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Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
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(The electronic version of the following Journal of the Legislative Assembly is for information purposes only. The printed version remains the official version.)

Daily Sitting 13

Tuesday, February 8, 2000.

1 o'clock p.m.

Prayers.

Hon. Mr. Betts, Minister of Finance, delivered to Mr. Speaker a Message from Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, and the said Message was read by Mr. Speaker, all the Members standing, and is as follows:

February 8, 2000.

The Lieutenant-Governor transmits the Supplement and Amendment to the Supplementary Estimates 1999-2000 amending said Estimates and providing additional sums required for the services of the Province, not otherwise provided for, for the year ending March 31, 2000, and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution Act, 1867, recommends these Estimates to the House.

(Sgd.) Marilyn Trenholme Counsell.
Lieutenant-Governor.


Mr. Graham (Kent) paid tribute to the late Weldon Lawrence, Progressive Conservative Member for York County (1952 - 1963).


Mr. Huntjens welcomed Mr. James Tucker, Member of the Assembly for Charlotte-Fundy (1972 - 1987); Speaker (1980 - 1985), and Minister of Fisheries (1985 - 1987).


Mr. Thériault (Kent South), the Leader of the Opposition, requested the unanimous consent of the House to extend the time allotted for Oral Questions and unanimous consent was denied.


The following Bill was introduced and read the first time:

By Hon. Mr. Green,

Bill 19, An Act to Amend the Quieting of Titles Act.

Ordered that the said Bill be read the second time at the next sitting.


Mr. Blanchard gave Notice of Motion 48 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, he would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. C. Thériault:

WHEREAS in early December, Motion 18 was proposed in the Legislature requesting that this government immediately table all documents dealing with the issue of opening up the electricity sector to competition and/or privatization;

AND WHEREAS on January 11, 2000, Minister Volpé filed a response to that request with the Clerk of the Legislature quoting NB Power's response when he indicated that the release of the information at this time would jeopardize negotiations leading to agreements which may flow from the privatization studies;

AND WHEREAS the Premier subsequently stated that no negotiations are taking place to sell off some of NB Power's generating stations;

AND WHEREAS the Premier has committed to the people of New Brunswick that no sale of any of NB Power's generating stations shall take place or be considered until this government's energy policy is finalized;

AND WHEREAS on February 3, 2000, Minister Volpé confirmed that the government was going to sell two turbines at NB Power's Millbank generating station and that such sale is the result of talks that began shortly after the June election when a broker expressed interest in those turbines;

AND WHEREAS it is critical that an anchor load is secured to support a lateral pipeline to northern New Brunswick;

AND WHEREAS it appears that these two turbines will be sold to a US buyer that intends to convert the turbines to use Canadian natural gas to produce electrical power for New England businesses and industries;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Legislature urge the government to immediately halt any sale, proposed sale or negotiations concerning the sale of any of the assets of NB Power, including the sale of the two turbines in the Millbank generating station, until such time as this government has:

• brought its energy policy forward for all New Brunswickers to openly review and debate including the Members of the Legislative Assembly;

• brought forward its plan for securing the necessary anchor load to secure a lateral pipeline to northern New Brunswick.


Mr. Allaby gave Notice of Motion 49 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, he would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. B. Thériault:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House a copy of the task force report prepared by representatives of the Departments of Transportation, Fisheries and Aquaculture and Economic Development, Tourism and Culture on the economic benefits of the Grand Manan Ferry and copies of all correspondence, analyses, memorandums, electronic mail relating to or concerning such report.


Mr. Allaby gave Notice of Motion 50 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, he would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House a copy of the consultant's report prepared on the status of the ferry "Vacationland" and copies of all correspondence, analyses, memorandums, electronic mail relating to or concerning such a report.


Mr. S. Graham gave Notice of Motion 51 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, he would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. C. Thériault:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House the flight log for the government leased aircraft for the period of time from Monday, June 21, 1999, up to and including Tuesday, February 8, 2000, including the names of all individuals who travelled on the plane during that period, the purpose of the flight and/or each individual's business reason for flying to the specific destination.


