News Release Archive

Following are highlights and the complete text of the Speech from
the Throne read today by Lt.-Gov. James Kinley at the opening of
the fifth session of the 56th General Assembly of the Province of
Nova Scotia.

Highlights of the Speech from the Throne

The tide has turned in Nova Scotia. After four difficult years,
Nova Scotia's economic prospects have brightened considerably.

A Bank of Montreal's outlook suggests economic activity in Nova
Scotia will improve again this year, and then speed up.
Statistics Canada reports Nova Scotia will lead the country in
new investment this year. Nova Scotia's gain is expected to be
18.1 per cent compared with the projected national increase of
5.2 per cent.

The province now leads the Atlantic region in job growth with
25,500 net new jobs since May 1993. Employment is expected to
reach record-high levels this year. According to the latest
results from Statistics Canada, the province now has the lowest
unemployment rate in the region and the best job creation rate in
the country.

In line with this encouraging picture, the government's focus
will shift. The bulk of its reform measures is complete. This
means public services will stabilize, and in some areas such as
health and education, they will even expand.

Government activities will now concentrate more fully on
promoting economic growth and self-reliance. At the same time the
government's financial resources will be used to improve and
protect Nova Scotians' quality of life. This includes such things
as quality health care and education, respect for the natural
environment and its resources and responsible management of
government finances.

These new directions are apparent in government activities
related to Sable gas; improvements to the business climate;
youth, training and jobs; research and development; marketing;
investment in our economy; roads and highways; and health,
education and children.

Sable gas

- A proposed Nova Scotia Gas Distribution Act will be introduced
  in this legislative session.

- The Offshore Energy Office is working closely with business,
  industry and project proponents to optimize the province's
  gains from the $3 billion gas and pipeline development.

Improving the business climate

- Rate reduction of 3.4 per cent in personal provincial income
  tax, starting July 1.

- An expanded Outreach Procurement program.

- Continued reorganization of government licenses and permits
  required by business.

- Three new multi-service centres to open.

- A one site, one inspector, one approval process to be
  instituted by the Department of Environment.

Youth training and jobs

- 11 new programs at the Nova Scotia Community College.

- Work experience for college and university students again this
  year through Nova Scotia Links.

- More opportunities for high school students in co-operative and
  entrepreneurship education and in school-to-work programs.

- New investment to increase job placements for co-operative
  education students in university and community colleges as well
  as incentives to sustain the placements.

- First youth entrepreneurship camp for 12- to 16-year-olds.

Research and development

- Nova Scotia's first research and development policy.

- Ongoing research and development tax credit.

Marketing our strengths

- Efforts to increase foreign boat sales and technology

- Exports in education.

- More partnerships in the area of environmental industries.

- Years of Music and Cabot Meeting 1997 to boost tourism.

Investing in our economy

- The $240 million Canada/Nova Scotia COOPERATION Agreement.

- One-year extension to Infrastructure Works Program.

- Home repair assistance.

- Shipper Assistance Program

Roads and Highways

- $12 million designated to link Highway 103 at Barrington.

- $54 million to be spent on twinning corridor for Highway 104
  from Salt Springs to Alma.

- Four-lane western alignment of Highway 104 to be open to
  traffic before Christmas.

Health, education and children

       In Health

       - Further consideration of changes to payment method for
         doctors' services, as outlined in Good Medicine:         
         Securing Doctors' Services for Nova Scotians.

       - Efforts to remedy doctor shortages.

       - More expansion of home care with new services to be
         selectively phased in.

       - Millions of dollars once spent on administration
         re-deployed to patient care by regional health boards

       - Hospital funding stabilized

       - A healthy communities initiative in four locations.

       - More improvements to Emergency Medical Health Services.

       - Enhanced-911 services province-wide this summer.

       In Education

       - Commitment to safe and nurturing school environments.

       - Four-year plan for class size reductions.

       - Proposal being developed for an Afrocentric Learning

       - Mi'kmaq representation on every regional school board.

       - School advisory councils growing in number and providing
         more meaningful parental involvement.

       - More high-tech schools to be built faster.

       For Children

       - Help for children with serious emotional and behavioral

       - Participation in a National Child Tax Benefit program
         being pursued.

