Back to top
October 1, 2004

HANSARD 03/04-56


Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session


Gov't. (N.S.) - Applied Behaviour Analysis: Costs - Cover,
Mr. D. Dexter 4789
Public Accounts (2003-04), Hon. P. Christie 4789
Res. 2470, MacMaster, Buddy: Birthday (80th) - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 4790
Vote - Affirmative 4790
Res. 2471, Mi'kmaq Treaty Day: Observe/Phil Fontaine - Welcome,
(by Hon. J. Muir) The Premier 4791
Vote - Affirmative 4791
No. 111, French-language Services Act, Hon. C. d'Entremont 4791
No. 112, Senatorial Selection Act, Mr. M. Parent 4791
No. 113, Children and Family Services Act, Mr. K. Deveaux 4792
No. 114, Helmet Safety Awareness Week Act,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4792
No. 115, Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission Act,
Hon. J. Muir 4792
No. 116, Liquor Control Act, Ms. J. Massey 4792
No. 117, Emergency Health Services Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 4792
No. 118, Protection from Strip Mines Act, Mr. R. MacKinnon 4792
No. 119, Agriculture Administration Amendment (2004) Act,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 4793
No. 120, Environment Act, Mr. K. Colwell 4793
Res. 2472, Health: Autism Funding - Details, Mr. D. Dexter 4793
Res. 2473, Samson, Michael/Bardsley, Claudine: Wedding - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4794
Vote - Affirmative 4794
Res. 2474, Christmas Daddies - Robinson, Roxanne: ATV/ASN -
Recognize, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4795
Vote - Affirmative 4795
Res 2475, Bawtree, Michael/Adams, Trevor: Joseph Howe Init. -
Recognize, Mr. D. Graham 4795
Vote - Affirmative 4796
Res. 2476, Mi'kmaq: Treaty Promise - Extend, Mr. H. Epstein 4796
Vote - Affirmative 4797
Res. 2477, Wall, Chris: Hockey Success - Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen 4797
Vote - Affirmative 4798
No. 107, Prescription Monitoring Act 4799
Hon. A. MacIsaac 4799
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4801
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4805
Hon. A. MacIsaac 4808
Vote - Affirmative 4809
No. 97, University College of Cape Breton Act 4809
Hon. J. Muir 4809
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4811
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4818
Adjourned debate 4828
No. 85, Legion-Huston Property in Tatamagouche Act 4829
Mr. W. Langille 4829
Vote - Affirmative 4829
No. 108, Chester Yacht Club Act 4829
Mr. J. Chataway 4829
Vote - Affirmative 4830
No. 96, House of Assembly Act 4830
Mr. R. MacKinnon 4830
Mr. G. Steele 4831
Mr. R. MacKinnon 4833
Vote - Affirmative 4833
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Oct. 4th at 2:00 p.m. 4834
Res. 2478, D'Alessio, Jillian: Olympic Effort - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Barnet 4835
Res. 2479, Adams, Trevor J./Bawtree, Michael: Book Launches -
Congrats., The Speaker 4835

[Page 4789]


Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.


Hon. Murray Scott


Mr. James DeWolfe, Ms. Joan Massey, Mr. Russell MacKinnon

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will begin the daily routine.


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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by 12,300 Nova Scotians. The operative clause reads, "We, the undersigned, seek the Government of Nova Scotia to cover the costs of applied behaviour analysis." To this I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Public Accounts for the fiscal year 2003-04.


[Page 4790]

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.


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

Whereas Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster, from Judique, has been a pioneer on the Celtic music scene for many years; and

Whereas the Judique community will be honouring Mr. MacMaster this Saturday on the momentous occasion of his 80th birthday; and

Whereas over the years, Buddy MacMaster has entertained audiences all over the world and continues to take the time to teach young aspiring students the art form of Cape Breton fiddling;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Buddy, his wife Marie and family on his 80th birthday, and thank Buddy for sharing his talents with us over the years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

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 Minister of Education.

[Page 4791]


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

Whereas since 1986, Nova Scotia has commemorated October 1st as Mi'kmaq Treaty Day; and

Whereas celebrations at Province House this year include presentations of the Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Elder Awards, the Chief Noel Doucette Youth Education Awards and the Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund will help to mark Mi'kmaq Treaty Day; and

Whereas we are honoured this year that, in addition to the attendance of Chief Lawrence Paul of Millbrook First Nation and Chief Terrance Paul of Membertou First Nation, National Chief Phil Fontaine will also play apart in today's events;

Therefore be it resolved that representatives of this House make sure they take time this afternoon to observe the ceremonies at Province House and offer a special welcome to National Chief Phil Fontaine, who has travelled to Nova Scotia to take part in today's celebrations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.


Bill No. 111 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Office of Acadian Affairs and the Delivery of French-Language Services by the Public Service. Loi concernant l'Office des affaires acadiennes et la prestation par la fonction publique de services en français. (Hon. Christopher d'Entremont)

Bill No. 112 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Selection of Senators. (Mr. Mark Parent)

[Page 4792]

Bill No. 113 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1990. The Children and Family Services Act. (Mr. Kevin Deveaux)

Bill No. 114 - Entitled an Act to Establish Helmet Safety Awareness Week. (Mr. David Wilson [Glace Bay])

Bill No. 115 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 116 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 260 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Liquor Control Act. (Ms. Joan Massey)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, there's a number of people who were involved in the legislation I'm about to introduce, I don't know if they've made it to the gallery or not. There's Linda Jackson, who is President of the Nova Scotia Emergency Nurses Association; Dr. Michael Howlett, who is the Chief of Emergency Medicine, Colchester Regional Hospital, EHS Medical Control Physician; Dr. Ed Cain, Provincial Medical Director of EHS; Mike Kellock, President of the Paramedics Association; Bob Fitzner, Policy Analyst with the department; Marilyn Pike, who looks after EHS within the department; Dennis Holland, Department of Health; and Catherine Gaulton, Department of Health. I see a number of them in the gallery, and I wanted to express our appreciation for all of the work that they've done in the preparation of this legislation.

Bill No. 117 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Provision of Ambulance Services and Emergency Health Services. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

Bill No. 118 - Entitled an Act to Protect Residential Communities from Strip Mines. (Mr. Russell MacKinnon)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, before I go into the Agriculture bill, I just wanted to make an introduction of someone who has worked very hard and has been very instrumental to the Acadian community and is President for the Federation Acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse who, I think by the sound of it, will be stepping down from the presidency in a very short period of time, as he's served two terms now as president. Monsieur Stan Surette and also a whole whack of people up there as well from the

[Page 4793]

francophone and Acadian community and I would ask them to stand and receive the gracious gratitude of the House for all their hard work for the Acadian community. (Applause)

Bill No. 119 - Entitled An Act Respecting the Administration of Agriculture. (Hon. Christopher d'Entremont.)

Bill No. 120 - Entitled An Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Environment Act. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.

[9:15 a.m.]


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


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

Whereas Families for Early Autism Treatment in Nova Scotia have been joined by more than 12,000 other Nova Scotians in their campaign to have this government follow the lead of virtually every other provincial government and cover the cost of applied behavioural analysis for their children; and

Whereas in a June 14th, letter to FEAT Nova Scotia, the Minister of Health wrote, "I am committed to doing everything that I can to support the development of early intervention treatment services if we receive more federal funding, helping family with autistic children is a top priority for new dollars."; and

Whereas more federal health funding, $542 million to be exact, is coming to Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health tell the parents of Nova Scotia children with autism exactly where their request is now on the health care priorities list.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4794]

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.


MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas there are many times throughout our lives when there is great reason to celebrate; and

Whereas the union between two people who truly love each other and are clearly meant to share their lives together is a moment to be cherished; and

Whereas Michel Samson and Claudine Bardsley are two such soul mates who will celebrate their union with their many friends and family as they join in matrimony;

Therefore be it resolved the members of this House congratulate Michel and Claudine and wish them a lifetime of health and happiness. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 4795]


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

Whereas each year the staff of ATV/ASN host the annual Christmas Daddies Show to provide a better Christmas for Maritimers; and

Whereas Roxanne Robinson has served as the Executive Director of the Christmas Daddies with exemplary leadership; and

Whereas on December 5th, Roxanne will again coordinate this year's Christmas Daddies fundraiser;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize Roxanne Robinson and the staff and volunteers of ATV/ASN for their continuing dedication to Christmas Daddies.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

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 Halifax Citadel.


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

Whereas the Joseph Howe initiative has received overwhelming support from Nova Scotians for its efforts to celebrate and honour the life and actions of Joseph Howe on the bicentenary of his birth; and

[Page 4796]

Whereas the founder of the Atlantic Theatre Festival, recipient of the Queens Jubilee Medal, author and inspirational modern-day voice of Joseph Howe, Michael Bawtree, launched Joe Howe to the Rescue; and Today's Joe Howe, the Greatest Nova Scotian, in the Red Room of Province House on Wednesday; and

Whereas these books will last for many years as a reminder for generations of the wisdom, courage and love of Nova Scotia of one of Canada's most remarkable leaders;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate authors, Michael Bawtree and Trevor Adams, and all those associated with the Joseph Howe initiative on the launch of those two books and wish them continued success in their important efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

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 Halifax Chebucto.


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

Whereas in 1986, Grand Chief Donald Marshall, Sr. invited all Mi'kmaq to observe October 1st as Treaty Day "to commemorate the unique and special relationship that exists between the Mi'kmaq and Her Majesty; and

Whereas in 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the validity of the Treaty of 1752 in its ruling in the case Simon versus The Queen; and

Whereas Treaty Day, to be celebrated today, October 1st, is the launch of Mi'kmaq History Month in Nova Scotia and is an opportunity for all Nova Scotians to become more aware of the rich Mi'kmaq culture and history;

[Page 4797]

Therefore be it resolved that this House again extend to Nova Scotian Mi'kmaq the original promise contained in the Treaty of 1752 of "all favour, friendship and protection" and urge that the negotiations to settle outstanding land claims be undertaken in the spirit of the pledges from this 252-year-old agreement between the Crown and the First Peoples calling for protection of Aboriginal rights.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

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 Halifax Clayton Park.


