrat in Ottawa, or even a federal colleague who has given him an explanation as to why the hotel is being destroyed?

MR. BRAGG: I think he probably should go back to Mr. Wallace and get his information. This was a private sector proposal. We had some discussions with Mr. Wallace about trying to assist him in attracting some investors for the project. We, Mr. Speaker, had nothing to do with this project financially.

Let me add this, and the member opposite, being a new member of their caucus, probably does not realize this, but when his team was over here, there was a policy that they did not interfere financially in the hotel industry in metropolitan Halifax because they did not want to unfairly upset the natural balance of survival in the hotel industry. That was their policy.

One of the few policies they had that we kept, we chose to abide by that policy because we think it makes a little bit of sense. So we are not involved in the hotel project financially. We have offered to assist Mr. Wallace. He has known for many months that he had to raise the financing to assist the development of this project. It is not our project. We assisted him in any way that we could but, ultimately, it is a deal between Mr. Wallace, who was the successful bidder on the project, and Transport Canada.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister is quite correct that I am a new member to this Legislature and when my team, as he says it, was over there, I was not in here. The past can't be changed, I should warn that minister, and the future and the present are in that government's hand and the sooner they recognize that, the better.

MR. SPEAKER: Is this the question?

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: That is the question?

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, no, that is not the question. That was somewhat a brief editorial comment - something that is not uncommon, I realize, around here. As I understand it, the G-7 Summit leaders will be flying into Shearwater. That is the information, I understand. For the life of me, I cannot understand why they would tear down a hotel up at the Halifax International Airport to appease the vision, so to speak, of international leaders.

My question is simply this. Does the minister think there is any room left for negotiation to keep it standing until Mr. Wallace confirms whether he has secured the necessary funding for the completion? I would hate to see a private, $0.5 million parking lot created up there at the Halifax International Airport.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. BRAGG: Well, Mr. Speaker, I will try not to editorialize or offer editorial comment, like the member opposite did, especially in answering the question. I think that is part of the Rules of the House.

The hotel in question, I don't know whether they are going to tear it down because of the G-7, nobody has told me anything. I don't think that has been stated, that it is because of the G-7. But, you know, they say that the leaders are going to land at Shearwater. I don't know that for a fact that they are landing at Shearwater, then that is obviously not the reason they are going to tear it down at the Halifax International Airport. I think there are some other reasons that the federal government has chosen to do this.

Mr. Speaker, he is talking about the policy that I identified, that came from the previous administration and perhaps we should change it. Is he advocating to the hotel industry of metro that we get involved in financing hotels and changing their policies and upsetting the (Interruptions) I assume what he is saying is, that the Tory caucus would like us to get involved in financing the hotel industry in metropolitan Halifax. I don't think the industry supports that position.

Mr. Speaker, I would love to see that project go ahead. It is not our project, it is the federal government and it is Mr. Wallace. For us to interfere in it would be unfair to that balance that we are obtaining in Nova Scotia in metropolitan Halifax, in the hotel industry. It is a decision. Mr. Wallace has had ample time to go out and arrange his financing. I think if you check with him, he has known for some time that he had the opportunity to finish this project. He was awarded the opportunity many months ago to do this project.

I think it is up to Mr. Wallace, who is the successful proponent and the federal government to negotiate something, not the provincial Government of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to direct a question through you to the Minister of Natural Resources. It is on the whole question of the uranium moratorium that was put in place back in 1982, I believe it was, and has been renewed at least once, if not twice, and is about to expire in January 1995.

When I raised this matter with the minister back in November, the minister indicated at that time that he had a report on his desk from the Interdepartmental Uranium Committee and that he would be waiting to review their recommendations before the Cabinet would make a decision.

I would like to table a letter that was sent to the Honourable James Barkhouse from the Honourable Robert S. Harrison, Minister, that talks about this issue. It says, and I refer to this, "The Committee's recommendation . . . " and I am talking about the Interdepartmental Uranium Committee, ". . . with respect to the moratorium is that there is no scientific or technical basis to warrant such and hence it should be allowed to lapse in January 1995.".

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: Yes, I will. What that says very clearly, is that the committee is going to be recommending that be allowed to lapse. I would like to ask the minister, if he would agree at this time to ensure that that decision is not ratified by the Cabinet and to leave in place indefinitely the uranium moratorium?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, no.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I must say that this matter, when it came up and was dealt with by the public in the late 1970's and early 1980's, was a matter of some considerable concern across this province, in terms of the environmental and health impacts of uranium mining and development. I am concerned that we have not gone forward with the further processes that were outlined by the original task force to deal with some . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Is this the question?

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . of the questions that had to be considered with respect to this whole issue. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Question.

MR. CHISHOLM: My question to the minister is, that at least he could do this before any decision is made with respect to the moratorium . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I hear no question. If I don't hear a question . . .

MR. CHISHOLM: I am asking my question, Mr. Speaker, if the members will allow me to ask it.

MR. SPEAKER: Let me hear it then.

MR. CHISHOLM: My first supplementary question to the minister is, if he would agree to release the report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Uranium before any decision is made by Cabinet to allow the moratorium to last?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, this matter is going to be discussed at the Cabinet level and when a decision is made at the Cabinet level then we will proceed. I appreciate the member's comments. I realize that this is obviously a very sensitive issue and we are trying to deal with it in a very sensitive manner.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the minister says and I take him at his word that they will deal with this in a sensitive manner. The question of these recommendations and the extensive report that has been prepared by the interdepartmental committee has been available since July and we are looking perhaps at a very important decision that might be made with respect to this report within any day now. I would like to ask the minister if he would, again, please give some consideration and assurances to this House, and to all Nova Scotians that are concerned about this issue, that they will not make the decision to allow the moratorium to lapse or otherwise change the situation there with respect to the moratorium until that report is released publicly and the public has an opportunity to have some input in the decision?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, this is a very sensitive issue. For that, I want to make public to this House and to the public of Nova Scotia that the mere fact that no decision is made and come January 31, 1995, that the moon is not going to fall from the sky nor the sun all of a sudden go out. The reality is that the moratorium will stay in place until such time a decision is made. Whether the decision is made in January or whether the decision is made in the year 2010, the moratorium will stay in place and that there will be no mining of uranium in the Province of Nova Scotia until such time as the province makes that final decision itself. In regard to the public issue, we are very sensitive to the issue of the public and a consultation that surrounds that issue, and obviously, we are looking into all sorts of aspects in regard to the public awareness as to the report.

I just want to make it very clear again to the member for bringing the matter forward and to the members of this House and to all Nova Scotians, that there will be no uranium mining at the end of January 1995 or until such time as the government of this province makes a decision in regard to the outcome of uranium mining in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.


DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. This morning in the Red Room, Mr. Bill Hayward, the Commissioner for Metro Amalgamation met with a number of elected officials from Halifax County and some MLAs. He began the process, I think, of perhaps smoothing out the road for metro amalgamation. He did confirm that his timetable still allowed for the amalgamation to occur on April 1st of next year and, as well, he mentioned the election to be held for the new council in the fall of this coming year. He also made it abundantly clear that his consultative process is slipping into high gear. My question for the minister is will she confirm again that she will be introducing the metro amalgamation legislation this spring and, specifically, will that legislation be reflective of Mr. Hayward's recommendations when they come forward?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, yes, the legislation for the amalgamation of the Halifax metro area is to be introduced in the spring session and, yes, it will take into consideration the recommendations that come from Mr. Hayward, as those recommendations will be coming from a consultative process that he has with the public in this area.

DR. HAMM: To continue with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Mr. Hayward today indicated that his mandate allows him to make public his recommendations which he will be delivering to government and allowing some form of consultation with the general public. My question to the minister, will the minister commit not to draft any legislation until public reaction to Mr. Hayward's recommendation is available to her?

MS. JOLLY: Well, Mr. Speaker, I fully intend and expect that we will have public input all the way through the process. The piece of legislation that the honourable member is asking about and the recommendations that will come forward will be based on the discussions that Mr. Hayward has with the public. I surely would hope, and I am sure that is what they are asking for, that we have and allow the public to have input.

DR. HAMM: Again to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, bearing in mind that Mr. Hayward has said that he will make his recommendations available to the public for scrutiny. Will the minister undertake to make draft legislation available for public scrutiny before it is tabled in the Legislature?

MS. JOLLY: I think it is the responsibility of the government to govern the province, the individuals, the citizens of the province, elect a particular group of people to do that governance. The bill that will be drafted and the bill that will be brought forward will be based on the public consultation that the coordinator has with the public. So, certainly, Mr. Speaker, there will be ongoing input into that piece of legislation through the coordinator that the government has appointed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.


DR. JOHN HAMM: To continue with the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The metro amalgamation poses questions for all residents of Halifax County but one of the questions to be addressed by residents certainly of the less densely populated areas in Halifax County is whether or not they can receive adequate municipal representation as part of this super-city complex. My question to the minister is, depending on the decision made by rural residents in their discussion with Mr. Hayward, is there an option open to these rural residents to have their areas join adjacent municipal units rather than join the super-city which is proposed here in metro?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: I believe the coordinator has already expressed that as part of the discussion that will be ongoing when he meets with the public in those outer regions that in actual fact that will be part of the discussion and part of the consultative process that he will have with those particular regions.

DR. HAMM: Again, to the minister, the confirmation I was looking for is that if, in fact, that is the decision made by the rural area that the minister would allow that to happen in her legislation. In terms of the options that will be available to the rural areas of Halifax County my question to the minister is, if a sizeable portion of rural Halifax County opts out of the city merger, is an option available to them to form a new municipal unit, a rural unit which would take up the remainder of Halifax County and exclude the truly urban centres which are now in Halifax County which obviously would become part of the super-city? In other words, could the residual part of Halifax County form a separate rural municipality?

MS. JOLLY: I believe the intentions and in all honesty what the public have been asking for is less government. The honourable member is suggesting that we not downsize or reduce the number of municipalities and try to amalgamate and incorporate units into a stronger more viable government. He is in actual fact suggesting that we should create more levels of government, create more municipalities.

Mr. Speaker, that is certainly not the intention of the public and the people that I have spoken with. As I have said on a number of occasions, and I believe as the coordinator has said, there is going to be a discussion with those individuals in the outer region.

As for his first question that he asked, there is a consideration there of whether those individuals will become part of the new Halifax metro amalgamated area or whether they would join the adjoining municipality which is on the other side. But I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, it is not our intention to start creating municipalities.

[3:30 p.m.]

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to clarify with the minister, I was not putting forward this as a suggestion. I was merely asking the minister if, in fact, it was an option. I was not necessarily a proponent of that idea.

By way of final supplementary, in view of our discussion about the options open to residents in the less densely populated areas of Halifax County, has the minister discussed with municipal units adjacent to Halifax County, the possibility of portions of that county joining their municipal units and if she has had those discussions, what has been the reaction?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear that what the government has done is appointed Mr. Hayward as the coordinator to deal with the questions of amalgamation in the Halifax metro area. That is what the government has done. The coordinator will be talking with all of those individuals who live in those outer regions, to have discussions and review and see what those individuals want. I don't think either the coordinator or the government can presume what the answers to those questions will be until the coordinator has had a chance to speak with the public.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.


MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. After almost a year and one-half of requesting and pleading and begging for a meeting, the minister agreed, and I thank him for that, to meet with Dianna Parsons. I think that meeting took place last week.

I wonder if the minister would confirm that he discussed with Mrs. Parsons the possibility of compensation at the conclusion of negotiations with the federal and other provincial Ministers of Health?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I believe Mrs. Parsons had some comments in the press to make about this meeting. I would confirm those were accurate comments. The position of this government vis-à-vis compensation is unchanged.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. I would ask the minister if he will confirm that compensation would be extended, not only to Dianna Parsons, but to all those Nova Scotians who contracted Hepatitis C through tainted blood?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable gentleman opposite knows that I have made my position and the position of this government quite clear in this House concerning compensation. I have spoken at some length about equality of access and equality of treatment and equality in terms of whatever the health policy might be. I will confirm that, of course, all people would be treated justly and equally. I reiterate, however, that compensation in terms of Hepatitis C is not being considered by this government. I have said that to those who have asked and in this place.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister said that compensation is not being considered by this government, but he led Mrs. Parsons to believe that there are discussions going on with other Health Ministers across the country, that there may be a package. I am now confused because I thought that is what he said. That is going to take some time to settle with the Krever Inquiry and all of that.

