March 11, 1997              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLIII  No. 1

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Admit their Lordships, the Justices of the Supreme Court.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor has arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor.


Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair.

His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor takes the Chair.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Ladies and gentlemen, it is the wish of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor that all be seated.

Thank you.


Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

I take great pleasure in welcoming you to this Second Session of the Forty-Third General Assembly. In this year, our 500th since Cabot's voyage, we have much to celebrate. We enjoy the bounties of the land and sea. And we have wealth in the talent and abilities of our people.

This is our birthright as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We hold them in trust for our children and our children's children. Let us pass on, to those who will follow in the next 500 years, that birthright, with nature unblemished and a culture yet further enriched.

Keeping Commitments

In February of last year, our citizens elected a government that sought the people's support based on a platform of thoughtful optimism, genuine partnership, and good governance. That platform was costed, detailed, and distributed widely. It set out a clear direction and a plan of action - to maximize benefits from natural resources, revitalize rural communities, develop new industries, provide services that people need and do so within the means available to us. And, in all this, there was a commitment to discuss openly and honestly the decisions to be made.

That platform has become the basis of government's policies. Yesterday, My Government released a report card setting out its progress in implementing those policies. The Record to Date is a thorough assessment of My Government's progress in fulfilling its commitments to the people of our Province. It is an assessment that My Government will update throughout its mandate.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Fishery & Aquaculture

The 1990s have been a challenging chapter in the life of our Province and our people. The collapse of the ground fishery dealt us a heavy blow that is still being felt today, especially in our rural communities. We will not be whole again until there is a return to prosperity in the ground fishery by those who make their living from it.

My Government promised a renewed commitment to our fishery in a spirit of partnership with the fisherpeople of this Province, and with the Government of Canada. Government is committed to protect, rebuild and sustainably harvest our groundfish resource. Together, the industry and both levels of government participate in the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, charged with recommending sustainable measures of harvesting, based on resource conservation, growth and regeneration.

My Government has also worked with federal and industry partners in developing the Fishing Industry Renewal Board's Policy Framework for Fish Processing. This framework points the way to more stable employment and income levels as stocks recover.

Last year, landmark legislation was passed in this House establishing the Professional Fish Harvesters' Certification Board. This is a move toward meaningful stakeholder participation in the regulatory process, and a recognition of fishing as the professional occupation that it is.

My Government also promised to devote its energies to create a thriving aquaculture industry in this Province. It has energetically worked towards this over the past year, providing funding for aquaculture research and development, financial investment and marketing, planning, education and training, and extension services.

Aquaculture is recognized by My Government, and by its industry partners, as having tremendous potential for our economy. The expanding salmon and trout farms in Bay d'Espoir stand as shining examples of an aquaculture industry moving forward, employing hundreds of people, with prospects for further growth in employment.

Our people have shown great skill and ingenuity in developing new fisheries, such as shrimp and porcupine crab. Their efforts to do so must be encouraged, so that when groundfish resources rebuild, the fishery will be better able to provide good and stable incomes. There is recent news that our shellfish stocks are stronger than ever, and the prospects for an expanded shrimp fishery are most encouraging. Indeed the fishing industry as a whole continues to generate in excess of $500 million annually to our economy. It is a critical element in My Government's economic development initiatives.

The Smelter/Refinery and Trans-shipment Facilities

In the past year, My Government has ensured that the Voisey's Bay smelter and refinery and the offshore oil trans-shipment facility will be built in this Province. These are developments of profound significance for the future of our Province. Our vast natural resources will not simply be shipped away to the benefit of others. They will be developed here, for the benefit of our people.

Construction of the mine and mine mill in Labrador, together with the construction of the smelter/refinery complex at Argentia, will provide some 3,500 jobs for our people. Direct and indirect employment will create 3,000 jobs, once all Voisey's Bay facilities are in full operation.

Construction of the offshore oil trans-shipment facility will employ 300 at peak. The terminal and the shuttle tankers to feed it will create 120 permanent jobs. My Government will continue to work with industry to ensure our people are trained and ready to seize the opportunities that will flow from these two important projects.


Other mining opportunities are being developed throughout the Province. Two new gold mines began production in 1996, as did a gypsum mine at Fischells. Another gold mine at Nugget Pond has started processing and is expected to produce its first gold bar shortly. A slate quarry in Keels and an antimony mine at Beaver Brook, near Glenwood, are also expected this year.

These resources are ours to develop and process for the maximum benefit of our people. My Government is committed to an appropriate royalty regime that will allow for all citizens to share fully in the riches produced. Every opportunity will be explored, including the viability of a copper smelter in this Province. And My Government will continue to work with the mining industry to promote new mines and quarries in Newfoundland and Labrador. Mining exploration was at a record high of $91 million in 1996. This compares to $12 million in 1993, $15 million in 1994 and $70 million in 1995. In 1997, exploration is expected to remain strong at over $70 million.