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

Whereas Chris Wall from Clayton Park West has joined the Halifax Mooseheads as a goaltender; and

Whereas Chris began playing hockey with the Halifax Hawks and was later selected to play major midget hockey with the Dartmouth Subways; and

Whereas this is a very exciting time for Chris and his family and a source of pride for his community as he takes the next steps in his hockey career;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House wish Chris every success in his career with the Halifax Mooseheads.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

[Page 4798]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, before I request that you call Bill No. 107, the Prescription Monitoring Act, just to advise the House that if we conclude second reading on the Prescription Monitoring Act, we'll then proceed to the University College of Cape Breton Act, which is Bill No. 97, then we'll do some Private and Local Public and Private Bills and clean the order paper up on those private and local bills.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 107.

Bill No. 107 - Prescription Monitoring Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 107 and I apologize for the missing Minister of Health. I don't have his opening notes. Perhaps we will revert to Bill No. 97, the University College of Cape Breton Act.

Bill No. 97 - University College of Cape Breton Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that we recess for approximately two minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: The House will recess until 9:30 a.m.

[Page 4799]

[9:25 a.m. The House recessed.]

[9:27 a.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker would you please call Bill No. 107.

Bill No. 107 - Prescription Monitoring Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill now be read a second time. Before I begin my remarks, I want to express my apologies to the House, I went outside to meet with parents of autistic children, I was unaware of the fact that there were no notices of motion today, and assumed that I had time to have that meeting, and now I have to apologize to the parents for having left them in the middle of a sentence. I will endeavour to get back to them.

Mr. Speaker, today I stand here to talk about government's commitment to improve our province's ability to monitor prescription medications. Our government developed and this week introduced a new piece of legislation that will see better information sharing for better patient care and to help reduce the diversion of prescription drugs for illegal purposes. The Prescription Monitoring Act is essential to allow the board and monitoring program to do their work effectively.

Mr. Speaker, I am confident this bill will garner the support of the people of Nova Scotia and the members of the House. Before I share the highlights of the bill, I would like to ensure that Nova Scotians understand that our approach to this legislation was a positive and collaborative effort. We worked in partnership with the health providers involved in prescribing and dispensing these medications to develop this legislation and to ensure that they are all well integrated in the activities of this program. The input of doctors, pharmacists and dentists was extremely valuable to us.

Mr. Speaker, 12 years ago the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program was created to promote the appropriate use of these medications and to reduce their abuse and misuse. While the program has been limited in its ability to fully meet its mandate, it has added good value to health providers and to Nova Scotians' health care system. Today, with this bill, we are making the monitoring program stronger and more effective. The Prescription Monitoring Act gives the board a clear legislative mandate and it enhances many aspects of the program.

[Page 4800]

The aim of the Prescription Monitoring Program is twofold: to promote the appropriate use of certain prescription medications, and to reduce the abuse or diversion of these medications.

[9:30 a.m.]

The program will continue to report to a board of directors. Regarding board membership, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Pharmacists, and the provincial Dental Board will continue to be key participants. Two non-voting members from the Department of Health will also participate on the board, which establishes a more formal linkage with my department. As well, the bill adds two board seats for individual Nova Scotians who are not affiliated with the licensing authorities. With these new seats, we will give a voice to the community, a practice that is consistent with many of our legislative organizations. Mr. Speaker, these members will be appointed by the Governor in Council.

In terms of the board's work, the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Board will recommend the drugs that will be monitored by the program, provide policy direction to the program administrator, provide advice and recommendations to the minister, and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The bill stipulates that the Minister of Health will appoint a program administrator. Mr. Speaker, the administrator's activities include monitoring the prescribing and dispensing practices of monitored drugs; providing information, professional consultation, and assistance to licensing authorities, prescribers and pharmacists; educating prescribers and pharmacists about appropriate prescribing and dispensing; reporting on new and emerging prescribing patterns for monitored drugs in all or part of the province or other jurisdictions; and assisting the board in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

Mr. Speaker, it is critical to note that with this legislation, the program administrator will now have the legal authority to report inappropriate use to a pharmacist, prescriber, licensing authority and law enforcement authority. This is a significant improvement over current practice, because now the program faces limitations in sharing patient information that would support better patient care or help reduce abuse and diversion of drugs.

Mr. Speaker, in light of this new power, we also understand that collecting and sharing patient information is a responsibility that requires great care. We have set out safeguards that would support the administrator in making decisions. Nova Scotians should know that the administrator must have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or the Criminal Code before contacting the authorities. With this bill, we have sought to strike the right balance of patient confidentiality and public safety. As Minister of Health, I will be looking to approve policies for privacy and confidentiality.

[Page 4801]

Finally, Mr. Speaker, the bill also gives government the authority to set regulations regarding a computerized information management system that will enhance the program's ability to share information with health providers in a more efficient and timely way. This is a commitment I have made to Nova Scotians, and I restate my commitment here today. Some may argue that we need a computerized system tomorrow. I would be among the first to say yes, go ahead, if it were that simple. But the truth is, this is not just one computer terminal that requires an on switch, this will be an information system that requires the appropriate planning and development to ensure that we do it right. My staff continue to work on this project, and I plan to make more detailed announcements in the near future.

Mr. Speaker, I have come to this House with a bill that supports Nova Scotian's health providers and its citizens, and I ask for the support of all honourable members. I look forward to hearing the comments of members as the debate progresses.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Sorry. Would the honourable member allow for an introduction?


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my thanks to my colleague, the member for Halifax Needham, for allowing me just to take a moment to draw the attention of the House to the presence in the Speaker's Gallery of two very distinguished visitors who have come together today to observe our proceedings.

I will introduce you, first, Professor John Kirk. Professor Kirk is a professor of Latin American Studies at Dalhousie University; he has held that position through his appointment in the Department of Spanish for many years. He has been a very successful import to Nova Scotia, from Great Britain, and I'm happy to say that we have been personal friends for a long time. Professor Kirk has been tireless in his spread, here, of knowledge of the Spanish-speaking peoples of our hemisphere. This year he has been the organizer of Dalhousie's Killam Memorial Lectures, and the theme of Dalhousie's Killam Lectures this year has been Mexico: Our Other North American Neighbour.

The lead speaker in this lecture series, who has accompanied Professor Kirk today and he's sitting beside Professor Kirk, is Mr. Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. Mr. Cárdenas was Mayor of the City of Mexico from 1997 to the year 2000. This is the largest, most populous city in

[Page 4802]

North America. He gave a lecture last night as part of the Killam Memorial series that was completely packed, and a very successful event it was. He was a three-time candidate for the presidency of Mexico. It may well be that he will also be his Party's candidate for presidency in the 2006 elections - we will see, but in any event I would like the members of the House to join me in welcoming Professor Kirk and Mr. Cárdenas to the Nova Scotia Legislature today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today and we hope you enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to rise in my place and say a few words about this bill with respect to prescription monitoring introduced by the minister. As we all know, prescription drugs save lives, but they also are a major cause of death in our society. We are seeing a new regime of pain-controlling drugs, particularly with respect to cancer, and these drugs unfortunately can be deadly, as we all know, when they are used inappropriately - as has been the case in some very prominent situations in parts of our province.

Mr. Speaker, sadly, prescription drug abuse is not a new issue and, sadly, it is not a phenomenon that is peculiar in a particular area. It's very widespread throughout parts of our province and, from time to time, incidents of prescription drug abuse sort of rupture into the public view, as was the case in Cape Breton not so long ago. We have seen incidents of prescription drug abuse in the New Glasgow area, with dilaudid being used by young people and young adults in that community, that has been in the news off and on in the past - and I have the privilege of representing North End Halifax and, sadly, we've had incidents of death in that community as well as a result of prescription drug abuse. So the need to address this very important issue is very much at the forefront of our minds in terms of what our responsibilities are to the people of this province.

The minister has introduced before us this bill which has a bit of background that I would like to refer to. We've had a Prescription Monitoring Program in the Province of Nova Scotia for some time now - in excess of 10 years. The Prescription Monitoring Program came into existence in 1992 and the mandate of that program was to promote the appropriate use of a panel of prescription drugs that are essentially narcotics and controlled drugs, and to discourage the abuse and the misuse of these prescribed drugs. But that program was established as a society under the Societies Act. It was not empowered in legislation and it operated for the past 10 years in this way. Government allocated a certain amount of resources each year to the program and there has been a paid staff.

[Page 4803]

What this bill does is it moves that situation forward somewhat. Prescription drug monitoring programs don't exist in every province in this country, which was quite a surprise to me when you consider the importance of this issue. Prescription drug monitoring programs exist in four other provinces and none of these provinces have free-standing legislation. I believe with this legislation, we will be the first province to actually legislate a prescription drug monitoring program. Most programs to date get their legal authority through the Medical Act. Most of them have their provisions for operation embedded in the Medical Act.

Prior to the introduction of this legislation, the Prescription Monitoring Program had a limited ability to provide information to law enforcement authorities with respect to concerns they may have identified around the prescribing of drugs - whether or not prescriptions were being over-prescribed, inappropriately prescribed, or whether or not there were duplications, patients were receiving some of these prescribed drugs from more than one physician. The ability of law enforcement agencies to get that information was there, but it was cumbersome, it required warrants, an extraordinary effort on the part of police in many ways. This will change that dynamic somewhat so that information will be more forthcoming, or at least that is the stated intention of the bill.

Of course, when we have these kinds of changes, there's always going to be some concern about the balance between the civil liberties of patients and individuals and the confidentiality between physicians or pharmacists and their customers or patients. At the same time, we have to recognize the very serious problem that this legislation attempts to address.

[9:45 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, perhaps you have seen the interim report out of Cape Breton in June of this year with respect to the problems in the Glace Bay community around prescription drug abuse and in a very short period of time, an 18-month period of time, in that community, there was, as we know, a rash of sudden deaths attributed to prescription drug misuse and the Cape Breton Regional Police identified 22 cases over this period, where prescription drug use was considered to be a contributing factor to sudden and unexpected deaths of people in that community.

Mr. Speaker, that situation caused a number of health care providers and justice organizations to come together into a partnership and they began to study the situation and ways to rectify the situation. They recommended in June that the Prescription Monitoring Program should, in fact, be duly constituted under provincial legislation with a clear definition of roles, responsibilities and accountability. I believe that this bill is the response to their recommendation.

However, they also went on to talk about the need to improve the existing automated system, so that more resources could be directed, not just to collecting and entering data, but actually analyzing the data around prescription drug use, which is not currently done and that

[Page 4804]

more education needed to be done with respect to the extraordinary impact that prescription drug abuse with these particular drugs can have. They recommended a number of other things as well and I'm not clear that at this time the government has made a commitment to taking on these additional recommendations, but this particular piece of legislation is a good first start. But without a fully automated system, I think that this legislation will have limited impact and I think it is unfortunate that we don't have the plan to implement a fully-automated system already well developed and well in hand and we'll certainly be pressing the Minister of Health to move as quickly as possible in this direction.