In the meantime, I wonder if the minister would give assurance that all of Dianna Parsons health needs, as a result of her Hepatitis C contracted by tainted blood, in the meantime, until this whole issue is resolved, if he can assure Dianna Parsons and everyone that her health needs will be met and that he will assist or the government will assist on making sure that all her health needs are met until such time as that overall issue is dealt with?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, it is the intent of this government and this ministry to ensure that the health needs of Nova Scotians are met, period. If there are special needs that we must address, we will address them under the structure that is available so that no one goes without, in terms of health care in the province. I have stated that and I state it again.

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


MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you, to the Minister of the Environment. Of course the Minister of the Environment will know that the Tidewater quarry has breached its operating permit. The residents in Waverley have been fighting the whole issue of the quarry in Waverley for what seems to be as long as I can remember.

Now we know that Tidewater has exceeded its allowable amount of rock that it is allowed to take from that quarry, according to the permit, by over twice the amount.

My question to the minister, since he has said he is going to be very diligent to make sure that permits, et cetera, are enforced - the permits of his department - has the minister now revoked Tidewater's permit to operate that quarry, at least until the whole issue can be resolved of their breach of the existing permit?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, as indicated in this House in the past, we will, as a department, ensure that stipulations of any and all permits are enforced to the letter of the law and the intent. We are in communication with the Chairman and President of Tidewater. We have written him, prior to Christmas, asking for a voluntary solution to the problem of exceeding the 90,000 ton cap on the permit quarrying limit. We have had a response and we are in the process of writing him and declaring our intentions, in terms of the stipulation of that permit.

MR. HOLM: It is my understanding that yes, the department had, in fact, written to the operators of Tidewater and that they were to reply by January 6th with a voluntary plan and that when they did reply, they did not, in fact, provide a plan.

My question to the minister, given the fact they are permitted by the permit to extract 90,000 tons, they have already taken, last year, 218,000 tons, which is more than their quota for last year plus this year, will you at the very least suspend their permit for this year, until the amount in excess of the permit that they have extracted has been caught up to?

MR. HARRISON: As I indicated quite clearly a moment ago, in response to his first question, we intend to ensure that the stipulations of this particular permit and all permits are honoured in the Province of Nova Scotia. We are communicating for the second time with the owner of the Tidewater quarry to ensure that the stipulations of the permit are enforced.

MR. HOLM: So in other words, they are being given a second chance to comply. My final question to the minister then is quite simply this, why was it that his department had not been monitoring the Tidewater quarry operation, in terms of compliance with the permit? Why was it that it was the residents in the community who had to come forward and extract the information? Why wasn't the department on top of that, if you are going to be strictly enforcing and monitoring your permits, as you say?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for the Environment Critics across the floor but there is one thing that I think is extremely important when one has that role, that is to not mislead the public of Nova Scotia when one is attempting to defend or critique.

The honourable member knows that a consultation community committee was set up. That committee meets literally monthly with members of the community, that the monitoring activities of the quarrying operation, in respect to the stipulations of the permit, is done on a regular basis. It is done in a number of way, it is confirmed by Natural Resources.

The owner himself of the quarry, as the honourable member knows, admitted the overage, in terms of the tonnage taken. As I have indicated in the answers to the previous two questions, this department will enforce the stipulations of that permit. Communication is ongoing with the owner of the quarry. As soon as that information is made known to the owner of the quarry, in terms of our departmental response to the violation of the stipulation, we will make it known to the people of Nova Scotia, though this House.

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Justice. Recently there has been some confusion as to whether it is okay for women to use pepper spray to protect themselves from the criminal element. There is no question that protection for women must be paramount. We can only look back at a recent incident where an 80 year old woman was assaulted and had her wallet stolen. There have been recent incidents at the shopping centres in both Halifax and Dartmouth where women were attacked getting into their car. Recently, a Crown Prosecutor said that the verdict was still out on pepper spray. The President of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women believes pepper spray should be permitted to be used by the women to protect themselves.

My question for the Minister of Justice is have you or your officials looked into this matter with federal officials to see about the possibility of pepper spray being allowed for the use of self-defence?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to check with my officials. I believe, as it stands, it is a prohibited material and I would be glad to check with my officials in the police section of the Department of Justice to get their views and to hear in fact the views of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women or any other group.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I want to make it clear to the minister that I certainly don't support in any way, shape or form, the use of the pepper spray in a mischievous form. It can be dangerous to one's health but as far as women being attacked, that is also dangerous to their health. I would like to ask the minister if he is not supportive of the pepper spray, perhaps he would be supportive of allowing women to use the milder form (Interruptions) I realize he didn't say that but he did say that it is somewhat prohibited. So, I am wondering if the minister is supportive of allowing women to use the milder form of tear gas as a self-protective (Interruptions) There is a mild form of tear gas and that minister probably knows and perhaps members of this Legislature don't know but there is a mild form of tear gas and I was wondering, perhaps his colleagues haven't heard of it, I should ask the minister has he heard of this mild form of tear gas then?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I can't honestly say that I have heard of the milder form of tear gas but as long as it is not laughing gas, I am certainly prepared to check with my policing officials to see if there is a type of tear gas that could be used that is not a type of material that might be used by criminal elements for their own purposes, be they female or male, but I will certainly check with the policing department.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious issue and I don't think anybody in this House would argue that the incidents of violent crime against women seems to be very prominent. I know the minister certainly appreciates that and I would very much like him to look into the whole issue of pepper spray and perhaps a milder form of tear gas. I think the minister gave me an indication that he would do that but would he go one step further and table that information back with the House?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, it is a very serious matter. Violence against any human being is a very serious matter, especially women, especially the vulnerable and I will certainly undertake to see what uses could be made of pepper spray in some form or a milder form of tear gas or whatever and I will make the information available to all members of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.


MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. The board of directors for the Strait-Richmond Hospital is reported to have said that patients needing blood work, x-rays or physiotherapy, will not be served at the facility unless their physician assists in its out-patient department. Has the minister looked into what I think and I am sure others think is a very threatening situation to the residents around that hospital in Strait-Richmond?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable gentleman opposite refers to a situation at Strait-Richmond in which there is some difficulty at staffing the out-patient emergency facilities. Our department is trying to assist in every way in the provision of service there and we continue to meet with them. I am not apprised as of this moment that any policy has been announced by that hospital. I certainly will check into that however.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. MOODY: I thank the honourable minister because I do think it could be a very serious situation. I understand there are 4 out of 10 area doctors currently working at the hospital in the out-patient department outside of their office hours. Will the minister ensure today that patients of physicians who do not serve the Strait-Richmond Out-Patients Department, or serve on-call maybe to Antigonish or Arichat clinics, will receive necessary treatment? In other words, if you go there for treatment and your physician does not work in the out-patient, will the minister ensure that whatever policy they put in place that these people will receive treatment?

DR. STEWART: Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I cannot conceive of an incident in which someone would present to an emergency department or an out-patient facility in this province and be refused treatment. That certainly would be our guiding principle.

MR. MOODY: Well, Mr. Speaker, the minister, I am sure, is aware of the Canada Health Act, universality is one of its principles and one he supports. What the board of the Strait-Richmond Hospital have said, and this could be considered not an emergency, but I am talking about blood work, physiotherapy, x-rays, which are important.

If they live in that area, even though their physician does not work there in out-patients, will the minister make sure that those people have access to those facilities, as well as those whose doctors work in out-patients? So we are talking about maybe not an emergency as the minister described, but tests that are very important. Will he make sure that they are available to anyone in the area?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I certainly would consider this a question of accessibility and universality. I am not sure of the document from which the honourable gentleman is quoting or reading. If this is an official document from the hospital, I would ask him to table it. If not, I certainly would like to know his sources. I have not been apprised by that hospital of any change in policy, but I certainly would take it under advisement.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you of course, is to the Minister of Human Resources. The Minister of Human Resources will recall that the Minister of Health, a few weeks ago, created a new position within his department and that position is Physician Advisor to the Minister. The successful person hired for that new position was Dr. Dan Reid at a cost of $115,000 per year. The Minister of Human Resources said at the time, the terms of reference for the contract were not complete. I am wondering today would the minister be prepared to table the terms and conditions of the contract for Dr. Reid in the House?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think it has been stated in the past week or two that details of contracts are confidential information and they will not be released.

MR. ARCHIBALD: To the honourable minister, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I was wondering if the minister would tell then if she will not release the terms and conditions of the contract, whether and what exactly is the compensation or severance pay in the event that Dr. Reid loses his position before the contract expires?

MRS. NORRIE: That, Mr. Speaker, is a detail of the contract that I have said will not be released.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Through you, Mr. Speaker, I must voice my displeasure at the answer. However, it is the answer and I guess I have to take it. May I ask another question to the minister, through you, of course?

Negotiations between the Medical Society and the Department of Health have resumed. Could the minister tell me whether Dr. Dan Reid is one of the Department of Health's negotiating team with the Medical Society?

MR. SPEAKER: To which minister is this final supplementary addressed?

MR. ARCHIBALD: That was to the Minister of Human Resources.

MRS. NORRIE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, that is a personnel concern within the Department of Health, and I would suggest that the Minister of Health should be directed the question.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health, do you wish to respond?

DR. STEWART: Frankly, no, Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to respond because there is no real answer except that our negotiation team is being formed at the moment.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.


MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Community Services. The minister is aware that a number of parents of children with mental handicaps are very frustrated and dissatisfied with the review of the Children's Training Centres that took place and, has now reported, and that failed to deal at all with allegations of physical and sexual abuse of their children in at least two documented incidents. They were told that the review committee did not deal with those because they were outside of the terms of reference.

More recently the Minister of Justice announced that the terms of reference to the Judge Stratton investigation into provincial institutions providing care for children had been expanded to include the Children's Training Centres but the Minister of Community Services will know that the emphasis announced for the Stratton investigation were the years 1956 to 1970.

Can the Minister of Community Services assure the parents of children with mental disabilities who have concerns about sexual and physical abuse, that their concerns to deal with incidents that occurred in recent years will not also be considered outside of the terms of reference of the Judge Stratton investigation and, therefore, again not be addressed?

HON. JAMES SMITH: It is a very long number of questions, Mr. Speaker. I will try to do as well as I can with it. There were some disturbing comments in the question, relative to documentation of sexual and physical abuse. Certainly, I am aware that there was alleged sexual abuse and it was investigated. In fact there was a criminal trial - I am sorry, there was not a criminal trial, there was a police investigation and also there were specialists in child abuse involved from the IWK Hospital. There was also a grievance relative to a matter of where we had removed a person from work, that there was concern about abuse.

So, Mr. Speaker, the report we have received is the work of a very competent group of people, Dr. Peter Camfield and his committee. We have accepted that. It is my understanding that the current investigation under Judge Stratton will be looking at any matters that arise relative to abuse or the quality of care within these institutions.

As I say, I am trying to follow most of the question as she covered different areas of that. If she can be more specific, I will try to address them more specifically.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, I guess I am frustrated, too, because I had a very particular question. It is true that I gave a preamble to give the background. My particular question, which I will repeat, if necessary, is whether the Minister of Community Services can assure that the Stratton investigation will, in fact, address the allegations, the alleged instances of physical and sexual abuse, that were brought before the Review Committee on Children's Training Centres and were considered to be outside of the terms of reference? Can the Minister of Community Services assure that these incidents will not now be ruled outside of the terms of reference of the Stratton investigation, on the grounds that they occurred in recent years and not during the years 1956 to 1970, which have been stated to be the principal target of the Stratton investigation?

DR. SMITH: I have stated, Mr. Speaker, that certainly it is my understanding and, as the member would know, I have no ongoing relationship with Judge Stratton at this juncture. Certainly it is my understanding that he will look at all matters relative to care of children institutionalized in these facilities. It would be very surprising to me to find out that if he, reviewing this report and finding it deficient, as she is pointing out, in her opinion, that he certainly would be aware of these matters and would be addressing them.

I would certainly give my assurance for that. It is my understanding at this time that that is so. If I find differently, I certainly would bring that matter to the House.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is even more narrow and specific and that is with respect to the institutions that have now been included in the Stratton investigation. The Minister of Community Services and, subsequently, the Justice Minister, indicated that the Children's Training Centres in Sydney and in Dartmouth were to be included, but no mention was made of the CTC's in Pictou and Digby.