Ms. Weir gave Notice of Motion 52 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

WHEREAS the disclosure of internal government documents related to the decision not to order a full Environmental Impact Assessment of the Irving Oil Refinery Expansion has badly shaken public confidence in the integrity of decision making in the Department of Environment; and

WHEREAS public participation is critical in making important public policy decisions on the environment;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Legislative Assembly urge the government and the Department of Environment to implement stronger public participation for key and critical environmental decisions and take immediate steps to restore public confidence in the Department of Environment and its decision.


Ms. Weir gave Notice of Motion 53 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

WHEREAS in recent months skyrocketing home heating fuel prices have hit hard at low and limited income New Brunswickers; and

WHEREAS the Harmonized Sales Tax has added to the pressure on people trying to heat homes and apartments with a limited budget; and

WHEREAS the New Brunswick government has been the beneficiary of windfall HST revenues because of this situation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Legislative Assembly urge the New Brunswick government to consider measures that will assist New Brunswickers during this winter heating season and bring a greater measure of tax fairness to hard-working New Brunswick families and seniors who are struggling on limited incomes.


Ms. Weir gave Notice of Motion 54 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House copies of all correspondence including e-mail correspondence between the Minister of Environment, the Deputy Minister of Environment and representatives of Irving Oil Limited including any correspondence with Gerald Weseen or Corporate Communications and officials of the Department of Environment.


Ms. Weir gave Notice of Motion 55 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

WHEREAS the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy acknowledges that his government is proceeding with the sale of NB Power assets in the absence of public debate, public disclosure; or public review; and

WHEREAS in other provinces, such as Nova Scotia, these decisions could not be taken without public review and scrutiny; and

WHEREAS the New Brunswick Public Utilities Act only permits the Public Utilities Board to review rate increases by NB Power that exceed 3%, or decisions for significant capital investments;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that consideration be given to amending the Public Utilities Act to grant the Public Utilities Board powers to review any sale of assets by NB Power to private corporations, or sale of buildings or equipment, plants, leases or other capital holdings.


Ms. Weir gave Notice of Motion 56 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

WHEREAS the Report of the Select Committee on Energy laid out a plan for charting future directions for energy policy in New Brunswick; and

WHEREAS the Lord government has never responded to the Select Committee Report; and

WHEREAS the Report urged caution in proceeding with changes to the ownership of NB Power or its assets; and

WHEREAS the Minister of Natural Resources has acknowledged that he is conducting negotiations with private corporations in the United States and Canada for the sale of NB Power's assets; and

WHEREAS no energy policy has been tabled in the Legislative Assembly;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Legislature urge the government to respond in full to the Report of the Select Committee on Energy; terminate negotiations with any private sector corporations for the sale of any assets of NB Power; and immediately disclose the status of directions to NB Power.


Ms. Weir gave Notice of Motion 57 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House by the Minister of Natural Resources copies of all correspondence, e-mail, memos and any other documents regarding the buy out of the contract with Quebec Hydro at the Millbank Generating Station.


Ms. Weir gave Notice of Motion 58 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House by the Minister of Health all correspondence, memos, e-mails, reports, analyses or any other documents related to the provision of nursing services through private contracts.


Mrs. Mersereau gave Notice of Motion 59 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, she would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Richard:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House

• a complete breakdown of the number of employees who are eligible for the voluntary early retirement program announced on January 25, 2000, detailing each employees' department, branch, occupation, location of employment, classification, pay scale, years of service, gender, language profile and age;

• an indication as to which of these positions are considered to be essential services and/or part of mission critical operations;

• details of any counselling and/or professional services being offered or provided to the eligible employees to assist them with their decision as to whether or not they accept the program;

• a complete breakdown of the calculation of annual savings detailed in the graph used during the announcement of this program;

• copies of all documentation dealing with the effect of the voluntary early retirement program on the remaining employees; and

• copies of all documents, memorandums, correspondence, electronic mail, studies, reports and/or analyses relating to the voluntary early retirement package.


Mr. Richard gave Notice of Motion 60 that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, he would move the following resolution, seconded by Mr. Haché:

That an address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that she cause to be laid upon the table of the House

• a complete listing of the number of employees in the school system and hospital system that would have been eligible for the voluntary early retirement program if employees in the school system and the hospital system had been included in the voluntary early retirement package including each employees' department, branch, occupation, location of employment, classification, pay scale, years of service, gender, language profile and age; and

• copies of all documents, memorandums, correspondence, electronic mail, studies, reports and/or analyses relating to the issue of whether employees in the school system and/or hospital system should be included or not included in the voluntary early retirement program.