Mr. Speaker, when I read the interim report from the community partnership on prescription drug abuse out of the Cape Breton area, I was surprised - well, that's not true, I wasn't surprised - I was saddened, I guess, to learn, that the federal government, in the reduction of resources that they've given to Health Canada have, in fact, eliminated positions that randomly inspect hospitals and pharmacies to ensure compliance with narcotic regulations. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the Minister of Health and the government to press the federal government to rectify that situation.

Mr. Speaker, it's not acceptable that the costs of monitoring prescription drug use, with a view to eliminating drug abuse, be offloaded onto provinces such as ours and this is an important piece of Health Canada's responsibility to do random inspections, to ensure compliance and shame on them for allowing those resources to diminish so that we're unable to adequately enforce and ensure compliance with the use of narcotics in hospitals and through pharmacies.

I don't have a great deal more to offer on this bill. We think by and large this is a good piece of legislation. We think the impact of moving this forward will hopefully be an improvement in the monitoring of the more dangerous and highly addictive prescription drugs that are prescribed in our province. I think the concern will always be that the confidentiality, the privacy of particular patients in the health care system and that very important relationship between a physician and their patient, be respected in the legislation. At the same time, we allow and ensure that the possibility for abuse and for acquiring these highly addictive and dangerous medications, that we be able to monitor in those situations where people are likely to seek drugs for other reasons than for pain, but due to addictions.

The last point I would like to make is that while this is a very important piece of legislation, ultimately, I think we really need to have in place services and programs that both prevent - do a lot of preventive work - with respect to addictions and we need to have treatment programs that will support those who will become addicted to various substances. I know that in my constituency we do have the Direction 180 - the community-based methadone clinic - that program was initiated by funding through Health Canada, later picked up by the Department of Health. It has been a program that has been quite successful in terms of harm reduction and managing the addictions of people in the community so they can

[Page 4805]

remain in the community. They are able to be employed and they're able to avoid getting back into the trap of highly addictive narcotics because of these programs.

While these programs have been somewhat controversial in some parts of the country, certainly in my community, this is a program that works very well. I would encourage the government to ensure that they do more to assist people with addictions by providing good, quality treatment programs.

Mr. Speaker, those are the points I would like to make with respect to this legislation. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak to Bill No. 107, the Prescription Monitoring Program. From the outset, I'll make the comment as to how government has addressed this issue - or should I say, up to now how government has ignored this issue.

The Premier is quick to boast how, for the first time in 12 years we will finally have legislation to deal with the issue of prescription drug monitoring. I'm sure this government will spin the issue as, wow, aren't we the greatest thing tabling this piece of legislation. We've actually had a program since 1992. It was working, it needed resources to make it work better - end of statement, Mr. Speaker. You can have all the legislation in the world, but if the program doesn't have the resources and tools that it requires to do the job, as the legislation requires, then, quite frankly, the legislation is not worth the paper it's written on, if that's the case. If the program had adequate resources and tools, the issue of legislation, although it's very important for outlining the sharing of information, becomes less important.

Mr. Speaker, in May 2003, the manager of the Prescription Monitoring Program was subpoenaed to appear before the Bailey inquiry in Sydney. Let me outline some of the media quotes and information from Colleen Conway, at the time, the program manager, "Sedative drugs such as benzodiazepines are not tracked . . ." Ms. Conway agreed that the drugs should be monitored but, ". . . she said that won't happen unless the program gets a bigger budget and more modern equipment."

Mr. Speaker, that was over a year ago. The program manager at that time was not calling for legislation, she was calling for more resources. Until this legislation results in more resources and until this legislation results in a computerized system, then the job of this government is not complete. At the same time, at the same inquiry, Ms. Conway stated that ". . . she would like to see the system computerized, with every pharmacy in the province entering its dispensing information directly into a province-wide database." This was also stated long before the Cape Breton task force was established and made the same recommendation. Of course, it was even before the series of deaths in Cape Breton that

[Page 4806]

grabbed the national media headlines, and finally made this government wake up and realize that there was something that had to be done about this situation.

Mr. Speaker, sadly, if the government had listened then, perhaps a lot of heartache could have been avoided. The current Prescription Monitoring Program in this province has a budget of $350,000. So let me put it into perspective; $350,000 is half of what the minister spends on communications, the communications budget is about $622,000. It's just $20,000 less than the budget for administering the deputy minister's office, which is a budget of about $330,000. The Prescription Monitoring Program budget is a mere 2.9 per cent of what is budgeted for the Chief Finance Office, which is $12-plus million. It's clear that resources and modernized equipment is needed if this piece of legislation is to be effective.

Mr. Speaker, allow me to take a look at the history of where we are on this issue. On Wednesday, September 22nd, the Premier boasted that legislation would be forthcoming that would computerize prescription drug monitoring, despite the fact that the legislation did not, at that time, specifically state that. Finally, at the last minute, we see a reference in this bill that references computerization of the system. But what we don't know is when that's going to be done and we don't know how it will work.

Mr. Speaker, this government, as we know, has a track record that is questionable with respect to computerization of health records. In April 2001, this government promised a $30 million, three-year, fully-integrated health information system. We are now behind schedule and, as of this Spring, about $24 million over budget on that system. In fact, according to the Department of Health's Web site, it won't be until sometime in the Winter of 2005-06 when this project will be complete, which is close to two full years behind schedule.

[10:00 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, when this government says that it is going to computerize something, it's very understandable why a lot of people would have a lot of questions, and those questions will remain. You may recall earlier this Spring, then Deputy Minister Dr. Tom Ward said that the reason why we can't commit to computerizing the Prescription Monitoring Program is that it's going to cost $25 million. We hear the minister stating that the numbers are still being crunched as we speak. I thought that the deputy minister knew how much it was going to cost already last Spring, he did say $25 million.

I guess that emphasizes that clarification from the minister is warranted, and I look forward to hearing the details as to when the project is going to be started, as to how much it is going to cost, and a complete timetable as to when the computerized project will be complete. I suppose we could, at that point, put our trust in this government. This is a matter of great concern, not only to myself, but to every Nova Scotian, but especially of concern to

[Page 4807]

the communities across this province that are having the problem that they have with an abuse of prescription drugs

Mr. Speaker, it has cost lives in my community, and it has cost lives elsewhere. It is something, for instance, the stakeholders get together, police, whatever the case may be, they have come to the conclusion that what is needed is a computerized Prescription Monitoring Program. This legislation simply sets up the framework to handle things legally. Although the new legislation, the new bill does mention computerization now, it still does not put any sort of time frame or guarantee that that computerization of this program is going to be there.

It is certainly needed immediately. We can't wait until next Spring, until the next budget, until next April. The fact of the matter is, that in that time between now and then, there may be more lives lost in this province, and we could avoid that. We could simply avoid that by committing the funds that are required immediately toward computerizing the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that recently in New Brunswick there was a convention that involved policemen throughout the Maritimes, and pharmacists. At that conference, both police and pharmacists voiced concerns about the federal privacy legislation, that it may stand in the way of fighting against the illegal use of Oxycodone-related drugs. I highlight this to the minister because sometimes the government looks for ways in which to stall progress in order to save costs.

Mr. Speaker, to report to the minister, the assistant privacy commissioner wrote a letter to the editor of the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal in which he states: The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act allows organizations to collect, use and disclose personal information relating to criminal investigations. The article goes on to read: If a province establishes a prescription drug monitoring program by law, there is nothing in the Federal Privacy Legislation to stand in the way of that province requesting information from pharmacists in order to track and prevent the illegal use of prescription drugs. Further, there is nothing in the Act that would penalize pharmacists who comply with that request as long as the provincial legislation is in place.

Mr. Speaker, again, I bring this to that attention of the House as a result of this government's propensity to blame the federal government for the inability of this province to move forward with initiatives. I will table this for the public record as a clarification that federal law will not impede this province from moving forward and proclaiming this legislation or, indeed, in computerizing the program.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, this legislation is just one small but significant part of a huge problem. We still have to deal with the issue of how we treat addictions in this province. We have the issue of enforcement, and we have the issue of resources for our legal enforcement agencies to do their job. Most importantly, we need the resources, we need the

[Page 4808]

technology for those involved in this program to do a better, more comprehensive job than they have been able to do in the past and, hopefully, that will go a long way towards solving the very, very severe problems that we have within this province in the abuse of prescription drugs.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Health, it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues opposite for their comments relative to the legislation today. I also want to apologize to the Health Critic for the NDP for the fact that I wasn't here for all of her remarks. There's another debate taking place outside the House that I was involved in. However, I will consult Hansard with respect to her comments.

The honourable member for Glace Bay is naturally very concerned about this issue - a very genuine concern because he lives with the consequences of that abuse on a daily basis to a much more significant extent than perhaps some other members of the House encounter and he also has colleagues, both in the Liberal and the NDP caucus, who have that same experience, as does the Minister of Energy. So their comments, of course, are very pertinent relative to this entire problem.

We do not in any way suggest, Mr. Speaker, that this legislation is the cure-all for the problem that concerns all of us. However, it is an important element in the solution to that problem. The honourable member for Glace Bay made reference to an estimated cost for a computerization of the Prescription Monitoring Program and I just wanted to say to him that what was envisaged by Dr. Ward, when he made the comments about $25 million, was a computerized system that did much more than simply prescription monitoring.

While we are in negotiations, and negotiations do not permit me to be specific about numbers, I can tell the honourable member that the numbers that are involved are about one-twenty-fifth of the figure quoted by Dr. Ward. Anyway, I won't go any further than to say in that ballpark and maybe less than that, hopefully, will result in it being significantly less than that, but I can say to the honourable member that we are in negotiations. I can say to him that you can't simply buy a program and put it in a computer and all of a sudden have the system up and running.

There is a design element involved, but all of the steps that are required to have that put in place are occurring and we will want to expedite that process as quickly as possible. I don't disagree with the honourable member when he says, you know, the sooner the better. I agree with him and we will expedite the process and have it up and running as quickly as possible. I have never, in any comments that I have made, made any reference to federal law

[Page 4809]

inhibiting us from doing our job with respect to this problem and we don't envisage any difficulty in that regard.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the legislation proceeding to committee and thank the honourable members for their comments and I appreciate the attention of the House to this matter.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 107. Is the House ready for the question?