I wonder if the minister could indicate whether, in fact, the Pictou and Digby centres, which, of course, were in operation during many of these years that are under investigation, will also be included and are intended to be included in the Judge Stratton investigation?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that that would be so. On occasion, there were staff transferred between various institutions and that would be a normal course of events that would take place. I suppose that there would be many other institutions that one could think of, but we have tried to define at least the areas that have been the obvious concerns to parents and we certainly have discussed this with them.

I might say that as far as other issues, the broad issues, any other information that is brought before Judge Stratton, I am sure that he will be responsive to it. If the member has other information I would advise her, also, to bring her information forward so that Judge Stratton could view it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.


MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you, I would like to ask the Minister of Agriculture a question. In November, I asked the Minister of Agriculture a question concerning the hog industry, because I am representing an agricultural district in the province and we have a hog killing facility in our county and we also have a great many hog farmers. They are very interested in the question that I asked in November. The question was then, the cost of production is exceeding the price that is being received by the farmers at the present time.

I indicated to the minister that the hog producers were having a very difficult time making ends meet at the current level of prices. My question to him was, what is the minister doing at the present time to effect a change in the price of hogs so that the farmers can again make a profit? He indicated that he would be having a meeting of provincial Ministers of Agriculture and the federal minister, in December. I am just wondering if the minister would be able to report to us the findings of that meeting?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question. With the severe drop in prices that the hog industry has seen in the last quarter of 1994 as I reported earlier to the House last October, I met with the Nova Scotia Pork Council to discuss these critical low prices. Again, in December, at the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia Pork Producers, I announced at that time that I would be announcing a special assistance program to help the hog industry.

At the present time, our department is looking at announcing or finalizing the final details of this special program that will be announced by the end of the month. I certainly undertake to provide the honourable member with the full details of this special program.

MR. SPEAKER: We have one minute remaining.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I do want to thank the Minister of Agriculture for his information. I do want to remind him how important the hog industry is to Nova Scotia's economy and how important the breeding stock is for Nova Scotia because Nova Scotia farmers do produce the highest quality of hog that is available anywhere in the entire world. So I do hope that by the end of this month, the minister will have a plan so that the hog producers in Nova Scotia can continue to produce the high quality hogs that they have been accustomed to. Thank you.

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I do have another question. I would like to direct my question to the honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications. I want to know, as does W. Gardner of Northport, Nova Scotia, why are portable scales, when used by Department of Transportation and Communications inspectors, not federally inspected by the federal Transportation Department.

Mr. Gardner wants to know how portable scales are able to give an overweight commercial vehicle ticket, if they have no verification from the federal department?

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. RICHARD MANN: They are provincial scales and he wants to know why they are not federally inspected? I missed the last two questions, Mr. Speaker, but I will see if I can find out for him why the provincial portable scales used by the inspectors are not federally inspected. I will attempt to find out.

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


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to call back Bill No. 134. We would like to continue debate on that bill, as indicated in the outline.

I just realized, Mr. Speaker, I probably did not send you a copy of the time, would you . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Well, the agenda would be appreciated. I know the custom is to circulate it. You are asking me at this time to call Bill No. 134.


Bill No. 134 - Disabled Persons Access to Voting Facilities Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The debate was adjourned by the honourable Minister of Supply and Services, who I would presume can resume the debate now.

The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in the 10 minutes that I have allotted to me on this particular bill. I have a number of things that I want to go through.

As you have read the title of the bill, Mr. Speaker, it is an amendment to enable persons suffering from a physical disability, more convenient access and a greater right to vote in provincial and municipal elections.

Mr. Speaker, I want to spend some time referring back to the spring, actually the summer, of last year. I put a bill into the House, Bill No. 45, which dealt with a fair number of amendments to Chapter 300 and to the Revised Statutes of 1989, the Municipal Elections Act. That dealt with some of the very concerns that have been raised in this particular piece of legislation. So, in actual fact, the government has dealt with a fair number of issues and a fair number of requests that have been put forward by the disabled community.

Mr. Speaker, a number of the things we put in there come as a result of, after each municipal election, the Chief Electoral Officer, with a group of individuals - the people who participate in the election - sit down and have a meeting to deal with concerns and issues that have arisen from that very election. Because of that, we, in actual fact, the government generally, but certainly we took a very long study and a very thorough study of issues that had come forward from the previous municipal election. We were able to put in a bill that has been assented to by the Lieutenant Governor on June 30, 1994.

Mr. Speaker, in that bill, that piece of legislation that I introduced late last spring and that has been passed, there are a number of issues that it dealt with, but there are three key ones that I want to go through today in the debate on this particular bill. I know that not all members have a copy of the bill in front of them, Bill No. 45, that I introduced and that has been assented to on June 30th, but I will refer to certain page sections, so that honourable members will have an opportunity to refer back to that, if they would so choose.

Three of the key areas of many, that I wanted to address today, Mr. Speaker, (Interruption)

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if the Minister of Municipal Affairs can re-engage an introduction on a particular bill? I wonder if it is in order that she is now standing up and introducing a bill that has already gone through this House, passed through this House . . .

MS. JOLLY: I am not introducing it, Mr. Speaker, I am referring to it.

MS. MCDONOUGH: . . . to now do a detailed litany of what was passed in legislation last year, instead of dealing with the bill before us. My question to the honourable minister is, whether, in fact, that is in order?

MR. SPEAKER: The question of whether something is in order is addressed to the Speaker, not to the person who has the floor.

I would recognize the honourable Government House Leader on this point of order.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, the former Leader of the New Democratic Party, who I think just spoke while not in her own seat, which is a contravention of the rules, certainly was out of order. I don't think there is any rule in this House about making reference to legislation that had been previously passed that dealt with issues raised in another piece of legislation. It is done here every single day and I don't know any rule that is on the books that would prevent one from making reference to another piece of legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: I wish to rule on the point of order that was raised. What we are now dealing with is a Private Members' Public Bill for Second Reading. The standards therefore that apply to the second reading debate of this bill are the same as apply to second reading of any bill in this House: they allow a wide-ranging debate on the principle of the bill.

I would suggest that the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs has barely had time to even get warmed up for her remarks. She is only five minutes into her remarks and she is commenting in a general way on the principle of the bill as I understand it and, certainly, considering the usages that have been observed in this House over the earlier part of the session up until today, I think it is almost unduly harsh to jump a member five minutes into their speech when they are speaking on second reading of a bill and not permit them the opportunity to address the bill. I would say that the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs is quite in order in my view and should carry on.

MS. JOLLY: I think what I am trying to do, and this is some of the difficulty we have with the Third Party in the House, they refuse to review and see what has already been done. Governments have already brought forward some very important pieces of legislation and important amendments to this very bill, the Municipal Elections Act, that they want to suggest there needs to be more. I just want to confirm to the public and to other individuals that in actual fact we have addressed some of the serious concerns that were put to us previously by the disabled community with regard to elections.

I will go through those, Mr. Speaker, three of the key issues that I was referring to. One of them is that we made adjustments to allow a proxy vote. We've increased and extended the proxy vote quite significantly, so that an individual who is disabled, who is ill, who is not able to get to a particular poll in a certain area does have the option to vote by proxy. This is one of the areas that had been asked of us as a government and one of the things that we have brought forward to assist the disabled community.

One of the other issues that we have brought forward, which I think is crucial, is the fact that we have actually introduced mobile voting stations. It has been extremely important for some disabled individuals, rather than them having to come to the polling station we have now amended legislation, just in the last year, to allow the polling station to go to those individuals. Mr. Speaker, that has given an opportunity for a lot more people who have some difficulty of getting in and out of polling stations to be able to get their vote and have their vote registered. They can do it by proxy, but in actual fact they can also now attend the mobile polling station. Those mobile polling stations may be established in a hospital, a sanatorium, a home for the aged, a licensed nursing home, or an institution for the care and the treatment of the chronic diseased.

It is possible that, in a particular area, if there is a group of individuals that don't want to vote by proxy that in actual fact there is a mobile polling station that they can use, that can be utilized, that can be set up by the returning officer to enable those individuals, the maximum number of individuals to exercise their right to be able to vote in an election.

The other thing that we have put forward which I think is important and is something that had been requested, is the ability for persons to amend the list of electors by phone. This is something that hadn't been there before, and individuals can call in and find out how their name has been registered and in actual fact they can then change or make adjustments to that electoral list by phone. I think these are three of the key areas that we have tried to bring forward to address the very issue of disabled individuals being able to get to polling stations.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to mention that I did receive a letter from Mr. Laughie Rutt, who is the Executive Director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Nova Scotia, and he as well had asked some questions and raised some concerns about Bill No. 134 and the availability of access to people with a disability. I have written back to that honourable gentleman and suggested to him that we in actual fact will be reviewing, ongoing, not only the things that have been raised in Bill No. 134 which we feel are important but, as well, to look at any other areas that we generally are made aware of, that we are advised of, after the most recent municipal election which happened just last year.

In that particular letter to that honourable gentleman, I have stated some of the issues and concerns that have been addressed to us. I have told him that the accessibility to polling stations is certainly very important and it is possible that each polling station can have a transfer certificate available for those in a district who don't have as good access as they would like to have, that they would be able to vote in another polling station that does in actual fact have the accessibility that they would prefer or that they would like. So, there is availability for some of that transference but certainly we would be more than willing as a government to deal with issues that are arising from the concerns that have been put forward by the executive director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association.

As well, that honourable gentleman, with regard to Bill No. 134 had asked us to look at buildings and the location of some of those buildings. Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, I don't think I have to tell you as an honourable person who has been in the municipal field for some time prior to coming to this House that in the rural municipalities many polling stations can be held in a person's home. In actual fact, we are looking at the availability of putting money to deal with those issues. Mr. Speaker, you have indicated that my time has been used, I certainly would have more items to add to this bill at a future date.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand on behalf of the Official Opposition to speak on this bill. I guess there are two clauses in the bill that are operative; "changes to `physical disability' all references in the Elections Act to `physical infirmity';". The other clause is that convenient access for electors who suffer from a physical disability be provided. I think those are both up to the 1990's in designation for words and for something to strive for for the convenience of those who do have physical infirmities.

One of the interesting things as an MLA is the opportunity to meet with people. Each spring the Abilities Foundation invites me and others to a function in Halifax and then following that on the weekend, another function in Kings North or Kings South or wherever the case may be. They have five themes that are important to people with physical infirmities and they are: transportation, housing, education, recreation and employment. This year they have added a sixth theme as it were and it is communication.

One of the things that is so important is if the Abilities Foundation and we, as Nova Scotians, are successful in making sure that there is transportation, housing, education, recreation, employment and communication; that those who have a physical infirmity have the gift that so many of us take for granted and that is the ability just to arrive at a polling station and mark our ballot. Now, in Kings North most, if not all, of the polling stations are available for people with a physical infirmity; that is, they are either on ground level or there are ramps or there is an elevator so people can go in in a wheelchair or people that have a breathing difficulty can walk in at the proper level and cast their ballot. Those who have a greater wish for convenience in the Kings North district, we would vote at the fire station and that is at ground level and there is assistance for people to get in.

Very few people find it necessary anymore during a provincial election to go to the fire station, I think they told me it was less than a handful of voters who found it necessary to go to the Kentville Fire Station to cast their ballot in the last provincial election because over the years we have gotten better and better and we have become more aware as Nova Scotians of the need for people to have the opportunity to vote at a convenient location and to be able to vote and get in under their own steam without having difficulties that could be prevented.

In the first election that I ran in, it was one of the halls we went to and it was down a narrow stairway, and then turn half way down and then down a few more steps, in one of the church halls. That was the last time we used that facility for voting. I know the people in the church were a bit disappointed, but we found a place that was equipped for people with a physical infirmity so that they could get in and vote without having to be carried down, without a fear of falling or, indeed, driving all the way to Kentville to go to the firehall.

[4:15 p.m.]

That is what we have done in Kings North on a provincial level. But in the federal elections, it is a necessity to have proper facilities so that people can get in under their own steam. Indeed, there is a grant from the federal government to upgrade your polling station, I believe, to make sure that you can make it accessible to people with some kind of a physical infirmity. That is an excellent program and it is something we should all strive for because, as you well know, there is nothing so sacred as the right and the privilege for a Nova Scotian to cast their ballot, whether it is in a municipal, provincial or federal election.