       - A formal effort under way to integrate the delivery of
         government services to children and youth.

The government's four-track strategy in pursuit of economic
growth, financial stability, social responsibility and
governmental renewal is having the desired impact. Nova Scotia's
finances are in order; programs and services have been saved; and
the groundwork has been laid for the new optimism and confidence
the economy points to today.


Complete text of the Speech from the Throne

In the name of our Sovereign, I welcome you today to this, the
opening of the fifth session of the Fifty-Sixth General Assembly
of the Province of Nova Scotia.

Since our last meeting, death has removed a number of
distinguished Nova Scotians from our midst. My government wishes
to gratefully acknowledge their lives of service and mention by

Clarence Gosse, a former lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia.
D.L. George Henley, a former minister of lands and forests and
MLA for Cumberland West.

James Vaughan, a former MLA who represented Halifax North,
Halifax Chebucto and Halifax Needham.

Ross Bragg, a former minister of the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal
Agency and MLA for Cumberland West and Cumberland North.

Ian Palmeter, associate chief justice of the Supreme Court of
Nova Scotia.

Martin Haley, a former judge of the Provincial Court.

Dominic Melanson, a twice-decorated veteran of two world
conflicts and the last surviving member of the Royal Canadian
Regiment to have fought in the Great War.

Archie Neil Chisholm, a celebrated Cape Breton broadcaster,
educator, storyteller and fiddler who enlivened and promoted his
island culture.

Jessie Morrison and Tena Emiline Morrison, Victoria County
residents who made important contributions to the preservation of
Gaelic culture.

Jim Pittman, a founder of the Folk Harbour Festival in Lunenburg.

Also since we last met, there have been a number of Nova Scotians
who have honored their province by their achievements. Notable
among them are Donald Mills of Eastern Passage, Alan Abraham of
Halifax, John Bragg of Oxford, and Marilyn Peers of Halifax who
were inducted into the Order of Canada. Mary Ona Bjornson of
Antigonish and Master Cpl. Robert Fisher of Dartmouth were made
recipients of the Star of Courage; and Darren Meery of Scotchtown
was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

As well, Dr. John O'Connor of Dartmouth was named family
physician of the year by the College of Family Physicians of

In Nova Scotia the tide has turned. My government's biggest
challenge in the coming months will be preparing Nova Scotians to
take advantage of the economic opportunities that lie ahead. Four
difficult years of tough decisions and rapid change are starting
to pay off.

The trends speak for themselves. Our economic growth is expected
to improve again this year, then accelerate. A recent Bank of
Montreal outlook put it this way: "we expect economic activity in
Nova Scotia to rev up in 1997, then shift into higher gear in

Furthermore Statistics Canada reports Nova Scotia will lead the
country in new investment this year. Only Alberta is expected to
come close to Nova Scotia's gain which is projected to reach 18.1
per cent.

This compares with an anticipated national increase of 5.2 per

Nova Scotia's construction industry will be in the vanguard.
Chief among the capital projects under way this year is a
$750-million expansion at Stora Port Hawkesbury Ltd. and the
$112.9-million construction of the Highway 104 western alignment.
These two undertakings alone will put more than 1,000
construction workers on the job.

More growth will follow this sector next year, when anticipated
construction begins on a pipeline to transport offshore Sable gas
to market. Under the benefits plan for the Sable Offshore Energy
Project, an estimated 3,900 short-term jobs could materialize in
the development phase. Another 260 permanent jobs will open up
during the production period.

The good news is not confined to the construction industry or
Sable gas.

Nova Scotia, with 25,500 net new jobs to its credit since May
1993, is the undisputed leader in job growth in Atlantic Canada.
Nova Scotia now has the lowest unemployment rate in the region.

Moreover, this province has emerged from the last 12 months with
the best job-creation rate in the country.

Based on current trends, Nova Scotia is expected to achieve
record employment levels in 1997.

In step with this new reality, my government's focus will shift.
The bulk of its reform measures is now complete. This means
public services will stabilize, and in some areas such as health
and education they will even expand.

Buttressing this significant achievement will be a second
consecutive balanced budget.