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

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 97.

Bill No. 97 - University College of Cape Breton Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased this morning to have the opportunity to rise to begin debate on Bill No. 97, an Act to Change the Name of the University College of Cape Breton and to Amend Chapter 484 of the Revised Statues, 1989, the University College of Cape Breton Act, and Related Statutes.

Essentially, Mr. Speaker, what this bill does is it changes the name of the University College of Cape Breton to Breton University and, as a consequence, it will change the name of the College of Cape Breton Foundation and the University College of Cape Breton Student Union.

Name changes are interesting things, Mr. Speaker, and names try to reflect in some way what institutions do, and there is also another element of communications with names of institutions of higher education and that is trying to enhance the reputation of the institution and also have a recruiting value. I want to tell you the name change for the University College of Cape Breton to Breton University was the unanimous decision of the Board of Governors. It consists, in that case, of 36 people and it was unanimous and the Board of Governors represents town, it represents gown, it represents students, and it represents alumni, so it is indeed a very representative body.

[Page 4810]

The public announcement on the name change was made last June by the president, at least in The ChronicleHerald and I assume perhaps in the Cape Breton Post, in which he announced publically that the board had come down to three different possibilities for the change of the name. Now I've not really heard too many people dispute the need for a name change, because a name change to more adequately reflect the role and mission of that institution, I think, is the desirable thing. I want to just point out that name changes to universities are not that unusual; as a matter of fact, in this House, I believe it was last year, we voted on a name change for the Université Sainte-Anne and the Collège de l'Acadie and it went through unanimously and, to be quite candid, I know that there were people who did not support that.

I can think of other Canadian examples. I can think of the example in Ontario when Waterloo Lutheran was changed to Sir Wilfred Laurier (Interruption) Pardon? The Ontario Agriculture College became Guelph; Macdonald College became part of McGill. This is not unusual. What these names are for is to reflect the role and function of the university. Indeed, I can think of the other case that I know pretty well in Nova Scotia, and it was when the engineering school that we had here one time, called the Nova Scotia Technical College, went through to TUNS and also went now DalTech and I can tell you there was considerable controversy - I see some nods from the other side of the House - we all remember that.

The other thing that I want to mention, Mr. Speaker, this morning, is that it is not only universities, hospitals change their names, and we have public buildings change their names.

The issue of name change always generates some controversy, but you know, Mr. Speaker, the important thing is what the institution does, whether it's a public building or a hospital, or a university or a high school, it's how well it does that will establish its reputation on quality. You know, the University College of Cape Breton is maturing as a university, its quality keeps increasing and improving every year. The student body is growing but the university college has reached a new phase and those who know the situation best, the Board of Governors, they felt that a name change was appropriate.

[10:15 a.m.]

As I've said, you're never going to get a name change that makes everybody happy, but that Board of Governors represented, as I said earlier, represented town and gown, it represented the alumni and it represented students and others. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order please. Order, please. I would ask the honourable member for Glace Bay to bring himself to order. He is going to have his opportunity to respond to this when he has his chance to debate the issue.

The honourable Minister of Education has the floor.

[Page 4811]

MR. MUIR: Just to set the record straight, I kind of held my nose in this House a couple of years ago when the Cape Breton was removed from Cape Breton East and became Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The minister may have held his nose to the name Cape Breton being removed but the name was changed to Glace Bay to honour the location of the riding and it was a move that every resident in Glace Bay took great pride in. The same as we take great pride in the name Cape Breton attached to the University College of Cape Breton.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of order.

The honourable Minister of Education has the floor.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I mention that because the honourable member for - Cape Breton East - I'm sorry, Glace Bay now in the media this morning was reported as saying he didn't like the name Cape Breton being removed and a lot of people share that, I don't dispute that. The fact is, where you stand really depends on where you sit. He saw nothing the matter with taking it out two or three years ago or whenever it was, and I just draw that to your attention.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that this was the unanimous decision of the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors represents all segments of society and I want to say that to say that the majority of those Board of Governors are not Cape Bretoners, I want to tell you, you have a lot of Cape Breton on that Board of Governors.

Mr. Speaker, again, recognizing that name changes are never unanimous but I want to, at this time, move second reading of Bill No. 97.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: As you can tell from the tone of this Friday morning discussion there is some emotion, there's going to be some very strong feelings expressed here. But I think it's important that we look at the process and we also look at the examples of other universities that have had name changes and I just want to put those in perspective if I can, at first, because of some actual personal involvement.

At the time of attending McMaster University, I was fortunate enough to have a roommate who went to Waterloo Lutheran and Waterloo Lutheran's graduate, Ken Seiling from Elmira was determined that Waterloo Lutheran would not be changed to Laurier, because that's what they called it now, Laurier, Wilfrid Laurier or whatever. Mr. Seiling at the time as a graduate of Waterloo Lutheran and he had played varsity hockey at Lutheran, he had been involved in student life at Lutheran and with a name like Seiling, of course,

[Page 4812]

you're probably saying to yourself, this is the same family that had a brother play for the Buffalo Sabres and an older brother of my age, of course, Rodney Seiling who played for the New York Rangers. So the Seilings were a very well known athletic family in the community in Elmira and, of course, close by to Kitchener-Waterloo

When the name change came forward, as a graduate in Graduate School at the time at McMasters, Ken became heavily involved in the process. He was not in favour of the name change, but he listened to the arguments, he listened to the sides, he listened to the positions that were put forward and, more particularly, he found out about the Board of Governors of his university. The Board of Governors of the university, to the minister's credit he has used a very important term, that the Board of Governors of a university represents the town and the gown.

I hope members understand that when you're in the communities of Sackville, New Brunswick and in Wolfville or Antigonish or in Sydney, there is that mixture of the business community and the people who live in the town - in the case of Sydney, the city. And, of course, the gown - the academic, the university situation, the students, the people who work there, are employed there, not just as professors, but as people in various lines of work in that university.

Eventually, Ken Seiling understood that Lutheran would be changed to Wilfrid Laurier based upon the decision of the board of governors. Looking back on it and the success that Waterloo-Lutheran has passed on in its traditions, academic and athletic accomplishments, I know that Ken and I have kept in correspondence with each other over the years and currently Ken Seiling is the - if I have the term incorrect, I know someone will correct me - I believe he's the reeve of Waterloo County, if that's the correct term. He's continued to be involved in his community and I know the last time Wilfrid Laurier came to play in the Atlantic Bowl and when you see the success, support, involvement and the recruitment of kids that go to Wilfrid Laurier for one reason or another, it was a correct decision. There's one example for the House that I want to bring to your attention.

The second one is another personal example. I have a wife who is a graduate of UPEI. Let me tell you, you want to get into tradition, you want to get into polarized situations, you want to get into a scrap, UPEI was originally called St. Dunstan's. It was combined with the Prince of Wales College. I see the minister pointing out that he had some personal involvement in these situations. That particular decision was extremely emotional and controversial and ended up causing many, many hard feelings in the town and the gown of Charlottetown.

In that perspective, when that change was made, there again were very strong feelings. My wife always endorsed the move because as she said, if the university on Prince Edward Island is going to continue to grow, it has to change its name. The concern at St. Dunstan's, they were not attracting enough students off Island. If they were going to continue to grow

[Page 4813]

and prosper as a university, it would be appropriate that UPEI would be the name of this university.

Of course, there's another factor in there with the Prince of Wales College. If I could point it out to the members opposite and the members of the Third Party, it also comes down to the fact there is a church issue involved here. St. Dunstan's has a very, very strong connection with the Basilica and the Roman Catholic Church and all of those things, but the greater community, the greater university community of Charlottetown and of the university scene at the time decided the best thing that's right for this university in future years and the recruitment of kids and the expanding of the programs was to change the name from St. Dunstan's, Prince of Wales College to the University of Prince Edward Island.

Mind you, that doesn't stop some prominent alumni in the past, when you happen to see them in various places - the best example I can use for the members of the House is that outstanding football player who went to St. Dunstan's and went on to play for the Ottawa Roughriders, Jim Foley. Jim will still say, I went to St. Dunstan's. He's right. His degree says he went to St. Dunstan's, but the past graduates of St. Dunstan's, they continue to say go to the Island, go to Prince Edward Island, go to the University of Prince Edward Island, it's a good place for you to go to school. There are kids from Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, throughout Ontario and Quebec and the rest of the Maritime Provinces who go to UPEI.

You want to see some of their success in the expansion of their program, have a look at their recent facilities that they've been able to build, for example, the Veterinarian College that's attached to that university. It is a university on the move and to the compliments to the president currently at that university, it's always a pleasure to attend events at that university. My wife does attend alumni events of UPEI, although the St. Dunstan's connection is very strong.

I have one more personal example I want to bring to the attention of the House. I have, as I know members opposite and members of the Liberal Party are aware, a daughter who attends the College of Art and Design which is changing its name to university. That decision and that action is being directed by the board of governors of that very progressive art university, the art and design university, that we have in this town. It is being supported by the students. The students are saying they would be in favour of a change of the name of the university. That is going through the various loops of the university situation at this time and it will come to this House eventually, as will this piece of legislation that we're discussing in Bill No. 97.

The stakeholders will be consulted at NSCAD. The influence of the students will be looked at. What does the alumni think, and of course, the teaching staff and other people involved on the campus of this particular university. I say campus and you know it's not the traditional sort of campus, just situated down the street, but getting ready to expand across the harbour, getting ready for all kinds of expansion plans under the leadership of the

[Page 4814]

president of that university and they are looking at the very important thing - they need that name change. They need that name change because as they continue to grow, it will show and demonstrate the plans they have for the future.

The stakeholders are all considered. They are all listened to, it's a long, involved process with input from the town and the gown. With influence from the people who are going to have their say, from the business community, from the academic community and you will see eventually that piece of legislation come forward to this House. I would imagine there will be some people who say no, no, we want to keep it the way it is, because there's a word that's always used in universities - it's the word called tradition. Tradition. We have to keep the tradition in our universities.

The example I can use is that when they named university teams - I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, no reflection on your previous career, but when you play for a university football team that are called the Mounties, immediately the school colours are determined for you. I can recall some of the issues and the scraps we had in the town that I was fortunate enough to go to university in with the colours of Mount Allison University. Would they reflect the Mounties, the scarlet mounties or would they continue to be the garnet and gold which we have today? The tradition always happens that we get involved in such tempests in a teapot of things that people become so heavily involved in and then, when we look back on it four years later, you see the kids walking the streets with their garnet and gold - they're not John A. colours incidentally, Mr. Minister, those are Mount Allison colours - that was such a big deal at the time, what has been best for the university as we've continued its name and its colour.