They should not be singled out at all and told no, I am sorry you cannot vote in the area where all your neighbours are, you have to go down the street to vote in this place because that is where we want everybody with a physical impairment. We want to send you all down there. That is not fair and in this day and age, it is not acceptable any more. People must have the right and the privilege and the ability to vote with everybody else. We do not want to set out another class of citizens who we have designated, you can only get there.

Now for some reason, apparently, many years ago that was acceptable because each polling station or each polling district in the provincial election had to have at least one area that was accessible. That is not fair. Just because you happen to have a physical infirmity, it should not mean that I have to come all the way from Scots Bay and drive for 45 minutes to get to Kentville to cast my ballot. That is not fair.

It does not say anywhere in the Elections Act that this election is only for people who are physically fit and can travel up the set of steps and vote. It does not also say that this election is for people that are physically fit or people that have transportation to go for a 45 minute drive into Kentville so they can get into the polling station that is designated for people with physical infirmities.

Those are not the type of rules and regulations that we live under any more. We have changed a great deal. We have come ahead and a lot of it is because of the Abilities Foundation and the work that they are doing. We, as MLAs, also visit with people with other infirmities and, you know, one of the great things about being an MLA is meeting Nova Scotians with difficulties and then, when we do meet and we visit with them, we find methods that we can help as legislators. We can bring in legislation, we can talk about legislation and we can pass legislation that will help people to live a life like everybody else without hindrances, without roadblocks and without the difficulties that they are experiencing.

The themes of the Abilities Foundation are five plus one is six. They make the word there: transportation, housing, education, recreation, employment and communications. They have done an excellent job on communications and I think they should also bring another word forward and that word should be awareness. Through the work of the Abilities Foundation which is kind of an all-encompassing organization, they have communicated with each and every one of us so that we now have a better understanding of the difficulties and the lifestyle that they are living and we also know how to help and how to make changes so that we can be of assistance as legislators.

We are the people that make the difference, whether you are a federal or provincial or municipal politician, you have the ability to assist and make life better for people who are not doing anything except asking to be treated as everybody else. They are not asking for special treatment. They are not saying, you have to bring the polling station to my house. They are not saying, you have to bring it out to the curb. They are saying, we need to be and we should be treated as every other Nova Scotian. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the bill that is before us right now, Bill No. 134, was introduced by the member for Halifax Fairview. As you know, this is the second opportunity we have had to debate this bill in the House. We thought it was important to bring it back today because there were indications the last time we talked about it, that government members supported the principle of this bill in ensuring access for people with a physical disability to have the right to vote and to vote without barrier.

We also understand, Mr. Speaker, that many members of the disabled community have been diligent in contacting members of government and members of the Opposition to encourage their support for this particular bill.

We thought, Mr. Speaker, that it was important to bring it forward again because, as you know, with unanimous consent of this House, any matter at this stage in the process can, in fact, be put to a vote and, therefore, moved on to the Law Amendments Committee.

Mr. Speaker, what does Bill No. 134 provide? Let me read for you, very briefly, what this bill does.

"This Bill

(a) changes to "physical disability" all references in the Elections Act to "physical infirmity"; and

(b) provides that all polling stations to be used in provincial and municipal elections shall be in the premises that permit convenient access by electors who suffer from a physical disability.

At present, the Elections Act and the Municipal Elections Act do not require that all polling stations meet this requirement.".

So all we are asking for in this bill is that people, Mr. Speaker, who have barriers to attending their local polling station based on accessibility, should have the right to vote on their own, without assistance, simply by ensuring that all polling stations in the Province of Nova Scotia be accessible.

I don't think that is asking for very much, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the numbers of Nova Scotians, and it may not be a lot, but I would suggest that it is a considerable number in terms of the fact that there is a barrier that does exist to people for this reason.

Mr. Speaker, we must ask ourselves what is it that disables a lot of Nova Scotians in our society in terms of the way they are able to participate. It is a question of the barriers that are placed in their way. In this instance, we are talking about stairs and narrow doorways, things that prevent wheelchairs from going through. We are also referring to a question of equal access to voting and if we are clearly committed to that principle, then we will get rid of those barriers. It just does not get any more simple than that. Let's remove the barriers for those Nova Scotians that are not able to freely vote in elections in the Province of Nova Scotia and be done with it.

In response, the Minister of Municipal Affairs this afternoon, as she participated in debate, rose to her feet and talked about a bill that was passed in this House last year that obviously failed to do what it is that we are asking. It may, in fact, have done a whole host of other things, Mr. Speaker. That is all wonderful and good, but what we are talking about here are removing barriers that prevent people from having the opportunity to vote in elections in Nova Scotia. Not a major request.

Instead of the government standing up and trying to provide a defense of the status quo, trying to treat members of the disabled community as children, Mr. Speaker, or as second-class citizens of some kind in terms of voting by proxy, that does not deal at all with the whole question of equality and equality of access and that is what we are here to deal with. Let us not forget that we are also talking about elderly people, people who have difficulty getting upstairs, people who have trouble in terms of heart conditions, or their health prevents them from serious physical exertion.

What about mothers and fathers with a number of young children? You and I, Mr. Speaker, have both seen that situation at a polling station where people, you know, turn away in disgust because they have one or two small children, maybe an infant in a stroller and they have to climb stairs and the access is not easy. Unfortunately sometimes, that is enough, in some cases, to prevent people from going in. When it comes to the disabled community, that is not right and we must do something about it.

If there is something wrong with this bill, then let us deal with it at the Law Amendments Committee. If there is something wrong with Bill No. 134 that the government does not like about it, then let us put it to the Law Amendments Committee and deal with it. Simple as that. But if this government is, in fact, committed with going forward and dealing with the problem of access for people with a physical infirmity, then let us deal with it; let us vote on Bill No. 134 right now. Let us not wait until next session; let us not wait until next year; let us not wait until some other time. Let us deal with Bill No. 134, before us right now, that asks the simple question, are we going to remove those barriers or are we not?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I just want to remind the member, he may not be aware of this where he is a member in the city or in an urban area, that in actual fact in many of the rural areas, polling stations are held in private citizens' homes. That is the way it is done in some of the rural communities.

One of the things I was trying to address before I ran out of time was that if we were to have polling stations in citizens' homes, which has been a common practice, that there would be an expense that would be incurred on that. One of the things that would have to be checked is whether that expense could be paid for by the public purse, and those are some of the things that have to be reviewed, and I am not sure the member would understand that.

MR. SPEAKER: While it is not a point of order, it is a point of information.

MR. CHISHOLM: I appreciate that point, but I know in my constituency, for example, there are a whole host of houses that have been made accessible for people with a physical infirmity or a disability of one kind or another. I can point out half a dozen, right off the top of my head, in Spryfield that have ramps that are fully accessible to people in wheelchairs. So, let us deal with the issue right now. Let us put it to a vote. Let us have by a question of unanimity, let us send Bill No. 134 to the Law Amendments Committee and let's do it now.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, before I put the question of unanimity to the House, are there any further interveners? (Interruptions)

Order. Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I found if they wanted to argue back and forth across the floor that I would not have to say anything at all, they could just use the time up that is remaining. There is no doubt that (Interruption) Time is up?

MR. SPEAKER: The time for the debate on Bill No. 134 has expired.

The honourable House Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Yes, absolutely, government members have the right to speak whenever they want to take advantage of the opportunity. They also have the opportunity to avoid . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order. The debate on Bill No. 134 has concluded.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 139.

Bill No. 139 - Trade Union Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: The bill before us today, Bill No. 139, is a bill that probably a number of members of this House are somewhat familiar with. That is because the New Democratic caucus has introduced this bill, or a bill somewhat like this, dealing with first contract legislation and the prohibition on the use of replacement workers during strikes, for this, I believe, the eleventh year. Since 1984 this piece of legislation has been introduced by the NDP caucus in this House.

[4:30 p.m.]

Why have we done that, Mr. Speaker? What is it that we feel it is so important to have first contract legislation and prohibition against the use of replacement workers? Well, because, unfortunately, there are employers in this province - I know it may be hard for some to believe - who will go to fairly exorbitant means or great lengths to frustrate the wishes of employees, who have decided that they want to be represented by a bargaining unit, they want to be certified for the purposes of collective bargaining. They are frustrated in saying, Mr. Speaker, by the unwillingness of the employer to negotiate.

We have had instances where that has happened where employees have been locked out or employees have gone on strike because of the failure to achieve a first contract. You and I both know the kinds of problems caused not only for the employees, not only in some instances for the employers, but also for the communities that are directly affected.

What does this legislation provide for? Well, in the case of first contract legislation, it provides, as a starting point, where collective bargaining has been taking place, that notice has been given and that it has commenced, with very little success, Mr. Speaker. The fact that there has been nothing concluded, the fact that 90 days has passed since the certification of the bargaining agent and upon notice by either the employer or the employee group or union, and if the minister deems it advisable, then he can direct the Labour Relations Board to inquire into the matter and, if it considers it advisable, to settle terms and conditions of a first collective agreement between the parties.

There is a fairly rigorous process set out here in the bill, in terms of how the Labour Board would go about doing that. In other words, it is not a question of, as some would try to characterize first contract legislation as imposing on one side or the other, the will of the government or the will of the other, it is just a process much like other processes that exist within industrial relations in the Province of Nova Scotia and across this country, to facilitate positive and constructive relations between employers and employees, to facilitate positive and constructive labour relations in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is all it does, Mr. Speaker.

Now, the reason why I think that it is important to bring it forward or for us to consider it today is because sometimes when this legislation is presented in this House, it is done so at the time when there is an attempt to use it to apply to a specific dispute that is ongoing. Sometimes the response tends to be from the government of the day or from the Minister of Labour of the day that he or she will not impose themselves in the relations between the employer and the employee group and the government tends to shy away.

As people in St. Peters know, when you look back to the dispute between the Foodland workers and their employer back in the spring of 1990, some considerable distress can be created within a community over this kind of battle. As I believe the now Government House Leader and the member of the Liberal caucus in those days representing that community indicated, that first contract legislation is in fact the kind of legislation that should be considered to try to prevent these kinds of situations from occurring.

I refer back to Assembly Debates of Thursday, April 5, 1990, when that member for Richmond said, and he said a number of other things as well in terms of his labour roots and his commitment to unions and his understanding and participation in disputes and collective bargaining and so on and so forth, he also said, "Those people, a small group of people, were seeking . . .", and he was referring to Keddy's, " . . . a first contract and they were on strike for many months.". And he was saying, "It may be an indication when we see strikes such as Keddy's and strikes such as the Foodland strike, which is closing in on three months, that there may be a need in this province to look and seriously consider first contract legislation.". He goes on and says in another passage, " . . . especially when we have individuals seeking a first contract so that negotiations are done in good faith and serious dialogue takes place.".

In other instances, that member was reported to have indicated his support for this kind of legislation. As he so articulately describes in this situation, in his community a dispute erupted over, as a result of, the employer's attempt to frustrate the employees wishes to bargain collectively. It was clear and simple in that situation, as it is in far too many situations, where an employer simply does not want a union in their shop, does not want a union in their work place, regardless of whether the employees decide democratically and legally that that is what they want to do. That is the problem.

Look if you will at the current situation involving the staff at ATV/ASN, who have been out on strike for five or six months at least, if not longer, over the attempt to negotiate a first collective agreement. An employer who has a reputation for being unwilling to participate in the collective bargaining process, that attempts at every opportunity to frustrate the wishes of the employees, has decided that this group of employees have no legitimate basis for their demands and, therefore, they have been out for some considerable months.

Now, what would be wrong with considering the merits of a piece of legislation like this as one of the instruments within the industrial relations system in this province in order to resolve disputes before they happen? You know, it is just like so many things within the industrial relations process, many of the tools that we have available to us don't often get used. Most of the strikes that do happen get resolved quite quickly.

Most of the collective bargaining that goes on in this country - in fact, upwards of 95-plus per cent and that is before public sector workers have had their rights to bargain taken away from them - most collective bargaining happens and is resolved without resort to strike or lockout. So, we are talking about dealing with very few instances, but a very few, very significant instances. In terms of the stress and distress and disruption on the community, on the people that are involved, it is nothing new. You know, first contract legislation is in place in other parts of the country and it is an important tool to have available to us in order to ensure positive and constructive labour relations.

The other point of this bill is the prohibition on the use of replacement workers, what is normally called or sometimes colloquially called anti-scab legislation. Again, this is not new, this is not ground breaking legislation that we are proposing here. It is something that is in the major industrial jurisdictions in this country: Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. In Quebec, where it has been for the longest, it was brought in, I think, in 1975 or 1976.