The recent mating of the Hibernia platform demonstrated to the world that Newfoundland and Labrador is a major player in the world's oil and gas industry. Hibernia's success has also paved the way for a diversified offshore petroleum industry. The Terra Nova project is now undergoing an environmental review.

A new generic royalty regime was put in place for petroleum projects in 1996. The benefits of the generic regime are already evident. Clearly, it has accelerated the planning of the potential development of White Rose and other offshore oil fields, and has spurred renewed offshore exploration. For example, Amoco is planning an exploratory well on the Grand Banks in May, the first drilling activity there in five years.

Beyond this, the generic regime was critical in persuading Petro-Canada and its new partner, Norsk Hydro, to undertake a major, long-term commitment to exploration and development in the Jeanne D'Arc Basin. My Government is delighted with Petro-Canada's decision to establish an office in St. John's for east coast Canadian oil and gas development. Government expects to see similar offices opened by other major east coast energy players.

My Government is also exploring a new labour relations regime for our offshore industries that will ensure we are competitive with other regions, both here in North America and abroad.


In forestry, My Government has announced a new, $5.7 million forest research and education facility in Corner Brook, which will open in 1998. Government has negotiated a new three-year forest management strategy with the federal government, resulting in many silviculture projects throughout the Province. And, an additional five-year cost-shared silviculture plan has also been negotiated with Abitibi-Price and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

My Government has produced a 20-year forestry plan that, after extensive public consultation, will become the basis for the long-term, sustainable development of our forest industry. New areas for economic growth, such as on the coast of Labrador, will be pursued vigorously, as will new opportunities in integrated saw mill operations. The commitment to a sustainable and structured forest plan for this Province, in partnership with the Government of Canada and with industry, is being kept.


In agriculture, My Government continues to act in partnership with industry to target opportunities and to deal with restraints on development, including the need for public grain storage, expanding grain production, alternative feed trials, food marketing co-operatives, and an agriculture awareness campaign. And we are pursuing an increasing number of niche markets and developments in the foods processing and agrifoods sector.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Our natural resources can help us to pay for needed public services and to service our debt. It can also lay the foundation for a healthier, more diversified economy. My Government believes that the tourism industry can help to provide new growth for our Province.

Cabot 500 Celebrations

This year we are pleased to welcome Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip to our Province to greet the Matthew on its arrival in Bonavista. We will also be joined by a host of other leaders from across Canada and abroad. Indeed, the Cabot 500 Celebrations will place our Province in the international spotlight. This must be translated into permanent, sustained growth for tourism in our Province. My Government has promoted these Celebrations with enthusiasm, hosting five major anchor events, providing financial support for fifty events, and in-kind support to over sixty Come Home Years throughout the Province. Some of the regional events are annual events, enhanced for this Cabot anniversary. Others, such as the Placentia Festival of Flags, the Gander Festival of Flight, and the Northern Lights Cultural Festival are special Cabot 500 events.

We are already seeing the fruits of our labours. The influential American Bus Association has named the Cabot 500 Celebrations the top event in North America in 1997. Nine cruise ships carrying over 5,200 passengers are slated to visit fourteen ports of call both on the Island and in Labrador, and there is a 250 per cent increase in convention activity planned for this year. Our advertising campaigns have won five international awards in the past seven months, and the Province has been the subject of extensive coverage in such publications as the New York Times.

Growth in Tourism

My Government will build on this success with further promotional efforts focusing on American, European and Japanese travellers. As promised, My Government has also developed a new state-of-the-art central reservations system with New Tel Communications, which became operational in December of last year. And, through the Economic Renewal Agreement, it has supported the enhancement of interpretation centres throughout the Province, including the Ferryland Interpretation Centre, The Signal Hill Tattoo, the Fleur de Lys Dorset Eskimo Site, the Ryan Premises, and the Grenfell Interpretation Centre in St. Anthony.

1997 Year of the Arts

My Government has also helped restore funding to the 1997 Year of the Arts, as a commitment to the celebration of our rich culture and heritage. Over 1,300 individual artists will demonstrate their talents in seventy-eight exhibitions ranging from music and dance to theatre and the visual arts. Public funds, coupled with generous donations from our corporate citizens, will help bring our songs and stories to life like never before.

Amateur Sport

Looking beyond 1997, My Government is committed to working with the thousands of Canada Winter Games volunteers to host the best games ever in Corner Brook in 1999. And we look forward to the 1998 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Labrador West, following on the great success of the Summer Games held last year in Conception Bay South.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

The development of advanced technologies is seen by My Government as key to our advancement as an economy. The Internet and its applications are changing how we work and where we can work. It offers the people of our Province enormous opportunities. Our information technology companies aim to penetrate Scottish and Irish markets as easily as they might those in Nova Scotia or Ontario. For these businesses to grow, Government must provide a positive climate by maintaining a sound fiscal position and a quality standard of education and training, and by spearheading strategic promotional efforts to penetrate new markets and attract investment.