I know the member for Glace Bay will be saying, I'm not talking about school colours here, I'm talking about something much more important, a university change, but I always think it's important, as members know, to put things in a personal perspective. I want to use an example of a wonderful opportunity that I have on occasion to attend an absolutely celebratory event in the Town of New Waterford.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable entertain a question?

MR. ESTABROOKS: As long as it's not about the St. F.X. football tradition and who's number one in the country, I will.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: The question will certainly not be about any team that's number one. Mr. Speaker, I'm wondering if the honourable member is suggesting with the tie that he has on today that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be considering a change of colours?

[Page 4815]

[10:30 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect, you don't have to answer that question.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Well, you know, I try to wear that tie as low as possible, Mr. Minister, but I will tell you this, this is an example of the fact that when it comes to tradition and the importance of sports, the tie is one of those things, when I lose a wager, and of course not any monetary wager, I fulfill the commitment.

Now, I'm on an important topic here and I wanted to talk to you about where the number one ranking in this country is right now. I want to address that because that was the next item, if I can bring it to your attention. People constantly talk about the rankings of universities. Now, when that comes out in Macleans, don't you tell me that the alumni of universities don't go through and say, so who's first this year? If you look at this, and members opposite should know, universities are ranked in this country by Maclean's for various reasons. You get the post-graduate universities, you get the universities that are offering medical degrees and legal degrees, you have universities of various sizes, but the rankings are of some real import, because you are talking about the recruiting of students.

Let me tell you that when I was on a recent trip to Whitehorse in the Yukon, the very first thing that the young man who I saw in this restaurant brought to my attention, he took his X ring out and said, what do you think of that, Mr. Estabrooks? I, of course, said, well, here's my ring from Mount Allison. As you go across this country, the people who are fortunate enough to have attended and graduated from St. F.X., as I see the Minister of Tourism and Culture, polish his up, recruiting of students is of real consequence to where you rank in the university situation in Macleans.

Never once do we say, who's last, who's in the bottom 30, who is, after all, not doing well when it comes to university rankings? I would understand that part of the decision of the name change at UCCB is concerned with the fact that if they change their name, they'll be able to recruit more students. One of the key factors when you are ranked by Macleans is, how many of your students who are attending that particular university are from out of province and from out of country? That is a key factor as they determine these criteria, Mr. Speaker, not that I agree with the rankings and not that I agree with the criteria.

But because Mount Allison has had a strong connection with the Bermuda island and attracting students from there, because we continue to attract students from Hong Kong because their fathers and mothers went to this small university in New Brunswick, you see where Mount Allison ranks, currently number two, but that will change. You will also see why St. F.X. ranks where it is, because one of the key factors, when it comes to recruiting, is they attract a lot of university students who are not from Nova Scotia. I think it's of real importance that we look at the reason why some of these decisions were made.

[Page 4816]

I had the opportunity a number of years ago to attend Breton Education Centre's legendary Coal Bowl. Breton Education Centre; The kids call it BEC, they call it Breton Education Centre, they call it Breton, and they also call it the high school in New Waterford. Now, what happened to the tradition of naming your school in Truro, Truro High School; what happened to the tradition of Sackville, New Brunswick calling it Sackville High School? It was decided, rightly so, to expand around the region that you do not call it Truro High School, you call it Cobequid Education Centre. In Sackville, New Brunswick, you do not call it Sackville High School, you call it Tantramar Regional High School. Town of New Waterford, you call the high school - with the strong tradition and commitment of involvement that's reflected in the Coal Bowl, where you know at the Coal Bowl, you bring your student athletes there, they live right in the school. The community is heavily involved. This is not just an athletic event. You get basketball teams from all over the country.

I know the member for Glace Bay knows of the Coal Bowl. I'm sure that he probably refereed in the Coal Bowl. In fact, I believe, at one time, when I had to go to the Coal Bowl to coach a basketball team, I first met the member for Glace Bay in a role of authority that he actually was pretty good at, as a referee in high school basketball. Was there any concern in that community that it should be called New Waterford High School? Was there any concern that it has to be called Cape Breton Education Centre? It's called Breton Education Centre. Breton Education Centre, the host of the legendary Coal Bowl.

There are kids from British Columbia, through all of the provinces, there are kids from all over this country, as high school students, as high school athletes have had the opportunity to go spend a wonderful week in Cape Breton, but they went to Breton Education Centre. They went to the Coal Bowl, hosted by BEC. That doesn't seem to be an issue in this situation. I know the member for Cape Breton Centre always talks about Breton Education Centre. Of course his son and daughter graduated from there and how proud they are to have come from BEC.

There is an example of how you rename high schools when they expand and we look at the fact of how this is handled by school boards, by communities. I'm sure that the people in New Waterford or Dominion look at that school and say that's our school, that Coal Bowl is our Coal Bowl, the events athletically of the Breton Bears. Called the Breton Bears, right, or the BEC Bears. I guess I always call them the Breton Bears, as when the renaming of this university comes forward they will be called the Breton Capers. That is, after all, if we can say it appropriately, the nickname of the athletic teams, the Mount Allison Mounties, the Acadia Axemen, and the Breton University Capers. That will live on in the tradition of that university.

That Coal Bowl example, and the example of the Breton Education Centre is an important one. I hope that the members in the community at large understand the importance of maintaining tradition but moving ahead as we look at how universities and high schools, and I guess if I listened to what the member said earlier, constituency name changes go

[Page 4817]

through. I hope that we would have the opportunity to move this bill through to Law Amendments. It is after all, a wonderful opportunity at Law Amendments to hear from people who will have opinions and feelings on all kinds of legislation.

I am fortunate enough as you know, Mr. Speaker, to be a member of the Law Amendments Committee. It will be a great opportunity to hear from the university students. I'm sure the university students had a say in this. It'll be a great opportunity to hear from members of the alumni, and of course it'll be a great opportunity to hear from community members. I know this is going to be forthcoming, I certainly would like to look at the example.

We tried to bring it to the Chairman of Law Amendments before, and not necessarily when the current Minister of Justice was the chairman, but when this crowd happened to be running Law Amendments and one time we said let's take Law Amendments on the road. Let's take Law Amendments out to the people. Let's see what they are going to say about a particular issue. The idea, when we raised it at the when the Liberals were the government, needless to say, went in the tank. But that idea is going to come up I would suggest.

The Law Amendments Committee should sit in the City of Sydney, it should sit in the regional amalgamated CBRM, another topic that which won't go too far with. If we want a name change, there's a name change I could oppose in a heartbeat, but that's for other reasons. I think it would be appropriate that when Law Amendments does have the opportunity to listen to representatives on this particular topic perhaps it would be appropriate and in good faith, to move Law Amendments to the campus of UCCB, as it is currently called, as it will be proclaimed eventually the Breton University.

I think that would be a progressive step at which time the people involved in Law Amendments would have a first-hand opportunity to see up front and personally some of the concerns. So historically this is an emotionally charged argument every time it comes around. I know we are going to hear from members of this House on both sides. I think it's important however that we look at things not from the political perspective here. What's best politically? I've had a member in this House who said, the NDP members will be defeated on this bill, if they support this bill there will not be a Cape Breton New Democrat in here after the next election. That's nonsense.

Are you telling me that we do not have on the Island of Cape Breton important issues that the member for Cape Breton Nova, and the member for Cape Breton Centre have been dealing with, issues of employment, issues of education, issues of transportation? Are you saying that this issue is the issue that is going to defeat someone because of a name change of a university? That's just ridiculous.

[Page 4818]

That's ridiculous because if we are going to look at how things get accomplished in this province, whether it's in universities or school boards, or in this case here in this Nova Scotia Legislature a piece of legislation has been brought forward by the board of governors, the board of governors of this university that represents the students, the staff, the alumni, and the business community, unanimously passed, brought to this House, supported by the members for Cape Breton Nova and Cape Breton Centre, because those members and that board of governors want to see their university expand. They want to see it grow; they want to see students from across this country attend UCCB or, as it will be called, Breton University in the future, because if you're going to have that bright a future, it's important to have that sort of name change. I thank you for your time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the member for Timberlea-Prospect is right, this is a matter that brings about a great deal of emotion, and let me clarify a few things first of all. When the member for Timberlea-Prospect says that we deal with something as silly as this, a name change to the University College of Cape Breton, this is the same member who, the other day, asked the Minister of Education if the dog ate his homework, so I suggest that we maybe deal with a lot of silly things in this Legislature - but this is not one of them.

The member for Timberlea-Prospect portrays himself as one of the great thinkers of the day, if you listen to his speech here today about how he had fully thought out whether or not the change should go ahead. I'm saddened, Mr. Speaker, that the New Democratic Party of Nova Scotia has now endorsed that they don't care about Cape Breton. I'm saddened by that, that they would say removing the name Cape Breton means absolutely nothing to them whatsoever. I'm saddened and I'm emotional by the whole debate that this Legislature would even consider removing the name Cape Breton from the University College of Cape Breton. Is it emotional? You're darn right it's emotional. Ask the people who are e-mailing and faxing and calling and talking on the street about this name change. Ask them if they're emotional about the fact that their Island is being hurt by this, that they're ashamed of the fact that Cape Breton will be removed from the name.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education took great pride in standing up and trying to discredit me, the fact that I renamed the constituency - but I didn't do it, this House renamed the constituency of Glace Bay back in 1999, the year 2000.

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

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): No, I won't entertain a question.

HON. JAMES MUIR: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. That's exactly the point I was trying to make when I made that comment. And I want to tell the honourable member

[Page 4819]

something else about that name change. When I decided that I was going to do that in my comments, I had to ask my colleagues to make sure that it was Cape Breton East - and that's only two years ago and I couldn't remember. I submit the same thing is going to happen when that thing is changed to Breton University - it's gone and in two years people will be trying to go back and remember what the previous name was.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, it's easy for the Minister of Education to say the people forget about Cape Breton - his government has already forgotten about Cape Breton a long time ago, but that's neither here nor there. That's not the argument; the fact of the matter is the name change, which every member in this House voted on and agreed to, was the change to honour the location of the riding, not to remove the words "Cape Breton" but to pay tribute to where it was located, which is why we're talking about this name change today and which is why it's such an emotional debate.