Initially, the whole anti-scab legislation idea was opposed by the employers' federations in Quebec. But once they saw it in operation, once they realized that it was a disincentive to those very few renegade employers who fail to acknowledge the rights of their employees to participate in a union for the purposes of collective bargaining if that is their wish - most employers do but there are some that don't - and in this case in Quebec, the employers federation found that what this kind of legislation does is it helps to ensure and maintain industrial relations stability in that province, which is a benefit to the whole economy and that is what we should all be concerned about.

Again, this kind of prohibition exists in Ontario and in B.C. and the lessons have been that is effective in terms of not only preventing that awful display and gut wrenching violence that sometimes takes place on the picket line, but it also operates as a disincentive right off the top to encourage the parties to continue to bargain.

So, Mr. Speaker, as you indicate my time is wrapping up, I would just like to encourage all members, in particular government members, who when they were in Opposition and who when they have been subjected first-hand to disputes around first contract situations, have identified the need for this type of legislation. It is nothing new, it is in existence in other parts of the country, it is important at times like this to bring in these kinds of provisions and let's see if we can ensure that the type of disasters that happened in Foodland in 1990 in St. Peters and elsewhere in this province aren't allowed to happen again.

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to engage, very briefly, in the debate on Bill No. 139. One of the questions that I would have and would hope, as the final speaker from the NDP whose bill this is would perhaps address as they close debate, would be the question as to whether or not, or the extent to which, the substance of Bill No. 139 has been subjected to review and analysis by those who would be most directly affected. What I am really wondering is whether or not the substance of Bill No. 139 has been canvassed and canvassed in a fulsome and realistic way with such organizations as the Federation of Labour, the Nova Scotia Council of Labour, Voluntary Planning, with industry?

We had, in the province, some years ago, as some members will recall, a process which, unfortunately, in recent years, has been allowed to fall on evil times and is no longer available to us; by us, I mean labour and management when we get into disputes. We had a labour-management panel arrangement whereby issues of significance and contention, as between labour and management, were referred. That panel, in my recollection, was able, many times, to address issues of contention between industry and labour, come to a resolution, difficulties at the work site or difficulties, as between labour and management, were able to be resolved.

I look at the specifics of the legislation itself and I find, Mr. Speaker, as you will when you read it, that the process which is suggested in the legislation which sets the wheels in motion for the board to impose, first, collective agreement, kicks in a period of 90 days after the certification of the bargaining agent has expired. I am not so sure that that is necessarily the appropriate or a reasonable time period. I am trying to make sure that I really do have a sense of what is intended by Clause 1, Section 36A (1):


(a) an employer or a bargaining agent for a unit is required, by notice given pursuant to Section 33, to commence collective bargaining with a view to the conclusion of a first collective agreement between the employer and the bargaining agent in respect of the unit;"

(b) no such collective agreement has been concluded; and

(c) a period of ninety days after the certification of the bargaining agent has expired,

the Minister shall, on the written request of either party . . .".

I am not sure that the 90 days is quite the timeframe that should apply and I am wondering if, as the NDP closes debate here, they might offer some advice and guidance as to how or why the 90 day period was selected.

As I asked a moment ago whether or not such organizations as the Federation of Labour and the Nova Scotia Council of Labour were consulted, I think I was hearing from my colleagues in the NDP that, yes, they were. But I don't know that I heard that when I asked about whether such organizations as Voluntary Planning and industry and employer groups in the province were consulted.

I believe that the kind of legislation which we consider here is of such a kind and nature that it should be the subject of very careful and intense review between all of those who will be directly affected and that, of course, impacts on the employer side just as much as it does on the labour side.

The bottom line is, it is a two-way street. What do I mean by that? I guess what I have in mind is that we have to be cognizant of the legitimate rights and concerns of the employees, the workers of the Province of Nova Scotia. At the same time, however, we cannot be unmindful of the rightful needs, concerns and demands of the employers of the province. If circumstances come to pass whereby any employer of the province might have imposed upon him or her or it, a collective agreement situation which causes difficulty for that employer to continue to run the business, then we have not really accomplished anything. It will not take very long in those circumstances for that employer to find that they are not in a position to continue to generate the revenues which are necessary, not only to produce a product, but most importantly to pay staff.

A further difficulty or question that I have is and, again, when the sponsors of the bill close the debate they might address it for me, I find the language which is suggested in Clause 1, Section 36A(4) a little bit confusing. That section says that where as permitted by another section or subsection where, "the Minister directs the Board to inquire into negotiations between an employer and the bargaining agent for a unit, if the Board considers it advisable to settle terms . . .", and so on and I will not waste all the House's time by reading it in its entirety. It goes on, though, to come to the point I want to make at Clause 1, Section 36A(4)(b), "where no agreement respecting the reinstatement of the employees in the unit is reached between the employer and the bargaining agent, on the basis of the seniority standing of each employee in relation to the seniority of the other employees in the unit employed at the time the strike or lockout commenced except as may be directed by an order of the Board made for the sole purpose of allowing the employer at a totally shutdown work place who, in order to resume normal operations, must do so in stages.".

I really would be looking for clarification and it would have considerable impact on my thinking about this legislation depending on the answer. There may well be many situations and I would like clarification if the last few lines of this clause are intended to cover this concern. A straight reference to seniority can, in many circumstances, be totally inappropriate to the start-up of a company, which as the clause says, has been totally shut down because it may be that some of the employees with relatively little seniority are those with the skills required to . . . (Interruption)

MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, in an attempt to be helpful, it is my understanding that is, in fact, what that clause does permit.

MR. DONAHOE: I am pleased to have that clarification from the Leader of the NDP because I was concerned that if it did not mean that and I suspected that it might, we might have very real difficulty by simply having a blind commitment to the principle of seniority, which, I know you know, Mr. Speaker, and many in this place know, is a contentious issue often in and of itself. I am satisfied and I thank the Leader of the NDP that the phrase to which I have referred is apparently intended to cover exactly that kind of a situation.

I take it that this means then that the board could in reinstating make an order that certain people, regardless of seniority, could be reinstated ahead of people who have greater seniority than they, for the purpose - because of special skills that they have - of allowing the employer to get up and running an operation which, at that point, is totally shut down.

It doesn't, however, say how long that situation can pertain. Well, I guess in order to resume normal operations, it must do so in stages. It strikes me as being a little bit unclear and maybe again, as I have said earlier, some discussion with other groups might provide us with language which might be a little more precise.

I go to Clause 1, Section 36A(6), I find that the language suggests or provides that, "Where terms and conditions of a first collective agreement are settled by the Board pursuant to this Section, the collective agreement shall be effective for a period of one year from the date on which the Board settles the terms and conditions of the collective agreement and the collective agreement shall be binding on the parties and on the employees in the unit as though it were a collective agreement voluntarily entered into between the parties, except to the extent that . . ." they might, by mutual agreement, amend in subsequent time or through the period of that year.

I can visualize situations where either side of a dispute, of the kind that would be intended to be addressed by this legislation, might have on the table a proposition that the collective agreement which they seek, would be for a period in excess of a year and perhaps considerably in excess of a year. I can even imagine situations where it is possible that both parties, the employer and the employees, might, in the course of negotiations, be looking for an agreement of a duration longer than one year.

I think I understand the legislation to say, going back to Clause 1, Section 36A(5) coming up from Clause 1, Section 36A(6) and the one year situation, that when they are, ". . . settling the terms and conditions of a first collective agreement pursuant to this Section, the Board shall accept without amendment any terms and conditions agreed upon, in writing, by the parties, and shall give the parties an opportunity to present evidence and make representations, and the Board may take into account". Then they go on to provide the things which the Board can take into account, the extent to which they have bargained in good faith and the terms and conditions of employment and so on and so on and Clause 1, Section 36A(5)(c), "such other matters as the Board considers will assist it in arriving at terms and conditions of a first collective agreement . . . ".

I know this is a hypothetical, but it is a very distinct possibility that the parties in these circumstances, while there may be elements which they have not, upon which or in relation to which, they have not been able to come to a conclusion, it is conceivable that the term of the contract is one on which they have come to a conclusion. They may both, the employer and the employee, have come to the conclusion that they want a collective agreement of a duration longer and, I might say, potentially much longer, than one year.

As I say, the bill proposed says, that when the board settles the terms and conditions of this first collective agreement, they will take into account, they shall accept without amendment, any terms and conditions agreed upon, in writing. If, by chance, the parties have agreed in writing that the duration of their collective agreement - and that is one of the few things or one of the things, at least, that they have been able to agree on - is for longer than one year, then - but there is a whole range of other things they can't agree on. The board - if you go to Clause 1, Section 36A(6) - is constrained to impose on the parties who have already agreed in writing that they want a contract to make the example for two years, the bill then goes on to say the board has only the option or the legal right to impose a contract for one year.

Again, it is that kind of thing which I think, with respect, if the bill were subjected to some further scrutiny and analysis by both employee and employer groups, we might be able to refine it. I realize my time is well past and I will conclude at that point. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[5:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure to rise and address Bill No. 139, relating to first contract legislation and anti-scab legislation. As a debate relating to the principle of the bill, I would say, as a principle, that I would be very hesitant as Minister of Labour to bring forward such important, significant legislation affecting both the labour and management side unless and until there was adequate consultation with both sides and all sides, labour and management, employers and employees.

It is interesting to note that, by coincidence, I was in my deputy minister's office the other day and he was reading, at that time, a report relating to an overhaul or a vision of the Trade Union Act and the date on that report was October 1986. That was the last time that any significant work was done by a task force relating to an overhaul of the Act. This was an Act which was, I believe, revised for the last time back around 1971. So it has been a long time since the Act has been, in a systematic way at least, studied, critiqued and section by section targeted for improvement.

I am not saying that we would not pursue such a review. I think it is something that could very well be pursued once the resources of the Department of Labour are not so sharply and clearly focused upon the ongoing review of the occupational health and safety regulatory regime which exists now in the province. Of course, I am referring to the work of the advisory council which is established under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

That is a good group of individuals who have worked very long and hard. It is a group of individuals who represent both labour and management. These people are doing in approximately three years what other jurisdictions have tried to accomplish and in some cases failed to accomplish, in a decade. My hat goes off, yet again, to that group of hardworking individuals as well as the Review Support Program employees from the department itself who are working so hard in meeting the deadline of September 1995 by which they will be reporting back to me with hopefully a full menu of product or a basket full of product.

When I refer to the kind of consultation and discussion which is desirable between and with labour and management, it brings to mind the kind of consultation which has gone on in the case of the Workers' Compensation Act. That discussion, of course, is not one which has taken place only during the tenure of this government, but it is a discussion which has gone on at least since the previous government formed the government back in 1978 and the problems which our new Workers' Compensation Act, Bill No. 122, addresses our problems which have been systemic and ingrown within the Workers' Compensation System for at least 15 years.

Most noticeably, I would say, in all fairness, that most of the high profile difficulties which the board has run into have seemed to come forward within the last 15 years or so starting about 1971 or 1972 at which time it is easy to refer to objective statistics data and realize that at time the level of assessments being collected from employers throughout the province started to diverge from the pay-outs being made. So as a result, over approximately a 15 year period, artificially low assessment rates were charged to employers while among the highest compensation pay-outs in the country were being awarded. A situation which, obviously, could only result in the situation we find ourselves in now and that is, being faced with approximately a $475 million unfunded liability, i.e., a debt. You may as well consider this a loan which does have to be paid back. We should start amortizing or paying that debt off now, as soon as possible.

To put things in perspective, what we are faced with is a debt, an unfunded liability which continues to grow depending on what interest rates are running at and depending on what the value of the Canadian dollar is, at about $91,000 per day. It brings new meaning to the word filibuster because the often mentioned amount of $6,000 per day which it apparently costs to keep this Legislature sitting throughout a filibustering effort by the Opposition should be considered to be augmented by that $91,000 per day which continues to grow on that unfunded liability, every single day that we continue to stand here and not deal with the Workers' Compensation Act.

I am urging the House, of course, through you, Mr. Speaker, to move as quickly as possible to that Workers' Compensation Act so that we can give the injured workers of this province, both unionized and non-unionized and give the employers of this province finally a solution which they have been waiting for, for at least 15 years.