SoftWorld '98

This New Economy has allowed our information technology companies to transcend borders and find partnerships and markets around the world. It was in this spirit that My Government signed an agreement with the Aberdeen region of Scotland to bid as co-hosts for the SoftWorld '98 software conference in St. John's. SoftWorld '98 will provide a catalyst for further promotional efforts by My Government, in tandem with the information technology industry in this Province. SoftWorld '98 will showcase the innovation, talent and entrepreneurial spirit of our Province.

ERA and Advanced Technologies

Through the Economic Renewal Agreement, My Government has established a research infrastructure fund to ensure that the research and development facilities at Memorial University continue to foster advanced technology businesses.

And, it has invested $5 million in the Canadian Centre for Marine Communications so that it may increase the commercialisation of Newfoundland-based technologies in marine communications, navigation, and surveillance.

A further $10 million has been pledged to the efforts of Operation ONLINE - a joint private-sector, university and government initiative that has assumed a lead role in matters relating to our information technology sector. I am particularly pleased to note that My Government continues to support our world-class expertise in distance education and tele-medicine, and recently supported the establishment of a Chair of Telelearning at Memorial University.

Through investments in satellite and multimedia technologies, Memorial University, the provincial college, and the libraries will be equipped to develop and deliver courses throughout rural Newfoundland and Labrador, thereby allowing us to overcome the inherent problems of our geography.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Rural Revitalisation

Renewal of rural Newfoundland and Labrador stood squarely at the centre of My Government's mandate one year ago, and it created a Department dedicated to this purpose. There is a demonstrated commitment to our 20 economic zones, which are key to long-term sustainable growth. We must make way for local people to author and implement solutions unique to their economies. In the months ahead, My Government will build on these abilities by announcing a new initiative, in partnership with the Government of Canada, that will provide small business training and counselling services in each of the 20 economic zones.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Aboriginal Affairs

Labrador and its people stand as proud members of this Province and unique partners in our ongoing story of these past 500 years. Indeed, for centuries the aboriginal peoples there have hunted the land, fished the waters and raised their families in Labrador, and they are now asserting a greater measure of control over their communities. In its commitments to the people of Labrador and the whole Province, My Government agreed that the negotiation of land claims must be given top priority.

Negotiations have been substantial and intense and therefore have had moments of pause and difficulty. Yet the will on both sides of the table remains strong, and the results of the past year speak for themselves; conclusion of an agreement in principle with the Labrador Inuit is possible in the near term, and a self-government framework agreement has been signed with the Innu Nation. For the first time in Canada's history, a four-way joint approach to the environmental assessment of a major resource development has been negotiated. Indeed, both the Inuit and the Innu have joined My Government and the Government of Canada in the assessment of the Voisey's Bay mine project.

Labrador's Place

It is important that all of those who live in Labrador share in the development of its riches. My Government continues to work towards its commitment to officially change the Province's name to Newfoundland and Labrador.

But My Government also understands that the needs of Labrador's people are more than symbolic, and it has given tangible evidence of this. In this past year, there has been a new regional hospital announced for Happy Valley - Goose Bay; a new school for Hopedale; the Ptarmigan Trail in the South Coast; the re-establishment of government services in Labrador West; the re-establishment of the Labrador Air Subsidy for the South and North Coasts; and the recent news that Labrador West will be the site for the 1998 Newfoundland & Labrador Winter Games.

My Government will continue to support the notion that those who live closest to a resource should have a full and fair opportunity to benefit from its development. In the days ahead My Government will announce additional measures aimed at improving the quality of life in Labrador's communities.

Labrador has not always received its full and fair share of the riches that it generates. The grievances of its people have been heard, and they are understood. My Government has worked hard this past year to meet real needs, even in difficult times of restraint. My Government stands by its measured accomplishments in Labrador over this past year with the pride one finds in taking the first steps on a long, but prosperous journey.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

A Three Year Budgetary Plan

This year's budget will mark a new way of managing public money. This year, My Government will present a three-year, forward-looking budget that tries to be fair and honest with the men and women who work in the public service. Public employees and their families want to know where they stand so they can plan for their futures. This budget will give them a greater sense of stability.

Making Difficult Choices: Program Review

Last July, My Government announced an exercise called Program Review. Program Review has meant a systematic, comprehensive rethinking of government's role entering the 21st century. My Ministers have combed through government's inventory of programs, one by one, and asked three questions: Is this program in the public interest? If so, is it being run efficiently? And finally, can we afford it?