The fact of the matter is the University College of Cape Breton is located in Cape Breton. Now, you can try to "reposition" - which is the word that has been used - the university, or you can try to brand the university with another name by removing Cape Breton, and what do you end up with? A camouflage name, a camouflage university where nobody knows where it is and it defeats the tradition, the history, the heritage, the culture, that has gone into that university for the 30 years of its existence, Mr. Speaker. Thirty years that the people of Cape Breton that every day, ordinary Cape Bretoners - academics, coal miners, steelworkers, labourers - poured into that institution.

[10:45 a.m.]

Let me say that at the time, when the minister made reference to the fact that the names were suggested back in June, nobody paid any attention to them. Well there are a lot of people that - let me quote one, Dr. Greg MacLeod, who's a Professor Emeritus at the University College of Cape Breton and he said he hadn't heard the proposed name until it was actually voted on, that past Tuesday. He hadn't heard about it because, for whatever reason, people just didn't pay attention to it. Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you and I suggest to the board of governors, as well, at the University College of Cape Breton, that no one ever dreamed, no one ever thought that Breton University would be seriously considered as one of those choices.

The fact of the matter is, the name change controversy at the University College of Cape Breton, evolved around the use of the word "college" along with the word "university". A university college, was the confusing point in the whole argument and how the university could explain what they did when they were a university college. Are you a university, or are you a college? What exactly are you? So the point was to remove, I thought, and many others thought, to remove the word "college" from the title in order to clarify that this was a university, a proud institution, which does a tremendous job. A university located in Cape

[Page 4820]

Breton and to be called either the University of Cape Breton, or to be called Cape Breton University.

Mr. Speaker, those two choices, and there wasn't much debate over which one it would be. Personally, I'd prefer if it was called Cape Breton University, but if it was the University of Cape Breton I'd have no great argument. The furor erupted when the board of governors hastily decided to call a meeting to get together and say, look, we've decided unanimously that we're going to call it Breton University and remove the Cape from it. Now the heart of the matter here, is that was done primarily as a marketing strategy, for no other reason. I suggest no one could argue that point. That was done because there were studies that were done outside of Cape Breton Island that showed perhaps the university would go over better if the name Cape Breton wasn't attached to it. That is where the pride of the community and the pride of the Island comes into play, because that is when people started speaking out against the change and they've been doing that in great numbers.

Let me give you an example, there's a poll that they run at the local radio station in Sydney and they ask a question every day. Most days they get about, if they're lucky, 15 to 20 respondents. The day they asked the question, do you like the name Breton University? They had over 150-some people responding to that poll; 89 per cent of the respondents did not like the name Breton University.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest, although it's not a scientific poll and I certainly haven't done any polling of any scientific nature, but I can tell by the number of people who are talking about this issue and who have called me and have called other people and the faxes and the e-mails, people are not in favour of this change. So what's left to do? That legislation was brought before this House for a reason, universities in this province are publically funded and we deal with what happens at universities. If they want to change their name, then it appears before this Legislative Assembly, where it's debated in the legislative process and this is part of it. Those who disagree with that, I'm sorry, but when I have constituents, not only from my constituency, but from other constituencies in Cape Breton Island, calling me up and saying, you've got to do something to stop the name change going ahead. It does not represent this Island. It is not an indication of our heritage. It is not, certainly, an indication of our pride in that university.

Mr. Speaker, the name just doesn't fulfill the function of what's happening here. Something has been omitted when you omit the words "Cape Breton" from naming that institution. What has been omitted is the pride of a people. Yes, it's emotional. Yes, I'm emotional about it. I know that we debate some great topics in this Legislature, and I know we deal with some very important things. We deal with stuff that affects people on an everyday basis, as to whether or not they can actually get food, make a living, get a job, whatever the case may be, and those are all very important, nobody's arguing that whatsoever. What I'm arguing here is that this is an instance where the name will be changed,

[Page 4821]

probably forever, and will not reflect what a community has poured into a public institution, the University College of Cape Breton.

I know that the name is probably some snappy promotional tag where someone said, wouldn't it sound great if we were BU, Breton University. I know there are lots of universities in this country that have their name because of their location, and there are lots of universities in this country that are named that have nothing to do with their location. It's not unique. There's Brock University, there's Brandon University, there's Boston University, and I could go on and on. Give me a real understanding, Mr. Speaker, or someone - and I've talked to both sides, I've talked to members of the board of governors, I've talked to the university President John Harker, immediately after the name change was announced that it would be coming to the Legislature. I made an attempt anyway to talk to the president of the student union, although we haven't connected yet, but we did say that we were going to talk. (Interruptions) I'm sure she is, she should be. I'm off the subject here. The Leader of the Official Opposition is asking me questions here that are grabbing my attention, which will be the first time this session I've actually listened to him, by the way.

Mr. Speaker, as I've said, I've listened to both sides, and I have tried to take what some people are accusing me of dealing with only emotions here and I've tried to take the emotion out of the debate. I sat back and I said to myself, Breton University. Maybe, as the minister says, in two or three years nobody will ever remember that this debate ever took place, and if Breton University did go through, nobody would ever remember that it was named the University College of Cape Breton. What a shame that would be that nobody ever remembered that it was a Cape Breton university.

That's the point, I think, that won me over in this argument, when I did consider that, the fact that nobody would ever remember that it was attached to Cape Breton Island, that it was located in Cape Breton Island, that from its inception it has been touted as our university, regardless of whether you attended that university or whether your children attended that university, the people at the University College of Cape Breton always referred to it as our Island university.

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you something, that university has attracted students from across the world. They have a great source of international studies. They do great work throughout the international community at the University College of Cape Breton. Since its inception, they've also come forward with such things - well, at one time there were no residences at the University College of Cape Breton. Now they exist. The university has made great strides toward becoming what is a great place of learning, despite what's said in Maclean's Magazine polls and so on. I agree with the member for Timberlea-Prospect when he says, I don't place a lot of faith in those polls, I don't place a lot of faith in rankings, because I know that the University College of Cape Breton is a great place to receive an education, and the community knows that.

[Page 4822]

Let me give you an example. Do you think for a minute that changing the name of the University College of Cape Breton to Breton University is going to move it up in the rankings of Maclean's Magazine. By taking the name Cape Breton out, do you think an editor at Maclean's Magazine is going to, all of a sudden, say oh my gosh, yes, it should be ranked number 10, and not last or second last. It's not going to make any difference to that editor whatsoever. Whatever criteria they use, they're going to use it again.

So why - back to the original argument - is the name being changed? Why is "Cape Breton" being removed from that name of the University College of Cape Breton? Well, here it is. Here's the reality of the situation. The reality of the situation is that you have a board of governors at the University College of Cape Breton who came to a unanimous decision. Now in my opinion, someone - maybe more than someone - at that meeting convinced that board of governors they should be ashamed of the fact that they have a university in Cape Breton.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: So it's a conspiracy.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): It's not a conspiracy, as the member for Timberlea-Prospect suggests. What it is is someone buying into a marketing strategy that says you're better off without the name of your island attached to the university. That's bunk. Absolute bunk. If anything, we should be so proud of the fact that that name is attached to that university and market it even better.

Ask the Minister of Tourism if it's easier to market something if the name is attached so you know where it's located. Ask the Minister of Tourism if he's proud of the University College of Cape Breton, if he's proud of being a Cape Bretoner. Ask me if I'm proud of being a Cape Bretoner.

Wherever you go in this province or this country and you mention the fact that you're from Cape Breton, I'm not usually greeted with anything negative, I'm usually greeted with something positive. That's a fact. I can't see having the words "Cape Breton" attached to the University College of Cape Breton carrying a negative connotation in any way, shape or form. As a matter of fact, I see exactly the opposite. I see what's attached to that university with that name is a great deal of pride in the place where you live - in your community and in the people and the institution of the University College of Cape Breton.

If there is a snub - and I guess maybe one could buy into the conspiracy theory, but I'm not buying into it, deliberate or accidental, whatever the case may be - I can guarantee you this, Mr. Speaker, it's going to be vigorously opposed by myself and others in this Legislative Assembly. It will be vigorously opposed by the people of Cape Breton who are already organizing, who are already signing petitions, who are already planning protests to try to get through to this government that the proper thing to do with this right now would be to drop it like a hot potato. Send it back to the university board of governors at UCCB and

[Page 4823]

say, rethink, first of all, and perhaps have a broader consensus. Reach out to the general public of Cape Breton and get their opinions on exactly what you're doing.

They have a say in the process which has been overlooked. Agreed with the Minister of Education, the university board of governors has a wide representation of the community at large in Cape Breton. That doesn't mean they're perfect, I would suggest to the Minister of Education. It means they're as fallible as anybody else. What I'm suggesting here is that the general public was not consulted enough in this decision.

It's easy, it's very easy. I'm sure members in this House have gone through days when they didn't pay much attention to what was happening in the media or whatever and perhaps you didn't hear a particular story. You showed up in the Legislature the next day and you said, I wasn't aware of that happening, I didn't hear about that. Well, when the university decides one day in one or two newspapers to publish three choices, I'm sure a lot of people weren't aware of that. I know for a fact that a lot of people were not aware that the name Breton was even being considered. I know that because they've told me that. They said, we thought there were only two choices, University of Cape Breton or Cape Breton University. We would have been happy with either one. If either one of those had been chosen, we wouldn't be here discussing this right now, it would have moved through in one of the quickest debates you've ever seen in all your life in the Legislature, to rename it.

[11:00 a.m.]

But instead, Mr. Speaker, what we're left with is another controversial matter, another controversial bill before this Legislature. I have to say I take great exception to the members of this Legislature who have come to me and said, listen, you've got better things to worry about, you've got bigger fish to fry, you've got more important things that you should be talking about than a name change at the University College of Cape Breton. That's not true. I'm sure there are other things that are as important that I could be talking about, but right now I don't think there's anything as important as changing this name that I could be standing here talking about to you, and I'll continue to do so.

I agree, it's only a name, but you have to remember, each one of us, I know, has a great deal of pride in where we came from. You have to remember where you come from. If we just turn our backs on the fact that an institution that is held in such high regard in Cape Breton is about to be named with a generic name such as Breton University, which in no way reflects the rich heritage of that Island or its people in full, it does not in full, we have to remember that we have to stand up and we have to be accounted for to the people who put us here in the first place. That's what they're telling me.