This accomplishment, unmatched in this province for more than 20
years, assures the long-term survival of government-funded health
care, education, and help to the disadvantaged. What was
financially untenable is now secure.

Government activities will now concentrate more fully on
promoting economic growth and self-reliance.

At the same time my government will use its financial resources
to improve and protect Nova Scotians' quality of life. That term
embraces such things as good health care and education, respect
for our natural environment and its resources, and responsible
management of the province's finances.

These new directions are apparent in government activities
connected with Sable gas; improvements to the business climate;
youth, training and jobs; research and development; marketing;
investment in our economy; roads and highways; and health,
education and children.

One of the most important developments my government must prepare
for  is the advent of offshore Sable gas.

New legislation to regulate transportation and marketing of
future gas supplies will be introduced shortly. The proposed Nova
Scotia Gas Distribution Act will give this province one of the
most progressive regulatory regimes in North America.

My government will protect Nova Scotians' interests at regulatory
proceedings on the Sable Offshore Energy Project and during
hearings on the associated pipeline application.

Meanwhile the Offshore Energy Office is working closely with
business, industry and project proponents to optimize Nova
Scotia's gains from this $3-billion gas and pipeline development.

Many more opportunities are on the horizon for Nova Scotia
besides Sable gas. To help bring them forward, more steps will be
taken to improve the climate for investment and job creation.

On July 1, Nova Scotians will experience the first
across-the-board income tax cut in the province's history. The
personal income tax rate, payable to the provincial government,
will drop 3.4 per cent. This will give consumers more disposable
income and stimulate spending.

An expanded procurement outreach program will help more
interested Nova Scotian firms compete for government business.

The Department of Business and Consumer Services will continue to
eliminate, consolidate and re-package many of the nearly 300
government licences and permits needed by business. A simplified
fee structure will also be proposed this year.

Three new multi-service centres for business and the public are
scheduled to open in Halifax, Dartmouth and Kentville.

Fair and equitable terms will be sought to transfer the federal
Halifax International Airport to a locally controlled authority.
Strong advocacy will also continue in the interests of improving
the Port of Halifax's competitive position.

Aquaculture, which last year doubled its Nova Scotia production
to $13 million, will benefit from recent changes made by the
Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

At the Environment Department, a one site, one inspector, one
approval process will be instituted. This will end the expensive
and time-consuming practice of sending several government
inspectors, charged with different inspection tasks, to the same

Concerning youth, training and jobs, major strides have already
been made to adapt our education system to the shifting needs of
the economy.

The Nova Scotia Community College will continue the march this
year by introducing 11 new programs, ranging from business
geographics to digital animation. The selections are based on job
market demand.

This responsiveness, including programs tailored to specific
employer requests, has made the college increasingly popular with
students. Enrolment is expected to exceed 8,000 full-time
registrants in the new academic year.

Action to help students leap the job barrier posed by
inexperience is high on my government's agenda. Well-paid work
experience will be offered once again to college and university
students through Nova Scotia Links. The federal-provincial
program helps students pay their tuition, gain career-related
work experience and find jobs after graduation.

My government will offer high school students more in the realm
of co-operative and entrepreneurship education, and in
school-to-work programs.

New investment will be made to increase the number of job
placements for co-operative education students in university and
community colleges. Incentives will also be developed to sustain
the placements.

As well, students will be given more opportunity to catch the
entrepreneurial spirit. Once again students will be helped to
start summer businesses through the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills

Of the 1,300 students who have been part of the program, 500 have
parlayed their summer experience into full-time self-employment.

On another front, the 4-H and Rural Organizations Section will
join with two provincial departments and the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency to hold the first youth entrepreneurship
camp for 12- to 16-year-olds.

The importance of research and development to our future economic
growth has not escaped my government's attention. The
amalgamation of the Technical University of Nova Scotia with
Dalhousie University this month is expected to attract
substantial new investment from business and industry. The
attendant economic activity could be worth hundreds of millions
of dollars to Nova Scotia.

The province's reputation as a place to do research has already
obtained a huge boost this year with the announced $6-million
heart study by Merck Frosst Canada Inc.