The conviction behind this exercise is simple: given that our debt is high, given that our third largest expenditure of taxpayers' money after health and education is interest on that debt, and given that our revenues from the federal government are decreasing, we must start making fundamental, rational choices. If we continue across-the-board cuts, where each department and service is asked to cut an equal percentage, we avoid the challenging decisions that must be taken. Instead, My Government will listen to people and reflect their values in the choices it makes. My Government will set priorities, and make choices.

Besides striving to get government right, we also have to make it more responsive. People want more control over their own lives, and a greater say in their children's education, in the managing of their health care, in tending to their communities. People want these decisions to be made visibly and openly. My Government knows this, and understands it. This year's Budget will establish a leaner government, but also a government with more local decision-making over issues that affect people within their own communities.

Education Reform

This is the example we followed in reforming our education system, where our school boards are being reorganized and given greater flexibility in determining their priorities. The number of school boards has been reduced from 27 to 10 to lessen administrative overhead, and the chief executive officers of the new interdenominational boards have been appointed by the boards themselves.

Education reform is proceeding, allowing more of our resources to be directed where they count most - in the classroom. And while enrolment numbers may decline, the demands for a quality education have never been greater. Therefore, My Government will meet new needs of our students by making strategic investments in equipment, facilities, and learning materials, as well as supporting initiatives that meet more traditional needs, such as school lunches.

Child Poverty

In the year ahead, My Government will demonstrate its commitment to our youngest citizens by working to eliminate our Province's and our nations biggest blight - that of child poverty. The new National Child Benefit is an important step in this direction. We will continue our efforts in a spirit of partnership with the Government of Canada and community leaders, so that together we may focus on ensuring that all of our children receive the services and programmes they need, both in school and at home.

Savings from Program Review and other efficiencies will allow us to make strategic investments in nutrition, adoption, foster care and family service improvements. These investments will make our education, social services, and health care stronger, more stable, and more responsive.


One of My Government's most important responsibilities is the health of our citizens. My Government promised that health care would receive stable funding for the next three years.

In September, My Government announced plans to restructure hospital services in St. John's, including a plan to move the Janeway Child Health Facility adjacent to the General Hospital. This new child health facility, in association with the Health Sciences Complex, will improve access to specialty services and equipment and bring ill newborns and new mothers together. It will maintain a separate space for health care delivery, and a separate emergency room for children. The $100 million needed for this new facility, and additional renovations to the General Hospital and St. Clare's Hospital, will come from the efficiencies achieved through restructuring health care services in St. John's.

My Government is committed to maintaining services and funding, to improving physician and medical services to our rural areas, to community health, and to making strategic investments to improve health care delivery.

Social Services

In the area of Social Services, My Ministers are ready to make fundamental changes in the way Government formulates policy and delivers services. Long overdue changes to the delivery of income support and employment development programs will emphasize the strong and natural linkages that exist between them.

Employment is the key connector of people to economic development. Every effort must be made to assist able-bodied individuals who receive income support, so that they may develop new skills to return to the workforce. My Government is steadfast that the status quo is no longer acceptable because it no longer works, and Government will take bold new measures to bring about meaningful change.

The Strategic Social Plan

In keeping with My Government's commitment, a Consultation Paper for a Strategic Social Plan was released in June of last year, and a 15-member Social Policy Advisory Committee was formed shortly after.

This Committee is diversified in its membership, drawing from the ranks of social action groups, volunteers, educators, health care providers, environmentalists, aboriginals, and persons with disabilities, as well as representatives of labour and academia.

The Social Policy Advisory Group has travelled the Province extensively to discuss the Consultation Paper and to listen to the concerns of people in this Province. It is now in the final stages of completing its report. In the coming year, My Government will develop a Strategic Social Plan that will eventually be integrated with the Province's Strategic Economic Plan.

My Ministers are convinced that economic and social development cannot take place in isolation from one another. They must be combined to paint an accurate picture of the socio-economic state of our Province, and result in a long-term plan that is effective in improving our economy and our social welfare.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

The Harmonized Sales Tax

While My Government works to ensure that our wealth and resources are distributed fairly in our economy, and that our money is spent wisely so that we live within our means, we must also work to keep our economy growing - to stimulate the economy and create more wealth for us to share. Government can help by ensuring that more money is kept in the pockets of our citizens. Indeed, this year will see the biggest tax cut for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians since Confederation in the form of the new harmonized sales tax. According to the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, no other province will benefit as much as ours from this new integrated tax.

The consolidation of the GST with the RST will result in a more efficiently administered tax, cutting down on the duplication which currently exists. In this Session, My Government will ask this House to consider a new Tax Administration Act that will revise the administration of our provincial taxes in light of this new arrangement.

The Legislative Agenda

You will be asked in this Session to consider many other pieces of drafted legislation, with a view to their enactment. Among those to be considered over the next year are: an amendment to The Schools Act, 1996, that will provide for a French-first language school board; and a new Farm Practices Protection Act that will assure arable land will be retained for farming purposes. Numerous other pieces of legislation will be laid before you in this Session of the House for your consideration. These will each be tabled at the earliest possible opportunity so Members can properly prepare for the upcoming proceedings.