Mr. Speaker, there have been a large number of letters and so on that have been sent to the Cape Breton Post. Let me table one for you here today in the Legislature. Let me read it first of all. It was a letter to the Cape Breton Post on Saturday, September 25th of this year.

[Page 4824]

The heading of that letter was called, "University name without place disappointing." The letter is from David Ferguson of Glace Bay.

It reads, "It was with disappointment that I heard the name for the University College of Cape Breton - Breton University. My wife is an alumnus and former Caper athlete. I have friends, nieces, nephews, who are graduates or students of UCCB. Although not a graduate myself of UCCB, I have taken courses towards my degrees, attended events and supported athletes and programs there whenever possible. Having watched UCCB grow over the years, and seeing what it represents, I find that it is beyond my imagination why Cape Breton would be removed from the name. President John Harker is right about leading Cape Breton in economic recovery but he quickly leaves out the most important . . ." thing of all, "'Cape Breton'". Most people with Cape Breton roots understand the concept of UCCB and are willing to drop the 'College' portion of the name but not the 'Cape' portion."

Mr. Ferguson goes on to say, "As I travel, I am proud to be from Cape Breton. It defines who we are; Breton does not. The argument for a shorter name for marketing makes no sense when you think of such institutions as St. F.X., SMU, UBC; why not UCB?" It would easily alleviate the president of the hardship of explaining to his world colleagues that UCB is a university.

The letter-writer goes on to state that Professor Mary Keating is quoted as saying that Breton sounds like a nice name. "I hope this is an edited view and that she gave it more thought. I and many people I know take offense to dropping the Cape Breton name . . . I read that this was a unanimous decision of the board of governors, so it is unfortunate that not one board member is proud enough to see the importance of keeping Cape Breton in the name."

In closing, Mr. Ferguson says, "I will give the board credit in adopting the black and grey colours to represent the steel and coal industries, which built our communities." There are many proud Cape Breton miners and steelworkers who deserve this, but they and the majority of proud Cape Bretoners will remember the Cape Breton coal mines and steel plant . . ." they don't remember the Breton mines or the Breton steel plant. As I promised at the first, Mr. Speaker, I will table that.

Mr. Speaker, to those wondering that the change is not an actual change in colours, they introduced a motion to change as a background to the existing colours, steel and grey. Why did they do that? They did that because they wanted to attach the heritage of the community to the university. The heritage of coal mines, the heritage of steel plants and of working people, attach that to the university, but at the same time, rip from the name "Cape Breton".

With all due respect to the board of governors and President John Harker, do you get it? Do you really get it? If you're going to honour an institution such as the University College of Cape Breton, and you're going to honour a community and surrounding

[Page 4825]

communities of Sydney, Glace Bay, New Waterford, Dominion, proud communities, Inverness, North Sydney, Sydney Mines, if you're going to honour those communities, then leave the name "Cape Breton" attached to one of the things that we take the most pride in, which is the university.

As the member for Timberlea-Prospect said, this is not the matter of renaming a high school or renaming an individual school, those are named for certain reasons too. They're named to honour sometimes former principals, they're named to honour communities, there's more to it than that. There's absolutely nothing wrong with Breton Education Centre and why it was named or Glace Bay High School or Riverview High School or Sydney Academy, Queen Elizabeth High School, Halifax West, there's nothing wrong with those names. There's nothing wrong with Cape Breton staying a part of the university in Cape Breton, absolutely nothing wrong. I hate to pick on one particular Party, I really do. I don't think this should ever go into a political debate. As I said, to me, this is an emotional debate, I'm not making it political, but when members of the New Democratic Party have fully endorsed forgetting about Cape Breton for the rest of their lives, then I wonder why. What has happened? I don't know.

Mr. Speaker, I do call upon, and I'll be quite forthright with this, I do call upon my fellow colleagues here in this Legislature, from all Parties, who are colleagues from Cape Breton. I do call upon them to give this very serious consideration. I ask them to take the next few days, because this matter will be back for (Interruption) It doesn't matter what caucus they're in, they're in my caucus, the NDP caucus or the Tory caucus, I don't care. I'm calling upon my Cape Breton colleagues to give this very serious consideration over the next few days and think about what's happening. I know that this is an emotional debate for them as well. I don't know if it's a matter of timing, or whatever the case may be, but to bring this forth now, in my opinion, I don't know why it's happening? Why now? I don't know.

Mr. Speaker, again I suggest to you - there's some silly arguments that I've had put forward to me. They've been everything from well, you know - here's one argument - it will look better on the letterhead. It won't take up as much room on the letterhead if they say Breton University. Now that's even too silly to come from the NDP, I would suggest. The negative feedback that now exists from this change, as silly as it may be to some - and as I've said and I'll state it again - it certainly is not silly to me. It's not silly in any way, shape or form, that we're talking about this name change, but as silly as it may be to some, there's been negative feedback about this that's come in great numbers and it continues to build.

Let me give you an example of that. Back home right now, a former professor of UCCB is quoted in the paper back home as urging a fight against this bill. His name is Charles MacDonald, a former professor at UCCB. (Interruption) No, his name is Charles MacDonald and he's trying to give what he called the voice of anger and upset of many ordinary Cape Bretoners, people who have had a long-term association with the university, trying to give them a voice and trying to get them heard.

[Page 4826]

I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that that's exactly where we come into play. At some point it's our duty as legislators in this province to make sure that people in Cape Breton who are most affected by this change are given the opportunity to speak for or against this change. Of course, as you know, in the legislative process that's what happens usually when a bill ends up before the Law Amendments Committee.

I've been quoted in the paper, today, as suggesting that I would appear if this bill does get to the Law Amendments Committee stage, Mr. Speaker, and I personally hope that it doesn't get there. I hope that, as I said, this bill is out the window before it ever gets to the Law Amendments Committee stage, but if it does get to the Law Amendments Committee stage, let me serve notice right now that I will be moving a motion at the Law Amendments Committee.

AN HON. MEMBER: You're going to let it go to the Law Amendments Committee?

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): If it does get there, and I will move a motion to the effect that the Law Amendments Committee of this Legislature, Mr. Speaker, hold hearings in Sydney so that the voice of Cape Bretoners can be heard on this issue. I'm hoping that my legislative colleagues will join with me in supporting that motion when it does come forward.

I think this matter is of enough importance that we could at least do that, that we at least could make sure that the community at large is given the opportunity, and we all know what happens sometimes at the Law Amendments Committee. It is a huge challenge for people in this province to travel for four and a half hours to get to a legislative committee hearing in Sydney. Unless you live in the metro area, then it's a huge challenge to get here. So I'm thinking that if we could do that, it certainly would give the people of Cape Breton the voice that they're looking for and a say in what's happening here with their university and the name change that's being proposed for their university. As I said, I think it would be a sign of goodwill if this Legislature made sure that there was a thorough and adequate public airing of this matter before the Legislature's Law Amendments Committee.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I know that this matter now before the Legislative Assembly has become a very emotionally-charged matter. I guess I'm at fault, to some extent of sometimes letting it become too emotional with me. (Interruption) And if there is such a thing - as my colleague, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, is saying that I'm being too honest - if there is such a thing as a politician being too honest, I stand as an example.

AN HON. MEMBER: Those are the two words you don't use - let me be honest or let me be frank.

[Page 4827]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, again, this is a matter that I take with a great deal of personal pride. I have a lot more to say on this matter. I'm sure we all do feel that at some point in time you should sit back and maybe, you know, think about this for a minute and give it serious consideration and don't let emotions charge your entire battery, or whatever the case may be. But in this case I can't honestly say that I'm letting that do that because when the name was first proposed and I heard it on the radio station back home, I sat back and I said I can't honestly believe that this is happening. I can't believe that a group of people would get together and want to remove the name "Cape Breton" from anything attached to Cape Breton Island. And I can't believe for a minute that some of the people who sit in this House - some are Cabinet Ministers who represent Cape Breton, some are MLAs who represent Cape Breton from the New Democratic Party, MLAs who represent Cape Breton from the Liberal Party as well - I can't believe, to be truthfully and brutally honest . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: And to be frank.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): And to be frank, that some are going to say it doesn't matter.

[11:15 a.m.]

It does matter. It matters to each and every Cape Bretoner back home as to what that institution is named. Some are in favour of it, I'm not saying there's not, and I've also received a couple of e-mails from people who are in favour of the name change, but I have received an overwhelming amount of mail, faxes and phone calls and comments in person that say (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, if the NDP wants to get in on this, then stand up and be counted, because the last thing I heard them say was that they are for the name change to Breton University and they don't care about Cape Breton. We know that, we already know that. Let the Cape Breton members from the NDP stand up and be counted. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order. I recognize the Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Thank you. I appreciate the increase in title - do I get my paycheque increased as well?

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The member for Glace Bay, we've been very patiently sitting here listening to him. We have people who are lined up to speak as well, but I think it's important that when he suggested our Party does not care about Cape Breton, I want to put on the record that is absolutely false. The rhetoric he is trying to put into this speech, I wish he would focus it on this bill, on the question of this name, no one in this House can be accused of not caring about Cape Breton and this member needs to know that as well. (Applause)

[Page 4828]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, in reply to my friend and colleague for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, if he wants to participate in this debate he should spend more time listening instead of heckling me.

As I said, the New Democratic Party doesn't care about the University College of Cape Breton or about the name change which is happening here, otherwise they wouldn't be supporting this bill. That's my opinion, and I'm entitled to that opinion. That's why we're here - to debate this.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I have much more to say and I'm sure the people of Cape Breton have much more to say to this Legislative Assembly - I'm sure we'll be hearing from them in great numbers.

I still shake my head in disbelief when I find myself standing here talking about the fact that we are about to do dishonour to the Island of Cape Breton, that we are about to forget about the heritage and history of my Island, and my fellow colleagues here in this Legislative Assembly are fully aware of the fact of what a great history that Island has and what a great history the University College of Cape Breton has. To go from its inception first of all as "little x" and its attachment with St. F. X. University, then to go on becoming the College of Cape Breton and the amount of time and effort and the heart, blood, sweat and tears that were poured into forming that university and to have such a great institution come to the point where we would simply entertain changing a name only for the sake of perhaps making it a little easier to market off the Island.

As I have suggested, and as I've said in this Legislature, it's easy to market Cape Breton. Just say it like it is; just tell it like it is. We're proud, we're honourable people. What's hard to market about that? Proud, honourable, hard-working, honest, trustworthy people. Cape Bretoners, who take a great deal of pride in our university - "our" university, which we want to remain named as our university, which we want to carry a label that will tell everybody in the world that it's our university and it's located in Cape Breton. How could anybody argue with that? How could anybody possibly argue with that?