Aware of these and other investment prospects, the Nova Scotia
Technology and Science Secretariat, in partnership with
post-secondary institutions and the private sector, is laying the
groundwork for development of the province's first research and
development policy.

The Agri-Tech Park in Bible Hill has been designated the
province's centre for commercialized agricultural biotechnology.
This facility will make the province a leader in the field with
the help of InNOVAcorp, biotechnology companies and the Nova
Scotia Agricultural College.

Not to be forgotten either is the ongoing impact of Nova Scotia's
research and development tax credit, which remains very
competitive worldwide.

This year my government will continue to aggressively market Nova
Scotia's products, skills and services abroad.

The province's exports have climbed by 27.5 per cent since 1993.
Building on that momentum, a strategic initiative will be
undertaken, in partnership with the private sector, to further
boost export sales. Our top export commodity last year was
seafood, which posted record values of $799.4 million. New
sources of foreign sales are also being sought in this industrial

The province's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department is working
with the boat-building industry to tap into foreign markets for
increased boat sales and technology transfers. Impressive inroads
are also being made in drawing international attention to our new
exports in education. The Nova Scotia high school curriculum, for
instance, is being used by high school students in Hong Kong and
the United Arab Emirates. More foreign students are discovering
the excellence of our educational institutions.

These initiatives are in keeping with my government's plan, in
partnership with the province's universities and community
colleges, to attract 1,000 new international students to Nova
Scotia by the end of the century. Attainment of that goal will
give our education system cosmopolitan sophistication and a new
source of revenue.

Overseas sales in the new area of environmental industries will
be aggressively pursued this year.

Trade missions to the Caribbean have already yielded contracts
worth $12 million as well as jobs for Nova Scotians. More
partnerships will be announced soon. Tourism will gain from our
marketing efforts too. During two Years of Music which start this
year, my government will encourage foreign and domestic visitors
to experience the rhythms of Nova Scotia. The theme will
publicize our cultural achievements.

In addition, visitors will be drawn to Cape Breton to take part
in Cabot Meeting 1997, marking the 500th anniversary of John
Cabot's arrival in North America. Ecotourism, another tourism
growth area along with culture, is also expected to increase
again this year.

My government will continue to capture new business investment
and put public money into key programs and activities that
strengthen our economy.

In partnership with the federal government, we have put together
an investment program for economic diversification. The
$240-million Canada/Nova Scotia COOPERATION Agreement has already
invested in more than 150 projects in targeted growth areas.
These include education and research, transportation, oceans and
the environment.

Leads will be aggressively tracked down and pursued to bring new
businesses to this province.

Recent successes from this endeavour in the form of Cisco
Systems, Newbridge Networks, Mentor Networks, Keane Inc.,
Phonettix (Fonix) Intelecom and OSP Consultants Inc. show my
government is on the right track.

Extensive planning by regional development authorities is
reviving local confidence and enterprise.

In partnership with the federal government and municipalities, my
government will support a one-year extension of the
Infrastructure Works Program.

Home repair assistance will be offered this year to eliminate
health and safety hazards. Homeowners, people with disabilities,
renters and rooming house occupants will benefit.

The Shipper Assistance Program will help Nova Scotian companies
stay competitive this year. To date 26 companies have taken
advantage of the program which offsets the loss of the federal
freight subsidy.

The film industry will get a lift from my government's support of
three privately operated sound stages.

The Film Development Tax Credit and the Film Development
Corporation are also providing help to this industry, which is
expected to put $100 million into the provincial economy this

Maintenance and expansion of our highway network have long-term
significance for my government.

In recognition of how important these undertakings are for safe
travel and commercial progress, about $12 million has been
committed to linking Highway 103 at Barrington. Another
$54 million will be spent on twinning the corridor for Highway
104 from Salt Springs to Alma. Before Christmas, the four-lane
western alignment of Highway 104 will be open to traffic. More
announcements will be forthcoming, of particular interest to
Halifax and Sydney area commuters.

Underpinning all these attempts to further economic growth is the
determination to give Nova Scotians the means to attain greater
financial security and self-fulfilment. Critically important to
that pursuit is the provision of reliable, first-class health
care and education for our people. Additionally it requires a
sensitive approach to the needs of our children and the

After four years of extensive restructuring in health care and
education, the size and pace of change will diminish. Gains will
be consolidated and some services will be bolstered.