This House established a Select Committee to Review the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry in this Province, and that Committee has begun its public consultations, with a view to presenting recommendations to this House by November of this year.

The Committee has listened to the people and uncovered a significant level of dissatisfaction by the general public in rate setting and underwriting practices of the insurance industry. My Government will welcome the Report with its recommendations to address those industry practices which are identified as problems by the Committee.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

In these past 500 years, we as a people have carved a good life and a peaceful existence for ourselves in this place. What has helped us along is our time-tested ability to turn adversity on its head, and, with a strong will and good humour, to create opportunity.

In the years ahead, we must remember this talent, we must have faith in our abilities, and we must call on our strengths. The real opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador have never been brighter. We stand together this year, inviting the world to celebrate our history and to join with us as we prepare for the new millennium and all that it heralds. We must be ready for it. We must take stock of our circumstances and make our choices, now.

We must maximize the benefits we will gain from our natural resources, and allow this to be the backbone of a new, diversified economy. We must move away from the notion that any one big project will solve the problems that face us. We must firmly, but compassionately, act to bring our debt under control. We must reinvent the delivery of government services so that we protect them both for this generation, and for future generations. And we must do all these things knowing that the sacrifices we make today are the investments we reap tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Estimates of Expenditures will be laid before you in due course and you will be asked to grant supply to Her Majesty.

I invoke God's blessing upon you as you commence your labours in this Second Session of the Forty-Third General Assembly. May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberations.

His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor and the Vice-Regal party leave the Chamber.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Small Claims Act," Bill No. 1.

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Small Claims Act," carried. (Bill No. 1)

On motion, Bill No. 1 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor has been pleased to make a speech to the members of this General Assembly, and for greater accuracy I have obtained a copy. Is it agreed that the speech be taken as read and that copies be distributed to members?


MR. SPEAKER: Agreed.

The hon. the Member for Labrador West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CANNING: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to respond to the Gracious Speech of His Honour welcoming members to this hon. House to begin the Second Session of this Forty-Third General Assembly.

We, as a society, have journeyed together for some 500 years. Our Province stands as a beacon of self-confidence and perseverance when often, against great odds, our people, both past and present, stood shoulder-to-shoulder to create a better future for themselves and their children.

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to His Honour today as he listed the achievements and goals of this government. The optimism and promise expressed in our future were indeed very encouraging.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Labrador West have contributed a great deal to this Province. This year witnessed increased activity of both the IOC mines and the Wabush mines. In fact, in December of 1996, IOC announced a $75 million capital expenditure program for its Labrador West facilities, including improvements to the Quebec North Shore and Labrador railway. Out of 215 laid off employees at the Iron Ore Company of Canada one year ago, 189 employees have been recalled to work. Wabush Mines recalled twenty-seven employees on lay-off one year ago, while adding an additional twenty new hires. All thirty-two employees on current lay-off will be recalled this year for vacation relief.

Further, I am pleased to report to this House that the North Corporation of Australia in January made an offer to purchase 59.3 per cent of IOC for a total of $230 million. This is a very significant positive development for both the employees and the community at large.

Additionally, government's response to the community leaders of Labrador West regarding a power pricing strategy for the 127 megawatts of recallable power at Churchill Falls has created substantial international interest in our huge silica deposit. I am pleased to report that a 4,000-ton sample of silica will be shipped to a silica smelter in the United States of America within the next few months. This sample will be test smelted to determine its quality and its performance during the smelting process. While this project is still in its infancy, much of today's success is a direct result of government's determination to be proactive in creating new wealth and new job opportunities for our people. Simply put, we are determined to move at the speed of business.

Mr. Speaker, the first EDGE program was announced in Labrador in 1996. Industrial Rubber of Bathurst, New Brunswick, plans to begin supplying rubberized products to the mining industry in Western Labrador, other parts of this Province and indeed, throughout the world. It is expected they will begin operation in Labrador West this coming summer.

Our people want the dignity of a pay cheque but with the promise of a sustainable environment that we can pass on to future generations. I draw particular attention to the project at the Iron Ore Company of Canada that will replace the dry grinding system with a new wet grinding system. This new system will effectively eliminate the terrible airborne dusting conditions emanating from that facility near Labrador City. This project, costing approximately $30 million, will be completed in November of this year. The hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour deserves great credit for ensuring that this project was given the green light by the board of directors of IOC to ensure a timely completion date.

It is indeed noteworthy that Sean Spurvey, formerly of Labrador City, currently as a teacher in the United Kingdom, was instrumental - in fact, presided over - the initiation of Her Majesty's home page on the worldwide net just last week. Young Labradorians and Newfoundlanders have taken up the exciting challenge flowing from the information highway and they have proven they can compete with the world.