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would now move that we adjourn debate on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 97.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4829]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private and Local Bills for Second Reading.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 85.

Bill No. 85 - Legion-Huston Property in Tatamagouche Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester North.

MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Mr. Speaker, I won't take long on this bill. This is a local bill involving the Royal Canadian Legion and the Huston property in Tatamagouche. The Legion needs a 10 feet by 30 feet property. It is supported both by the Colchester Municipal Government and also by the Village of Tatamagouche Commission. Everybody is in favour of it. With that, I move second reading of Bill No. 85.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 85. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 108.

Bill No. 108 - Chester Yacht Club Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, I would very much like to move Bill No. 108, Chester Yacht Club Act, for second reading. (Interruptions) That's true, to the Opposition who said that. The discussion on this bill - long story short - it's a housekeeping bill. It has been requested by the yacht club. This yacht club, by the way, was founded in 1902, so this is their 102nd year of existence. It's a housekeeping bill that they very much need to do renovations to their property, et cetera. I move second reading of Bill No. 108.

[Page 4830]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 108. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 96.

Bill No. 96 - House of Assembly Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, this is a very short bill in its content, but very large in its substance. It will have long-term and lasting implications for all members of this House and for the operation of the House. In short, what this does is it formalizes what is generally considered a constitutional right and a legal right that has been bestowed on the provinces of Canada and other jurisdictions, the right of provincial committees of the Legislature and the Legislature to be able to require witnesses from other jurisdictions, in particular the federal government, to appear before the Legislature as the need befits the essence of the provincial need.

As well, Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that came up before the Public Accounts Committee some four years ago and was given the full approbation by all three caucuses to enable committees of the Legislature to be able to require witnesses to appear before committees of the Legislature. Even though they had that legal and constitutional right, there was some ambiguity in the way the Act was written, and what this does, it clarifies it and formalizes this process.

I would like to commend the representatives from the other two caucuses who in large measure have as equal claim to this particular piece of legislation as any member of the Liberal caucus. For those who sat on the committee at that particular point in time, four years ago they certainly understand the need for this. On so many occasions we have seen the invitations sent out to witnesses from the federal jurisdiction in particular only to find that

[Page 4831]

they would respond that they were going to attend, and not attend without any given notice, or not simply respond, or simply respond indicating that they didn't feel the need to appear. This certainly in some way helps to address that.

As well, Mr. Speaker, two years ago this issue was again raised at the national body of Public Accounts Conferences in Winnipeg of which I know my colleagues, the member for Pictou East and the member for Dartmouth South - Portland Valley was in attendance as well. They too can attest to the strong support and the ratification that was provided and certainly they made a substantial contribution to this, as well as other members of the NDP and Progressive Conservative caucus who attended these conferences and these committee meetings. So, although my name may be on the bill that may be coming from this corner of the Legislature, but I can certainly attest to the fact that all members of the Legislature, particularly those who are involved at the committee level, deserve equal and full credit for recognizing this housekeeping measure should be included in the House of Assembly Act to provide for greater clarity.

Also it was the Supreme Court decision of Prince Edward Island, with regard to the potato blight industry - the provincial committee of the Legislature wanted to examine many issues surrounding that particular issue that was a cost-shared program between the federal and provincial governments. The federal government just thought it would thumb its nose at the provincial jurisdiction only to find that the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island had indeed confirmed the right of the committee of the Legislature and indeed the Legislature to be able to require interested parties from other jurisdictions to appear and give testimony on matters that affected at that provincial jurisdiction.

For example, Mr. Speaker, several years ago, I believe it was Mac Timber that we had before the Public Accounts Committee here. We had considerable testimony given by the Department of Economic Development here, but we really couldn't get the full story because the federal agency, ACOA, refused to participate whatsoever. Many questions were left as to why we did not receive true value for dollar on that particular issue. It was totally unfair to all the businesses that found themselves in considerable difficulty in this particular issue, because the province could only do so much and give so much information, but in fact, the feds just kind of sat on the sidelines and really didn't accept its fiduciary responsibility.

I believe this is a very substantial measure, Mr. Speaker, that will be very positive for many years to come and all members of the Legislature both present and future and I so move.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly to this bill. I'm particularly interested in it as the Chairman of the Legislature's Public Accounts Committee. I have to say, first of all, let me compliment the member for Cape Breton West for bringing

[Page 4832]

this bill forward. I felt the need to say that before I say what I am going to say next, which is that the member claims that the bill accomplishes a certain thing, which it doesn't, of course, accomplish at all. Any of the members who read the bill introduced by the member can read what's there, and say, well, how does it do what the member says it does?

The member for Cape Breton West has always pitched this bill as something that will allow us to summon federal civil servants before committees of the Legislature, but it doesn't actually do that, it doesn't say that. If you don't have the constitutional power to summon federal officials already, you can't just by passing a piece of legislation give yourself the power.

[11:30 a.m.]

Either this Legislature does have the power already or it doesn't and I think one thing that's true is that that question has been a matter of some debate and controversy. Finally, thanks to our colleagues in Prince Edward Island, they seem to have established once and for all through the court process that a provincial Legislature does, indeed, constitutionally have the power to compel the attendance of federal officials, not just to ask them to attend, or have them appear if they want to appear voluntarily, but compel them to appear even if they don't want to.

Now, this is of some interest to us in Nova Scotia because over the years a number of issues have come up and the member for Cape Breton West has referred to some of them. I remember, in particular, the very great interest that members of this House have had in questioning representatives of ACOA. I remember an issue came up over the Yarmouth Airport where we wanted to hear from officials from Transport Canada and most recently in the Public Accounts Committee, the issue had come up about whether we can compel the attendance of officials from Revenue Canada.

The reason that's such an important issue is that one of the major revenue earners for our provincial government, of course, is the HST, the harmonized sales tax, which is collected by Revenue Canada - a federal agency. So whenever we ask the provincial Department of Finance to answer our questions about HST, they say, oh, that's not up to us, we don't collect it - ask Revenue Canada- and Revenue Canada says that we're a federal agency, we don't have to tell you. Or they say it's confidential, we don't have to tell you. This is, needless to say, somewhat frustrating when you consider that this HST is worth over $1 billion to Nova Scotia, or close to $1 billion. It's $1 billion of revenue and we can't get any straight answers about how it's collected. So this is why the Public Accounts Committee has been pushing this issue about getting Revenue Canada to appear.

Right now, for your information, Mr. Speaker, I think it will be of some interest to members of the House where that issue currently stands. Revenue Canada has said that they will appear voluntarily, but they want the meeting to be in camera. Of course, I have a little

[Page 4833]

difficulty with the idea of anybody appearing before the Public Accounts Committee in camera because the very point of an in-camera meeting is that you can't use that or quote that in any way outside the hearing. So we would have nine members who might get some answers, but they couldn't tell anybody what they were or use it in any way. So we're still negotiating, well, negotiating is maybe too strong a word, we're still in discussion with Revenue Canada about the terms under which they'll appear. When push comes to shove, at the end of the day the only real hammer that the committee has is to be able to say to Revenue Canada, whether you want to appear or not, we're going to compel you to appear and it appears that now we have this power.

What the bill before us actually does is it simply changes the process by which subpoenas are issued. It doesn't say a thing about summoning federal officials and I would say with respect to the member for Cape Breton West, that if that's what his bill set out to accomplish, it's not what it actually does. Having said all this, Mr. Speaker, we don't have the least difficulty supporting it certainly on second reading. We'll have to have some discussion in our caucus to see after that. But, on second reading we don't have the least difficulty because anything that facilitates the operation of a committee of this House, we're all for. With that, I express support for the bill, but with a caveat that we don't think it really accomplishes what the member for Cape Breton West says it accomplishes. We'll be happy to support this and we certainly would encourage the Government House Leader on the government side to bring this bill forward so that it might pass through the House.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the member it will be to close debate on Bill No. 96.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I certainly acknowledge the points that have been made by the member for Halifax Fairview, but I think he has also indicated that every initiative here is a step forward to bringing us closer to the realization of what we've been hoping for some time and this is a measure that certainly brings us there.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 96. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4834]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it has been quite an interesting week and I now move that the House do rise to meet again on Monday at the hour of 2:00 p.m. The House will sit from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The order of business generally will be Public Bills for Second Reading. We'll be dealing with Bill No. 109, the Mental Health Act, and we'll be dealing with the bill introduced today, the Emergency Health Services Act, and we will be dealing with the bill that was stood today, the Breton University Act, or whatever title we have given it, University College of Cape Breton Act. We will deal with those bills. We may also be dealing with some other bills that are on the order paper and were introduced today, I don't have the numbers for them, but some of those may possibly be called on Monday. Without further ado, I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

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 House is adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 11:36 a.m.]

[Page 4835]



By: Hon. Barry Barnet (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas Jillian D'Alessio of Middle Sackville competed for Canada during this Summer's Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, competing in the Women's K4-500; and

Whereas Jillian and her teammates Karen Furneaux, Carrie Lightboung and Kimini Jain advanced from their heat to the semi-finals and, ultimately, to the finals, placing 8th overall; and

Whereas this tremendous Olympic showing is just one of a long list of accomplishments for Jillian, including her 20 medals won at international competitions, 10 of those being gold medals;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Jillian D'Alessio and her Canadian K4-500 kayaking teammates on their Olympic effort, and wish Jillian luck as she trains to become a cornerstone of Canadian kayaking in the future.


By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas on September 29th in the Red Room of Province House, two exciting new publications were launched to commemorate the 200th birthday of Joseph Howe; and

Whereas Today's Joe Howe, an examination of Howe's abundant and enduring legacy to his beloved province and country, was co-authored by Trevor J. Adams and Michael Bawtree, with the forward contributed by His Excellency John Ralston Saul; and

Whereas Joe Howe to the Rescue, authored by Michael Bawtree and beautifully illustrated by David Preston Smith, combines history and fiction to create an enchanting novel to capture the imagination of young readers;

[Page 4836]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Trevor J. Adams and Michael Bawtree for their literary achievements, publishers Metro Guide and Nimbus, and sponsors Scotiabank, Advocate Printing and Publishing, Cascade Resources and Wilson's Fuels for all their efforts and support in honour of the great Nova Scotia statesman, Joseph Howe.