The unfunded liability does threaten the Workers' Compensation Board's ability to pay not just previous awards already in the system but all future awards. Our board is underfunded to such an extent that we have perhaps the lowest relative unfunded liability or funded position in the whole country. At 28 cents on the dollar, we do not have the kind of money necessary to carry this system into the future. To illustrate further, if we were to turn off the lights at the board today, we would start having a real problem within 1.5 years, approximately, with actually paying cheques to those individuals who have already been awarded compensation awards.

This is unfair to injured workers in many respects. Injured workers are not well served by the old Act. We have situations often in which injured workers who are legitimately injured, who have real, long-term injuries, are receiving a pittance upon which they simply cannot live. On the other hand, other individuals who are perhaps yes, injured even on a long-term basis but are able to return to work are in some cases receiving 100 per cent to 115 per cent or more of what they were earning prior to their accident. Obviously, an untenable position; effectively an insurance company, which is roughly what the Workers' Compensation Board is; an untenable position in which such a company should find itself.

The unfunded liability and the relatively high assessment rates which are being charged to the employers of the province are also a disincentive for employers from without Nova Scotia to locate in Nova Scotia. Who knows how many employers have taken a look at Nova Scotia as a potential place in which to locate and have passed us over in favour of either destinations farther south perhaps in the United States or other provinces, even next door within the Atlantic Provinces, we just don't know.

It is not far-fetched to suggest that the high assessment rates which are being charged and which will continue to be charged to the employers of this province, do place this province in a relatively uncompetitive position, vis-a-vis our competition out there, our competitor provinces who are also out there looking for new businesses which will move into their jurisdictions.

The government has to act now. In leaving this to the last I don't intend to make this seem as though it is not important, it is perhaps one of the most important aspects of Workers' Compensation reform, by reforming the system, by bringing forward the new Act, we will be taking dramatic and decisive steps to deal with the backlog, approximately 1,800 cases, now before the Workers Compensation Appeal Board. In spite of the good efforts of the Chairperson, Linda Zambolin, her wingers and others involved in that Appeal Board, the system militates against their being able to do their jobs. That is being able to defray or decrease that backlog which is staring them in their faces at the Appeal Board.

The bill has been structured in such a way that we will ensure that all cases currently before the Appeal Board are dealt with in an expeditious manner, that all new appeals are likewise dealt with in a quick and fair manner and that that backlog pile tends to go to zero and does not grow larger with every passing day.

Finally, I want to highlight two major, important changes which have been made to the bill as it was originally tabled for first and second reading. As a result of using the Law Amendments Committee as a forum within which to consult with individuals having a concern with the bill and within which we could receive constructive comment, I have recommended changes to the Law Amendments Committee which will ensure that there is an external appeal process provided to workers who wish to pursue that avenue, paired with an internal review process which will ensure that cases which really should be dealt with internally, which really involve a situation wherein perhaps if an adjudicator's original work were reviewed by a senior member of the board staff, a different and perhaps better answer for the injured worker would be arrived at.

This might very well, and I think it will, with some assurance, result in the Appeal Board or the eventual appeal tribunal, not being faced with a situation in which 93 per cent of all the cases finding their way to the tribunal are overturned. That 93 per cent overturn rate is a positive number, I suppose if you are in an injured worker's shoes, but that would only be on the face of things. Really what it also says to an injured worker is that he or she should have been given some fairness, fairness should have been dispensed to that injured worker earlier in time, that is internally to the board, so that if a wrong answer was arrived at, an answer which ran contrary to board policy, the injured worker could be given an award if, in fact, that is what should have happened in the first place.

So, we are pairing an internal review system with an external review system. We are ensuring that the ultimate hearers of the case are not employees of the board, they will be Order in Council appointees; that they do not have to convene a formal hearing at every turn but can sit as panels of one, i.e. as single individuals, can do something called documentary review, that is an oral hearing is not required in every case, and do not sit just down the hall from the people who originally heard the case.

We will ensure that the appeal tribunal members are actually housed in a geographic area, in other words in a building that is separate from the South Street Workers' Compensation Board building.

The other change, and it is not nearly as major, is that the maximum assessable earnings level is going from $36,000 to $38,000 this year, as originally proposed. But in subsequent years, rather than taking steps or increments of $40,000 and then $42,000, we are going to a system whereby the maximum assessable earnings level will be determined by applying a factor, times the average industrial wage which is current in this area. That is an ascertainable figure which is provided by statistics agencies of government. It is readily available to all members of the public, including the injured worker public. It will provide an ascertainable way in which injured workers and, I suppose, especially employers, can determine exactly what their obligations will be under the Act and what an injured worker's reward or award might be, if compensation is found to be owing, Mr. Speaker.

Finally, one concern which was raised by both labour and management, by both employees and employers, was that the bill as originally tabled and read for a first and second time, seemed to give the board an undesirable level, a very broad level of regulation-making power to such an extent that upon first reading by a casual reader of the bill, it would appear that the board had too much regulation-making power.

I can only assure the House that we have ensured that at every turn, if the board intends to propose a regulation, it will have to be approved by Governor in Council. With that, Mr. Speaker, I would thank you for this time.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to stand and, first of all, to congratulate my colleague, the member for Halifax Atlantic, for introducing this bill for debate and calling it today and for his excellent presentation. There is where my compliments have to end, because if you take a look at what the Minister of Labour, the man who is responsible, the person who is responsible, in the Province of Nova Scotia for resolving labour concerns, looking after fair labour practices in the Province of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, the minister can't even stick to the topic.

[5:15 p.m.]

The minister spent his whole time on a bill which is dealing with a first contract, talking about workers' compensation and I want to tell the minister he whined in his opening remarks about how much time we are spending in here talking about casinos and how that is wasting time, so he says, so we cannot get to his workers' compensation bill, which will provide the worst, lowest benefits in Nova Scotia that exist in the country. I can assure the minister that when the bill does finally hit the floor of this House it is going to receive the scrutiny in the Committee of the Whole House stage that it deserves and I want to tell the member through you, Mr. Speaker, that there is no way that we will leave his remarks unchallenged.

Right now we are dealing with another piece of legislation and what I haven't heard, quite honestly, whether that be from the government or from the Official Opposition, any statement, anything dealing with an indication in support of the principle of the bill that is before us.

What we have before us is, in fact, a bill which is aimed at trying to bring about good, stable labour relations in the Province of Nova Scotia. I am not suggesting, my colleague didn't suggest, that this bill is perfect. But, you know, it is one heck of a lot better than anything that this government has brought forward trying to deal with these very serious issues, problems that when they were over here in Opposition some of them recognized. Mr. Speaker, the key fundamental question to be addressed here in this debate is, does the government support in principle putting in place a mechanism that will allow for an orderly development of a first contract? We heard the Leader of the Official Opposition say, well, he wasn't sure if 90 days was the right number. Well, maybe it isn't, maybe it should be 60, maybe it should be 120. But, do we support the principle? I can assure you that I do.

Workers should not have to go through the kind of strife, and communities go through the kind of strife that the present Minister of Transportation and Communications, when he was over here in Opposition, when there was a strike at the foodliner in his constituency in Richmond, spoke so eloquently about and when he admitted and he said, while in Opposition about four years ago, that maybe the time has come for the government to move and bring forward first contract legislation.

MR. ALAN MITCHELL: I have a question, Mr. Speaker, for the honourable member. Looking at this bill there is one thing which I have some concern on and I would like an answer to if the honourable member could answer me. I am looking specifically at Clause 49A(2) which states that, "No employer shall use the services of an employee who is a member of the bargaining unit on a legal strike or who is locked out at an establishment of the employer", so basically if there is a strike the employee cannot work some place else, I believe.

I know of a number of situations where an employee has a second job. Would that mean that the employee would have to quit that job? The second thing is, if, let's say, it is a part-time job at Sears, would Sears be guilty of an offence if they did not let him go?

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, what the member is really just trying to do is divert me from the debate on the bill.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order.

MR. HOLM: I will say as a way of an answer to the question, well that is what it appears. What I will say to the member is quite obviously, this section has to do with the anti-scab section. If, for example, an employer has locked out their employees and without the development of a contract, if they have locked them out, that employer could not turn around and say that we will take back this, that or another employee, bring them back in across this picket line when we have locked others out. Nor could that employer, if they are on strike allow people to cross his picket line, those of a union or of a bargaining group that is locked out.

Now, I hear the member for Cape Breton South speaking about this and I would ask him to get in touch with the labour movement in Cape Breton and find out if, in fact, they support anti-scab legislation and if they support first contract legislation. (Interruptions) Of course, if they do, as a representative of the area he will be bringing forward and representing their views, of course, in this Legislature.

What we have here is a very important piece of legislation. This legislation lays out an orderly process, it sets down that if after a union has been certified and before they are able to reach their first contract, if a situation like that that developed with the Keddys, for example, up in the area that I am sure the member from Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury would be aware of. If those kinds of situations were to develop then, obviously, there would be a process. If the minister, and it is not even ordering the minister, but if the minister deems it advisable, it gives the minister the opportunity if the minister thinks that it is wise to refer it to the board. The board may investigate and if the board investigates and that process cannot begin for at least 90 days, the board would then have 60 days to try to come to a resolve. Through that whole process, that whole timeframe there is still the opportunity for those who are on both sides of the table to try to come to some kind of an agreement. If they can, it is solved.

Surely, if we believe in having a stable labour relations situation in the Province of Nova Scotia and this is desperately important now and it becomes more important and every time we have high unemployment and higher under-employment, that places the workers increasingly at the mercy of the employers. It makes them more vulnerable.

I know that the Minister of Labour was complaining about the debates on the casino bill. Well, we are not in a debate on that bill, so I can mention the name ITT Sheraton, the one who has been given the golden ring by this government. I would invite the Minister of Labour to contact those who are knowledgeable about the ITT Sheraton's labour relations and check it out. Here the government is proposing bringing to metro a major employer, a company that has an abysmal labour record in the United States and in the Las Vegas area.

Some of the kinds of things that they have done, and they are setting up the new Desert Inn Hotel and Casino and let's say that the workers down here want to unionize, here the Minister of the Labour is not prepared to provide a means to assist the workers with a first contract. What did they do down there? Since ITT Sheraton purchased a Desert Inn Hotel and Casino in November, Sheraton has set up a number of rules that discriminate against housekeeping departments. The Sheraton housekeeping department is primarily made up of people of colour.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member would entertain a question?

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member entertain a question?

Mr. JOHN HOLM: From this member, no, Mr. Speaker, I have a few minutes left. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Be seated. The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party has the floor.

MR. HOLM: Talking about situations that go on down there, Mr. Speaker, the Sheraton has forbidden its housekeeping staff, the housekeepers, from drinking out of water fountains in public areas of the hotel, where every other group of employees is allowed to use the water fountain. Sheraton management has verbally disciplined housekeepers for using the water fountains that they have used for years, the same housekeepers, again, as this is pointing out from their record, mainly people of colour, are not even permitted to be walking through the public areas. They have to use a tunnel underground. They are not permitted to shop in the gift shops where other employees get a discount.

Now, Mr. Speaker, surely to Heavens if this government is going to be promoting this employer to come to Nova Scotia and for hundreds of Nova Scotians to depend upon that employer for their livelihoods, those workers may very well need some protection to protect their rights and their working conditions and to receive a decent wage. We know, from the figures that have been given, unless you come from the United States in one of the senior positions, where you are going to make $100,000 or more if you come from Las Vegas, the Nova Scotians are going to receive very low wages, indeed. (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, this government and this Minister of Labour have a responsibility I suggest, morally if not legally, to make sure that there is first contract legislation that permits the workers in those areas to be able, in an orderly and proper manner, to develop and obtain a first contract.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Would the honourable member entertain a question?

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member entertain a question from the honourable Minister of Natural Resources?

MR. HOLM: From the Minister of Natural Resources, yes.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the question was on my mind when the honourable member was referring to an issue of an article in a magazine or a newspaper in Las Vegas and how wrong it would be to hire an American person to do work in Nova Scotia. I believe the member was making a point of the fact that we should be trying to have as many Nova Scotians first, not Americans.

The question I ask is, when they were going through the process of running the last election, their Party and that of their federal Party, what company did they go to to get the work done for the publicity for their organization?


MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I haven't heard anything so ridiculous and out of order. The minister knows the answer to that or else he would not have raised the question. (Interruption)

However, Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about here . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. The honourable member has the floor.