Mr. Speaker, this government has worked hard during the first year of its mandate to reinvigorate this Province and our people with hope and optimism. The list of achievements has been impressive, from Voisey's Bay to Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose, the oil trans-shipment facility, and exciting new growth opportunities in Marystown. These achievements are a direct result of this government's action plan for this Province. While these achievements are noteworthy, the impressive work done to restore confidence and hope in our fishery, forestry and tourism potential are equally laudable.

On May 22, this government announced a two-stage increase in the minimum wage. On April 1 of this year, the minimum wage will again be increased for the second time in as many years to $5.25 per hour.

Members recognize that people of my region, Labrador, have long felt a sense of not receiving its full share. I am indeed pleased to note that His Honour has committed this government to a path of restoring their collective confidence in this political process. History will judge, in my view, that this government - those who came before us chose a path and we delivered.

Mr. Speaker, as I have said so many times, the irony of the richest nickel find in the world today being discovered in perhaps the poorest region of our country ought not to be lost on any citizen. I am confident that an honourable agreement with our aboriginal partners is within reach and we will instill hope and a fresh new spirit of confidence in those communities. There can be no joy in the discovery of this magnificent mineral wealth in Northern Labrador, until those who have least amongst us have an opportunity to share fully in it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CANNING: Seeing my friend, the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains, achieve benefits for his people in Northern Labrador is immensely satisfying to me.

Mr. Speaker, both the North and the South Coast of Labrador need a hand up to adequately tap the job creation potential available from their local resources. The recent food subsidy program announced by this government and their expressed willingness to work with local groups in support of new fishery and forestry job creation opportunities are examples of this government's Labrador agenda.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps no other single project has as much hope attached for the people of Labrador as the construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway. As hon. members will recall, this government has been earnestly negotiating a deal to take over all federal marine assets and responsibilities currently serving Coastal Labrador for compensation. We plan to use this compensation to construct a highway across Labrador and down the southern coast while maintaining a marine service to the north coast that will meet or exceed the demands of the needs of the people there. I look forward with anticipation to both governments concluding an honourable agreement that will make this highway a reality.

Mr. Speaker, Labradorians and Newfoundlanders have spoken and this government is determined to deliver. The people of our Province want government to be accountable. They want a consultation process for major public policy goals that allow ideas to percolate from the bottom up rather than always being pressed from the top down. They want their public officials to make job creation a priority. They want the government to live within their means and right-size itself to meet their needs. Above all, Mr. Speaker, they want this government to continue with education reform, provide a quality health care system and continue the fight against child poverty. In short, our people want our government to lend a hand to those in need.

It is indeed noteworthy that the hon. the Minister of Social Services is co-chair of the Federal/Provincial Territorial Ministers of Social Services and has been working tirelessly, along with her counterparts, to deal effectively with child poverty. Mr. Speaker, while the needs are great, the resources that we have available to deal effectively with those needs are limited. That is why we must make important and significant choices on behalf of those we serve. The government has a collection of women and men with a vision and a collective will to make things happen.

Politics is a call to service. It is by choice that each of us sought the approval of our electorate. It is by choice that this team you see collected in this hon. House will continue our determined efforts to build a better tomorrow for our Province's greatest resource, the very people that we are serving. While there may be challenges and challenging times as we forge ahead, I am confident that we have a growth plan for this Province. We have set our course and we are well on our way.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I want to express our gratitude and appreciation to His Honour for his attendance here today. I move that a Select Committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the Gracious Speech from the Throne.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS THISTLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my great privilege this afternoon to second the motion just put forth by my colleague, Perry Canning, the Member for Labrador West.

My district, the district of Grand Falls - Buchans, as most people are aware, is in the central part of our Province, midway between Port aux Basques and St. John's. Most of us will remember that famous slogan, `We will finish the drive in '65'. It referred to the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway across Newfoundland, and the Pearson's Peak monument between Badger and Grand Falls - Windsor recognizes that centre point.

The economy of Grand Falls - Buchans, revolves around our forestry resource, and in recent years we have seen a gradual shift to diversify that economy with tourism and service industries. As part of the Cabot celebrations, this summer we will be showcasing the Exploits River as one of the best salmon fishing rivers in North America, made possible by a tripartite funding agreement with all levels of government for an environmental clean-up and enhancement. Tourism possibilities of this natural resource are on tap and will benefit the entire Exploits Valley.

Over the past year we have seen a new interest in mining exploratory work in the Buchans area. In fact, at this present time drilling is taking place in the Buchans watershed area and the people are very optimistic that a new ore body will be found.

The people of my district have the same concerns as people all over this Province: jobs, continued commitment to health care and education; and, of course, unique to my district is the all-important partnership commitment with government to maintaining a sustainable and structured forest plan.