Efforts to remedy chronic doctor shortages in affected
communities will continue this year.

In this connection there will be further consideration of a major
change in the way doctors' services are paid for and organized,
as outlined in the discussion paper Good Medicine: Securing
Doctors' Services for Nova Scotians. These matters are being
pursued in consultation with the Medical Society of Nova Scotia
and the public.

Nova Scotia's home care will continue to grow faster than any
other government program. Already 18,000 people have been served
by its operations.

This year Home Care Nova Scotia will stabilize its basic
offerings in home hospital and chronic home care and begin to
selectively phase in new services. These will include such things
as home oxygen, palliative care, occupational therapy, social
work, mental health services and orthopedics for children.
Regional health boards will re-deploy millions of dollars, once
spent on administration, to patient care this year. Hospital
funding will stabilize.

In keeping with the new emphasis placed on promoting good health
and preventing disease the Health Department will launch a
healthy communities initiative in four locations.

More improvements in Emergency Medical Health Services are on the
way. The emergency health system has already been redesigned and
re-equipped. Medical care impossible to provide at the scene of
an accident or injury only two years ago now routinely saves

In a related move, Enhanced-911 service will become available
provincewide when the entire Halifax Regional Municipality joins
the grid this summer. The three-digit phone number will summon
emergency help anywhere in Nova Scotia. Our province will be the
first in the country to enjoy complete coverage.

The wisdom of my government's actions to modernize our education
system is becoming apparent.

Administrative streamlining has meant more education dollars are
reaching students in the classroom.

As an example, a four-year plan to reduce class sizes will be
unveiled this year. Attentive to other aspects of the learning
environment, my government will work to ensure our schools are
safe places where students and teachers follow high quality
curricula and maximize their scholastic achievements.

The Education and Culture Department, in co-operation with its
education partners, will work to support overall school
improvement including special education services at the
elementary level, re-organization at the junior high level, and
programming that supports the future career and educational
choices of all senior high school students.

My government is also responding to the needs of minorities.

The Department of Education and Culture is working with the
Council on African Canadian Education to develop a proposal for
an Afrocentric Learning Institute. And for the first time, the
Mi'kmaq community will have a representative on each regional
school board. There is more meaningful parental involvement than
ever before in our schools. School advisory councils have
mushroomed from 50 last year to 225 this year.

The success of public-private partnerships in producing new
high-tech schools will speed the pace of construction. More
schools will be built more quickly. Seven of these schools are
now in various stages of construction. Sherwood Park Education
Centre in Sydney, the first school completed under the program,
has captured national and international attention for its design
and technological sophistication.

Children with serious emotional and behavioral problems as well
as their families will receive new help through more timely
intervention and specialized child placements. In addition, a new
secure treatment facility will be set up in Truro that will keep
children in Nova Scotia who would otherwise be sent out of

My government is also committed to participating in the National
Child Tax Benefit program.

It aims to reduce child poverty and encourage families on social
assistance to attain financial independence. The ministers of
education and culture, community services, health and justice,
together with the minister responsible for youth, have signed a
memorandum of understanding. It commits my government to an
integrated approach to child and youth services. A children and
youth action committee, staffed by representatives from the four
departments and the Youth Secretariat, is working to bring this

No more eloquent testament to the importance my government places
on helping the disadvantaged exists, than the budget record.
There have been no cuts to the Department of Community Services'
global budget since 1993. In fact, the allocation actually
increased within the last three years. Few governments in Canada,
in similar financial circumstances, can make that claim.

My government is proud of the principled way it deals with public

It has steadfastly followed a four-track strategy in simultaneous
pursuit of economic growth, financial stability, social
responsibility and governmental renewal. This course has 
not resulted in the massive layoffs experienced in some other
jurisdictions, nor has it placed social programs in jeopardy.
Instead it has put our finances in order, saved programs and
services, and laid the groundwork for the new optimism and
confidence our economy points to today.

God Save the Queen.

God Bless Nova Scotia.

God Bless Canada.



trp                          Apr. 10, 1997 - 2 p.m.