Hon. Mr. Green announced that it was the government's intention that following Private Members' Motions, the House would resolve itself into a Committee of Supply to consider the Supplement and Amendment to Supplementary Estimates 1999-2000.


The following Bill was read the second time and ordered referred to the Committee of the Whole House:

Bill 18, An Act Respecting the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.


Debate resumed on Motion 2, moved by Mr. C. Thériault, as follows:

WHEREAS over the past several years a climate of economic confidence has been developed in New Brunswick through the cooperative efforts of governments at all levels, communities, entrepreneurs and the citizens of this Province;

WHEREAS this climate of confidence has prepared us better to participate in the global community;

WHEREAS this climate of confidence is jeopardized by this government's inaction and general paralysis in each area of government responsibility,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT this Legislature urge the government to build on New Brunswick's climate of confidence, by immediately setting forth an agenda on economic development, tourism, job creation, transportation, education and health care.

And after some time, Mr. Speaker interrupted proceedings and advised that the time allotted for Private Members' Motions had expired.


It was agreed by unanimous consent to dispose of certain tabling motions remaining on the Order and Notice Paper for which the documents requested had been tabled.

Motions 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, 20, 21, 28, 33, 34, 37, 39, 40, 41, 44, 46, and 47 were, by leave of the House, withdrawn.


The House, according to Order, resolved itself into Committee of Supply with Mr. Bernard in the chair.


And after some time spent therein, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair and Mr. Bernard, the Chairman, after requesting that Mr. Speaker revert to the Order of Presentations of Committee Reports, reported that the Committee had made some progress in the consideration of the matters referred to them and asked leave to sit again.

Pursuant to Standing Rule 78.1, Mr. Speaker put the question on the motion deemed to be before the House, that the report be concurred in, and it was resolved in the affirmative.


And then, 6 o'clock p.m., the House adjourned.


The following documents having been deposited with the Clerk of the House, were deemed laid upon the table of the House, pursuant to Standing Rule 39:

Documents requested in Notices of Motions 5, 8,10, 19, 23, 25, 29 - December 7, 1999

Documents requested in Notices of Motions 7, 16 - December 14, 1999

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 9 - January 11, 2000

Documents requested in Notices of Motions 11,12, 20 - December 17, 1999

Documents requested in Notices of Motions 15, 40 - January 14, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 18 - January 11, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 21 - January 19, 2000

Documents requested in Notices of Motions 26, 27 - December 15, 1999

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 28 - December 28, 1999

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 32 - December 10, 1999

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 33 - January 7, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 34 - January 4, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 37 - January 6, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 38 - December 9, 1999

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 39 - January 20, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 41 - February 4, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 44 - February 1, 2000

Documents requested in Notice of Motion 47 - January 18, 2000

Annual Report Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons, 1998-1999 - December 16, 1999

Annual Report Research and Productivity Council, 1998-1999 - December 17, 1999

NB Coal Limited Report and Financial Statements - March 31, 1999 December 17, 1999

Financial Statements for the Province of New Brunswick for the fiscal year ended 31 March 1999 - December 29, 1999

Annual Report Department of Municipalities and Housing 1998-1999 - December 31, 1999

Annual Report Department of Supply and Services 1998-1999 - January 6, 2000

Annual Report Department of the Environment 1998-1999 - January 6, 2000

Annual Report New Brunswick Power Corporation 1998-1999 - January 7, 2000

Annual Report Youth Council of New Brunswick 1998-1999 - January 12, 2000

Volume 2 of the Public Accounts for the fiscal year ended 31 March 1999 - January 19, 2000

Volume 1 of the Public Accounts for the fiscal year ended 31 March 1999 - January 26, 2000

Green Paper entitled Let's Discuss Public Education Governance... - January 31, 2000

Annual Report Human Rights Commission 1998-1999 - January 31, 2000

Annual Report Department of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs - February 1, 2000

Report of the Chief Electoral Officer- Thirty-fourth General Election June 7,1999 - February 4, 2000

DÉCHARGE