I am pleased that the Speech from the Throne has addressed social policy matters. Mr. Speaker, this is one area that touches not only the people in my district of Grand Falls - Buchans, but everyone in this great Province of ours. The government's continued commitment to maintaining services and funding health care is welcomed news. Health care is a primary concern of many people, mainly because the care we receive today affects our lives tomorrow. Mr. Speaker, this speech will reassure people in rural areas that the government is working to improve physician and medical services that they receive as well as the overall way health care is delivered.

Health care is not the only social policy issue I am pleased to hear the Speech from the Throne address. Every day we talk about how important our children are. They are the future, the leaders of tomorrow, our hope. The commitment that savings from the new National Child Benefit will go directly to the children for whom it was intended to improve their quality of life is a reassurance for many parents who depend upon and need social programs. And it goes to show yet again the forward thinking of the government.

Those same children also deserve quality education. Mr. Speaker, this speech also reminds people that education reform is proceeding. At the end of the process we will have a more focused education system with investment where it is most needed: in equipment, in facilities, in learning materials and programs to meet basic needs of our children. This is a further investment in their future.

Citizens in rural areas of my own district of Grand Falls - Buchans, as well as many other parts of the Province, will be glad to hear that the government, in partnership with the Government of Canada, will provide small business training and counselling services in the twenty economic zones. This will give many people an opportunity to be a part of the burst of economic activity that lies just around the corner. Not only is this government ensuring that many of the jobs created by our numerous resource-based industries stay in our Province, but programs like this will well prepare people to take advantage of spin-off opportunities as well. People can qualify themselves for the jobs that become available and need to be filled. In the long term it will prepare people to adapt and deal with their local economic challenges.

This year will be a busy one for all of us. So many areas of the economy are developing, and we are keeping pace. Advances in information technology are diminishing distance in the Province. Rural Newfoundland need no longer feel physical isolation from the centre of business. And the even better news is that local companies are among the forerunners in this growing industry. In fact only last week Steelcore of Buchans was awarded a lead-in contract with Boeing Aircraft to supply airplane parts, a true example of what can be achieved in rural Newfoundland with a committed well trained workforce and new technology.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS THISTLE: Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne promises continued support in this area, and that is good news indeed. It is also good news that we have not given up on the industry that was our bread and butter for so many years. The renewed commitment to the fishery is very encouraging. People who grew up on the ocean want to see a return to that way of life, and efforts to rebuild a sustainable fishery are well underway. Not only is the government working to revitalize traditional fisheries, it is developing a whole new area, aquaculture. I am also seeing that come alive in my area of Grand Falls - Buchans where there is a new development underway. With our rich knowledge and experience in the fishery we are well on our way to developing this new industry.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, in this 500 anniversary year we can be proud to celebrate not only where we have come from, and all that we have accomplished in good times, and, of course, in difficult times, but, also, to celebrate the prosperous future that is well on its way to fruition. It gives me great pleasure to second the motion put forward by my colleague Mr. Perry Canning, Labrador West.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my pleasure today to welcome His Honour. It is his first opportunity to deliver the Throne Speech setting out government's agenda over the next year. To all honoured guests, I welcome you on the floor of the House of Assembly and those in the galleries today; also, to the mover, the Member for Labrador West and the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans who seconded it.

Today we are looking at really a crossroads. We are looking at our Province from two different polarized set of emotions. We have, on the one hand, a tremendous potential for success. We have Hibernia, we have Voisey's Bay. We have tremendous opportunities developing in Argentia with the nickel smelter and refinery there. We have an opportunity with the cod hopefully returning to our waters, at least on the south coast and the gulf regions, 3PS in particular. We have opportunities there and we have to make the most of those opportunities and do it right.

On the other hand we have to look at our Province from another perspective, a perspective that has been looked at by many ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians today, and that perspective is a lack of jobs in this Province, 20,000 less that there were several years ago. We have an out-migration unprecedented in the history of our Province, and one that Stats Canada tells us will be 40,000 more people over the next twenty years. We have communities dying, and as you travel around this Province and look you will see infrastructure eroding on a rapid basis, from pavement to the structure of buildings around this Province.

We have health cuts that have been unprecedented in our history. We have chaos in our education system. We have had tax increases. While not purported to be in the last Budget we had tremendous increases in licensing fees, some up to 600 and 700 per cent increases that put extra revenue into the coffers of the Province under the guise of no tax increases. We have the ripping open of the social safety net that people have treasured in this Province and across Canada, and government tells us we are going to have three more years of cuts.