MR. HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What we are talking about here, although not direct public jobs, they are jobs that are being created with the partner of this government, supposedly as an economic tool for Nova Scotia, not for the United States. What this government is doing is giving the golden ring to this company and, based on what the minister said in his remarks today, is obviously not prepared whatsoever to provide any protection for first contracts in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The time designated for the debate of Bill No. 139 has now expired.

The honourable House Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Motions Other Than Government Motions.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to call Resolution No. 1491.

Res. No. 1491, re Health - Mental: Services - Action - notice given Jan. 16/95 - (Ms. A. McDonough)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Inverness, on an introduction.

MR. CHARLES MACARTHUR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the NDP for allowing me to introduce to you and through you to all members of the House, two fine citizens from Inverness County, the Chairman of the Board of Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital, Mr. Leo Cox, and Mr. Kevin MacDonald, Administrator for the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital. They are here to meet with the minister at 6:00 p.m. I would ask the House to give them the usual welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to continue the debate with respect to the crisis that exists today in Nova Scotia in our system of mental health services, and I use that term advisedly. I realize that that may sound like a harsh criticism of the existing system, but I have to say that, going back many years in this province and documented through a whole series of reports, consultations and so on, it has indeed been documented that we have a crisis in our mental health services in this province.

[5:30 p.m.]

That is why, in 1992, Mr. Speaker, when the working group on mental health presented their report, A Vision of the Future, they pleaded for government leadership in addressing this problem, in beginning to put into place a comprehensive system that would ensure improved access to mental health services, and there was not a response from the government of the day.

More recently, the Blueprint Committee, in its analysis of the many different aspects of our health care system begging for reform, were very clear and very specific about what needed to be done in regard to mental health reform. I don't want to oversimplify the problem; it is not a matter of waving a wand and everything is suddenly going to fall into place. The Blueprint Committee made it very clear that we need to have an overall provincial policy framework that will establish the context for mental health reform and we need to get on with it.

When we saw the tragedy that occurred in this community, on the edge of the Dalhousie campus a few days ago, I think the point was underscored that we do not have the kind of system of mental health services in this community or anywhere in this province that is needed, that would ensure access on a crisis basis when that is desperately required, nor do we have a system in place that would provide the kind of community-based supports to persons struggling with mental health problems, and their families and other support in the community that are trying to ensure that people get the help they need when they need it, whether it is on an acute basis or on a chronic basis.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure every member of this House is familiar with the concept that a crisis can either be a tragedy or it can be an opportunity and I want to return to a crisis that occurred in industrial Cape Breton a short while ago, which has also brought to the fore the desperate inadequacy of the existing mental health services, in that particular instance, for children and adolescents.

Mr. Speaker, when this matter was brought before the House to press for the minister to respond to this crisis by seizing the problem and seizing the obvious momentum for change, he gave assurances that that would be done. He certainly expressed appropriate concern and sensitivity for the tragedy and the families affected by the tragedy of two young suicides. He knows that that crisis in that community is continuing to mount; that it has been documented that we have alarming numbers of youth in that community who do not have the kind of constructive outlets for their recreational and social activity.

What we have now looming is a further crisis with a casino that is going to be placed in that community with the express targeting of youth. It is like the tobacco advertisers, if you can get them hooked early, if you can get them to get on that addictive path at a young age, boy, you have got them for life. Gambling addiction is no different in that respect than tobacco addiction, and I think the Minister of Health knows it.

So it becomes all the more important, Mr. Speaker, that this Minister of Health and his government act with dispatch to respond to a very creative and comprehensive and widely consulted proposal for a series, a system of youth health centres that embrace in the very best sense of the word the preventive philosophy which this government has stated is going to characterize its reform efforts and its reform agenda.

Mr. Speaker, it is critically important that the government respond to this situation in Cape Breton by doing something concrete, by recognizing that health care providers with concerns about mental health services for children and adolescents in Cape Breton have worked long and hard and diligently to bring forward creative proposals that are ready and waiting for implementation.

We watched the disabled community in this metro area work for almost 10 years to put a pilot project for attendants services in place and 10 years is exactly 10 years too long to have to begin with a tiny project that will affect the lives of 10 disabled persons only. We cannot wait for 10 years to see that system of adolescent and childrens' mental health support services put in place either in Cape Breton or anywhere else in this province. We need a framework, we need a system and we need the government to get on with concrete support and action for those health care providers and consumers who have been working together constructively to try to point the way and to give the government no excuse, no opportunity to say, well, we have to begin looking at this problem.

Mr. Speaker, I plead with the minister to move on that very comprehensive creative proposal that is now before him. I further urge the minister to recognize that as important as the community-based model is, and I support it without qualification, and so do the overwhelming majority of Nova Scotians who support the health reform agenda that is before this government, it also has to be recognized that a commitment must be made now to that small number of acute care beds in that end of the province as the government did recently on the other end of the province with a good deal of self-congratulations.

It is my understanding that the government was able to recognize that there is a unit needed for acute care for children and adolescents in southwestern Nova Scotia, and, I believe, the Liberal member for Southwest Nova stood up in this House, congratulated the government for so designating, I think, five beds for youth in Yarmouth. If I am not mistaken that was early in this session, and he had the overwhelming support of the House. I think there was notice waived and there was support for that . . .

HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I may have missed something, but the honourable member is referring to the member for Southwest Nova. Is she referring to this House?

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I am referring to a member from the southwest end of the province. I am sorry. I am sure the member, himself, would have no . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member's time has expired.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Let me just finish with that plea, and I hope that the minister will make those kinds of commitments here in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The time has expired for the honorable member.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to this resolution which is a mixture of fact and a mixture of innuendo and alarming misstatements. I say that at the outset so that the honourable member opposite will understand from whence I come.

There is no other area in health care that does not, in fact, require us to speak in support of reform and change than in the area of mental health services. The honourable member opposite, who has just spoken, has brought this to our attention and very justifiably so.

It is also an area in which we must be very careful in the statements we make and in the philosophy which we espouse because it is for many years, as the honourable member opposite has reminded us, that this area of health care, mental health services, has been pushed to the back burner, has largely been, in fact, something a little less than legitimate, I might say, in terms of our health care system.

I want to put it on the record today that this is not the case with health care change and reform and renewal. It occupies a major role and in the eight months or so, the seven months since the Blueprint Report was produced for us and the direction in which we are going was laid out before us, this issue and these issues have, indeed, very much occupied a major role in our planning.

Our government, in our accession to office, received not one report, as the honourable member has mentioned, from 1992, but five reports in terms of mental health services, dating back well into the 1990's - 1990, 1991 and 1992 - we reviewed the reports within several months of our seeing them and placed them into the hands of the Blueprint Committee, particularly the 1992 document to which the honourable member has referred both this evening and, also, in Hansard yesterday, as I see, and the Blueprint Committee took those recommendations under advisement and had, indeed, done, I believe, a very fine job of considering those, in light not only of mental health services, but in the total reform package with which they were dealing.

Meanwhile, the division of Mental Health Services in the Ministry of Health did not stop there. They continued, while the Blueprint Committee was meeting, to begin to digest the 1992 report, to place before the department and before the minister, an implementation plan, which the honourable member opposite has just alluded to and pleaded, as she says, with us to do.

We are doing that and have done it and we are now in the process of vetting that to make sure that regional health boards and community health boards will have the direction as they come up and running. This is a matter of orchestration of change, Mr. Speaker, it is not a matter of just instantly changing things.

But I want to, in a few minutes, address some of the issues that were raised in the honourable member opposite describing our position here as being crisis. We certainly do not, as a government or as a ministry, wish to stand here and say that all is well in the area of the provision of mental health services. No one would be credible to do that but, equally, no one would be credible to say that we are in a crisis and the sky is falling.

I want to take particular exception to the connection of the Dalhousie incident, as the member opposite and the honourable member for the Progressive Conservative Party did so yesterday in my absence, in which they have connected changes in the health care system, particularly bed allocations, to that unfortunate incident that occurred. This is reprehensible in the extreme, Mr. Speaker, because there is no connection.

Are patients, are people with mental health services being seen by an emergency system in this city? Yes. Was this particular individual seen promptly, when presented by psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses? Yes. Were there beds available to take care of them if the clinical decision was made to admit? Yes. Now let us put that on the record straight and let us not continue - as has been done in this House far too often - to make unsubstantiated claims, unsubstantiated and hyperbolic charges in respect to what is happening in this regard. (Applause)

[5:45 p.m.]

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, because the Minister of Health has said that he read the Hansard record yesterday and if he did so, he has no right to stand up and misrepresent what I said in regard to the Dalhousie shooting incident. The Minister of Health referred to both Opposition Parties in his remarks and I specifically said, let us not make the mistake of treating that incident and that crisis as a matter of a shortage of beds, per se, and I elaborated on that. So, I would ask the minister to withdraw the reference to the two Opposition Parties.

MR. SPEAKER: The point of order has been made.

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I neither singled out a particular member, I made reference to the record of Hansard, I have read it thoroughly and there have been references to beds and I have answered that problem. But, I will read from the resolution of the honourable member opposite where she says, "Whereas Friday's horrifying shooting . . . ", and so on have ". . . presented Nova Scotians once again with the unfortunate consequences that arise when mental health services are neglected by successive governments;", and I will take issue with that and that is connected with what I have just said. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

DR. STEWART: The question arose as to the changes that have occurred and let me speak specifically about the changes that have occurred in the last 12 months in which it is recognized, largely by those who deal with mental health services, that the changes that have occurred in the last 12 months in respect to the central area - we are focusing on this because of the tenor of this resolution, which I find very objectional - is that we now have in place an emergency system which is consolidated, which is identified, which has a 24 hour a day availability of psychiatric nurse, of psychiatrist to evaluate people and beds that are now being used properly and available as I have stated.

Now, we cannot throw charges and counter-charges. What we want to do here this evening is to put in some context where we are going in terms of mental health services. I would be the last one to stand on my feet, as I have said to the honourable members opposite, and defend the lack of direction that has been seen in the past that we are trying to change, that we are trying to build very carefully upon and we will do that.

We have reallocated to communities and community programs from in-hospital and institutional up to one-third of the budgets in order to produce proper community services in each of the communities in which institutions have taken a role in doing this very thing. We have province-wide programs that have just developed in respect to family violence and emotional difficulties, particularly those that lead to family violence; the psycho-geriatric programs that we are emphasizing, the tri-facilities agreement in this city, the rationalization and the better use and the provision of programs, rather than the concentration of beds. I respect and thank the honourable member for reminding us that her comments in respect to the beds are in Hansard and are very well appreciated.

This is a very important point to say that this is an area, mental health services, in which the community must be the bedrock of management, of partnership with communities in order that patients or people who suffer from mental illness will be respected and received in their community and supported by that community. We continue to build on this, to include regional health boards and community health boards in our planning and we do have the implementation plan which is just being finished on the report that the honourable member opposite has just alluded to.

What of youth services, Mr. Speaker? We have spoken recently in this place about that and youth services require that we as a government have interdepartmental links, that we provide these services from Yarmouth, yes indeed, and to Cape Breton and the programs in Cape Breton are being strengthened in the implementation plan that will be revealed very promptly. I thank you for the opportunity to speak to this resolution. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue with the discussion on the provision of mental health services in the Province of Nova Scotia. I was pleased with the beginning of the minister's speech when he certainly recognized his appreciation of the problem. There is certainly no area of the health care delivery system in this province that is any less adequate and is in more need of revision, support and revitalization, than the delivery of mental health service in the province.

It is unfortunate that it is a series of tragic events that brings this subject to our attention here in the Legislature. Certainly, the Blueprint Committee recognized the serious deficiencies that exist in the delivery of service in the province. Within that document, there is considerable detail and attention paid to improving the development and improving the delivery of mental health care services in the province.

However, lest we rely too heavily on studies and what the Blueprint Committee says, it is obvious to anyone who works within the health care system, that there is a serious deficiency here and one which needs careful attention. I, for one, don't think we need a lot of additional study to this particular matter. The need is obvious, the lack of service is obvious and the requirement for a lot of attention is equally as obvious.

It is obvious, too, that in addition to organization, reports and discussion, the time is here for action. I think in fairness to the new government - which is now perhaps less aptly described as a new government - that it does take time in the transition period to examine the situation, as it exists, and then to come forward with what can be conceived as reasonable solutions to serious problems. It is looking at that aspect that we might have an opportunity to evaluate whether, in fact, enough has happened in the last 18 months to solve what is a very real problem.

One has to spend only a few minutes talking to health care providers in emergency rooms, in family physician offices, to realize that when faced with an emergency psychiatric situation in this province, one is immediately frustrated. First of all, with the inability for the system to respond quickly to what can easily be described as an emergency psychiatric situation. Emergency departments and physicians' offices are not necessarily and are not usually, the best place to deal with many emergency psychiatric situations. The kind of situation that occurs when somebody becomes acutely disturbed and requires a lot of intensive attention and intensive treatment for a short period of time, to get them over that acute phase of their illness. Young people, in particular, tend to present at inopportune times to the system and often do not receive the immediate attention that they require to get them over the particular acute phase of their illness.

Having said that, many of the acute situations with which young people present, are very amenable to immediate and appropriate action and, in fact, in a very short period of time, respond very favourably to appropriate attention and treatment, as long as the attention is immediate and appropriate.

We do not have a system in this province at this time, that can respond with the appropriate speed and expertise that is very often required in these emergency situations.

I have always been impressed with the rapid response to young people. For example, I am sure that the minister can relate to this, an immediate admission to hospital for a young person, perhaps in a suicidal frame of mind, that, in two or three days with appropriate attention and appropriate counselling and hospital can actually be released from the hospital to continue with follow-up treatment as an out-patient and a very satisfactory result can occur.

The point of this particular illustration is to show us all that we must look at mental illness with the same degree of seriousness and compassion that we look at other illnesses. Many forms of mental illness present in an acute way, are as treatable as pneumonia and the results can be equally as effective. The problem is that many of the situations must be dealt with in an immediate fashion. Unfortunately, the system that we have today is not geared to that kind of response. The 9 to 5 approach to the delivery of mental health service is not appropriate and cannot be expected to respond to the kinds of situations which have led up to this particular debate at this time.

I am not suggesting that this kind of service can be initiated all over the province overnight because there is a serious problem in the provision in this province of psychiatric service. We all are aware of the large number of positions in this province which should be filled with qualified psychiatrists which are open because the manpower is not there to fulfil these needs. I certainly urge the minister as soon as possible to be involved in initiating the PRAC program, the Physician Resource Advisory Committee program that is being used across the country to address the serious lack of professional help in various specialties within this province. Certainly there is none more acute than in the speciality of psychiatry. Until this kind of approach is taken we will not have the expertise, the psychiatric expertise, to deal with many problems that we have in the province.

The other situations and I am now, perhaps talking about the more chronic kinds of situations, are going to require communities to look at innovative ways of dealing with chronic mental illness. The institutional care and custodial type of care has its limitations and is rapidly falling out of favour. I speak at this time of an innovative program of which the minister is aware in our area. The provision of a drop-in centre which the minister has recently provided some funding to allow that centre to go on and I applaud the minister for that.

This particular centre is more effective on a volunteer basis in dealing with a number of individuals, some of whom I am personally familiar. This centre is more effective in dealing with those individuals than emergency departments, than mental health units, mental health departments within our community and it is done largely on a volunteer basis. It is cost-efficient, it is effective and it is innovative. We must in this province look at innovative, inexpensive ways of dealing with many of the problems that are presenting themselves in the mental health field. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for the debate on Resolution No. 1491 has now expired.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would advise members of the House that tomorrow we will be sitting from the hours of noon until 8:00 p.m. The order of business following the daily routine and Question Period will be Committee of the Whole House on Bills and we will be dealing with Bill No. 122, An Act to Reform the Law Respecting Compensation for Workers. I move that we adjourn until noon tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been made and carried. It is now the moment of the interruption. The late debate winner this evening is the member for Sackville-Beaverbank on the resolution:

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the positive impact that this government's community economic development policies are having upon the economic climate of Nova Scotia.



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


MR. WILLIAM MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the positive impact that this government's community economic development policies are having upon the economic climate of Nova Scotia. I am pleased to rise in this House during these, the early days of a new year. Before us, opens a year ripe with opportunity and full of potential for the continued economic growth and well-being of this province. I wish to take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to speak about the government's community economic development program, which is having a positive impact on business growth and job creation throughout the province.

Early on in its mandate, this government committed itself to work with the business sector and other levels of government, to stimulate community economic development. This is being done by empowering local communities to build on the strengths, initiatives and leadership found in their local communities. We understand that the local community is in many ways the building block for viable and sustainable job creation. It is the local community that can best identify its own needs and resources, and where the opportunities are for economic growth that is sustainable and creates jobs for Nova Scotians.

It is a fact, Mr. Speaker, that most job growth these days, is found in the small business sector. Often based in the local community, small businesses draw upon the resources, skills and entrepreneurial initiatives of community members. Through steady growth of small businesses in communities across the province, we are supporting long-term economic success. The cumulative effect of community economic development is to create jobs and businesses that are more sustainable and balanced regionally throughout the province. This is in contrast to the former government's approval of top-down, megaproject activity. As we are all too painfully aware, Mr. Speaker, the former government's approval resulted in the waste of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money, in unsuccessful megaprojects parachuted into local economies.

Mr. Speaker, this government's community economic development programs bring resources, counselling and assistance to the local business community in ways that would otherwise not be available. These initiatives are making a significant difference in the number of people employed and the diversity of new businesses that are starting up.

The Community Business Loan Program provides small businesses with repayable loans for new business startup and loans to support existing small businesses. First step loans and small business growth loans are delivered to businesses through regionally-based Business Service Centres. These centres minimize the difficulties and expense involved in obtaining information about current programs, new and emerging technologies, the availability of capital, and market and trade opportunities.

Mr. Speaker, community economic development programs mean that local communities now have the wherewithal for building a healthy and sustainable business environment. I see the results being reflected in my own riding, as they are in ridings across Nova Scotia. In Sackville-Beaverbank, local business and community leaders, working with the Sackville Community Economic Development Centre, have developed a strategic business plan that is viable and sustainable. This comprehensive plan has been accepted by the community as a blueprint for business growth and job creation. We have already begun the process of implementing the plan.

I know that Sackville is only one example of community-based economic development. In fact, many local communities across the province are developing or have already produced similar community economic development plans.

When I look at my own riding of Sackville-Beaverbank and the surrounding areas of Halifax County, the success of this approach is brought home to me. The Community Business Loan Program shows that at the end of December 31, 1994, 73 projects in Halifax County received $883,000 in repayable loans. This support has created 211 new jobs and maintained an additional 89 jobs. As a result of the Community Business Loan Program, there are 53 new businesses in Halifax County.

Mr. Speaker, significant growth in new businesses and jobs is not restricted to the County of Halifax. Indeed, growth in jobs and in new businesses is occurring in every region of the province. Across Nova Scotia, at the end of December, 1994, there were 277 new projects approved, totalling $3.3 million, which will complete projects that total $7.9 million. The results of the Community Business Loan Program at the end of December, 1994, indicate that 389 jobs were maintained and 642 new jobs were created throughout the province. In that same time period, a total of 213 new businesses were established.

Mr. Speaker, we are highly conscious of the fact that government does not create jobs. Government creates a fiscal and economic climate that supports and facilitates entrepreneurial activity and business success. This leads to the creation of good, lasting jobs for our province. The growth of small businesses and an increase in the creation of new jobs are the result of one success story at a time. Together, these individual community success stories are building a pattern of success throughout Nova Scotia.

Business is responding well to the economic climate established by this government. The results are reflected in the continuing good news of steady employment growth. Employment in Nova Scotia was 367,000 at the end of November 1994; this was an increase of 13,000 jobs over the November 1993 level and resulted in a decline in the unemployment rate from 15.3 per cent last November to 12.6 per cent this November. It is significant to note that most of these are quality, full-time jobs. Indeed, this government's economic and community economic development policies are working. Results are notable and they reflect the new climate of economic growth which is being generated and sustained by this government.

Let me point out, Mr. Speaker, the entire process of community economic development reflects the commitment of this government to be inclusive and to consult with people in responding to the needs and concerns of the people of Nova Scotia. Due to the community economic development initiatives of this government, the health and vitality of business in Nova Scotia has taken a dramatic leap forward. We have successfully created a new climate of confidence that will continue to stimulate economic growth and success. Community economic development initiatives are empowering local communities to respond to new business opportunities in the local, regional, national and international arena. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If there are no other interveners, then the late debate is adjourned.

The motion for adjournment of the House has been made and carried.

The House will now rise to sit tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon.

[The House rose at 6:09 p.m.]


Given on January 17, 1995

(Pursuant to Rule 30)


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Edith Flemming, Halifax; Deanna Dunn, Musquodoboit Harbour; Larry Condran, Dartmouth; Bernard Marriott, Truro; Olive Riley, West Dover; and Carl Sheppard, Sheet Harbour; in detail, where the profits from all the lotteries (6/49, Atlantic Choice, Pro Select, scratch tickets, et cetera) go?

In addition, these individuals seek specific details on where revenue from cigarette and liquor taxes are spent.


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Peter Hanes of Truro, the specific plans by the provincial government to address parking for casinos, downtown employees and visitors to the commercial and retail district.


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Rev. Charles Sanders of South Ohio, Yarmouth County, what became of the question of whether casinos should, or should not, be all allowed? Rev. Sanders does not recall reading about the number of citizens who expressed their desire for, and the number of citizens who were against, setting up two casinos in Nova Scotia. Specifically, he would like to receive the two figures (people for and against casinos).


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Donna Newman of Liverpool, when the government will keep its election promise and make money available to businesses to hire apprentices?

Ms. Newman indicates that on two separate occasions Premier Savage assured her and others that money would be available for apprenticeship programs. So far, she says, nothing has been done. She asks what is the point of training the young or retraining older workers if there are no companies to hire apprentices?

The government has wasted money on one study after another, fixing up the Bluenose II for one day, et cetera. Why not put some money to work for the future of Nova Scotians to keep them here in Nova Scotia by reinstating the apprenticeship program?


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Joan Foran, Mahone Bay; Michael and Evelyn Conkannon; C.A. Hassall, Port Dufferin; Hugh Sullivan, Wolfville; Evelyn Smith, Yarmouth; Bill Wallace, Musquodoboit Harbour; Don Ward, Halifax; D.A. Weir, Dartmouth; Eric Whyte, Sydney Mines; and Paul Wilson, Bear River, why the provincial government is insisting on going against the wishes of the majority of Nova Scotians in bringing casinos to Nova Scotia?

These individuals want to know how the government can continue to ignore the advice and concerns of an increasing number of responsible and knowledgeable groups of citizens with respect to the casino business? Michael and Evelyn Conkannon say it appears this government is a dictatorship with principles of democracy being ignored.

In particular, Don Ward wants to know where the government has gotten its casino statistics? He says the government is supposed to represent the people and act on their behalf but they aren't doing that with casinos.

Hugh Sullivan pleads with the Premier and his government to come to its senses and start listening to people who know better than you.

Evelyn Smith says she always thought the Premier's job was to do what was good for Canada, not go against the people.


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Paula Steeves of Halifax, what right did the provincial government have to hire staff to interview prospective casino operators before legislation is passed to have casinos in Nova Scotia?


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Alfred Woodworth of Annapolis Royal, why the government will not allow a free vote on the issue of casino gambling in Nova Scotia.


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Pauline Glenn of Malagash, Cumberland County, why you and the Premier are authorizing casino gambling against the wishes of the people of Nova Scotia? Are you going to throw the problems from gambling back on the lap of the people after the terrible spinoffs take place? Are you then going to blame the people for the slum province you have both created?


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Stephen Sharpel, New Minas, and Muriel Skinner, New Glasgow, why the government is proceeding with casinos even though the majority of Nova Scotians, including psychologists, clergy and doctors are in agreement that these establishments are not in the province's best interests? In particular, Mr. Sharpel wants to know why, in the face of all the negative evidence, such as an increase in drug trafficking, prostitution and addictive behaviour, you continue to push casinos? Both individuals question the legacy you are leaving to future Nova Scotians.


By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as do Karl and Bernice Egget, Lunenburg; Art MacIntosh, Wilmot; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Parsons, Tangier; and Luella Smith, Yarmouth; why the government is proceeding with casinos given evidence of increased crime due to the behaviour of addictive gamblers? In particular, the Eggets ask why you and the Premier will not listen to the people and keep the casinos out of our province? They fear for poor people who, because they are so desperate, will turn to anything, including crime, to get money.

Art MacIntosh wants to know why you are spreading the welcome mat to organized crime by authorizing gambling casinos?

The Parsons believe the province has enough problems with crime and that casinos will only further contribute to the problem.