Now, I reminded government back in the 1996 Throne Speech that they promised a new approach to doing things in this Province, and that approach that was promised, was a promise of consultation with ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. They were going to listen as governments have never listened before in this Province, and they were going to go out then and they were going to promote and to sell this Province in the boardrooms and yes, in the ballrooms of the world, but I was rather sceptical and I said so, because I looked across the House, Mr. Speaker, and I saw the same old faces making up this Cabinet as the previous.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology I saw, and his travel excursions continued; the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, with five years the fisheries closing, where is the plan, I now say? The plan where the minister was going to solve the dilemmas in our Province; and the Minister of Mines and Energy with no energy plan. We are bankrupt of an energy plan and we are scrambling now to find energy to supply the new-found industries, not that we found around the world but the ordinary Newfoundland and Labradorian found on their own, the Verbiskis and the Chisletts found, and started this process going, people from Newfoundland who spent years out there in the field in exploration.

In Health we have seen it, one cut after another in health care, unprecedented I said, and need I say more on Education chaos, we have had it here from day one; the Environment aspect, we have not accepted our responsibility on the Environment and our ability to deal with oil spills that can devastate our resources that we depend on so heavily in a resource-rich Province, and of course, in Justice, we have had a series of chaos. We have had no Justice. We have had Trans-City; we have had the police force chaos. They put down the RCMP and RNC and they turn this Province upside down with a lack of direction to tell the people that they would be provided with basic services in a non-competitive environment; and of course, municipalities. Let us hope the regionalization is going to be done right, great confidence in the minister he is going to do it; not what happened before and we all know the bad taste of what we called regionalization before. We have a new name; let us hope we have a new process.

The Minister of Finance, I cannot forget my counterpart over there, and he is tremendous, the only person in Newfoundland and Labrador who to the Senate did a presentation that said: `The HST is going to be positive in the tax-inclusive pricing'. I mean, he is living in a bubble in here in this building and he does not know what is happening in the outside world, I say to the minister, and I thought we were going to see it all when we saw it. Then we had the new Cabinet Ministers rushing in to set the agenda that was going to get this Province back, moving again on the right path. We had the Minister of Government Services and Lands, who had cabin fever from day one and Crown Lands - and we had tripling and tripling of fees, tenfold in many instances. No new taxes but pay an arm and a leg to be able to own the little cabin that you built in some remote area; taxation up to $20 million I believe, in total.

AN HON. MEMBER: Twenty-one million.

MR. SULLIVAN: Twenty-one million, it could exceed. And forestry - well we were supposed to have a five-year plan last year. A six-year plan just came out a month ago on the wood supply analysis, we did not have it. We have Tourism and the parks, we have seen it, yes - chaos. Where is the consultation we were promised? and Social Services, cut after cut after cut in social services; the day the Budget was read with increased funding for social services, there was a memo sent out to people mentioning a 10 per cent cut to the disabled, the very same day last year. We have the Minister of Rural Development and Renewal; I am still looking for that renewal and that development in rural Newfoundland. I have not seen it. Transportation, need I say more on the air ambulance, the document that Cabinet said that it was cheaper to maintain it because we have a fleet of aircraft, it is cheaper to maintain it, but now they are going to go out and privatize it and it is more expensive than the Cabinet document indicated. We are going to take from Northern Newfoundland and Labrador over 50 per cent of the air ambulance services there and the Medivacs, they have over half and they are going to take it out of there and now they are going to hide that under the disguise of privatization. Privatization is good if it serves a public purpose and it is cheaper. If it is not, why do it?

I was pleased to see the Premier of the Province last year, the very first sentence last year of the Throne Speech, the number one thing in the Throne Speech said, after His Honour welcomed people to the first session of the forty-third General Assembly: "It is time to change the name of our Province to reflect the reality that it is made up of two equally important parts, Newfoundland and Labrador. My Government will bring forward legislation to change the name of the Province from Newfoundland to Newfoundland and Labrador." In the Throne Speech today he said: "My Government continues to work toward its commitment to officially change the Province's name to Newfoundland and Labrador."

Legislation is what is required. Admit it, you aren't working toward it. If you are going to make a statement, I expect the Premier to live up his statements, or else he should not have made it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you agree with it or not?

MR. SULLIVAN: I'm on the record in the House of Assembly last year, my stand on it, I say to the Minister. I am on the public record. We condemn the approach that government has taken. There has been widespread anger out in this Province over the approach on education, I would say to the minister. We were told consultation. Bowled over with consultation. Public exams. Consultation, where was it? Cancellation of kindergarten last year, where was it? Community colleges in chaos. Where was the consultation we were promised? It never happened. Where was it in health? Where was it in parks? It wasn't there. There was no public consultation whatsoever.

Very significant legislation came to this House of Assembly last year, probably some of the most significant legislation we have had in our history. Legislation got rammed through this House last year. In our history in the first forty years of this Province we had five closure motions. We had seventeen under the next term of government. We have had several this year alone; three in three days, closure motions. Even a closure motion before one person had an opportunity to speak on a reading of that bill. That to me is autocratic, no consultation, and doesn't give regard to the House of Assembly or the rights of members.

We proposed twenty-five amendments to the schools and education act; very significant acts, an area that we supported. I even took the Premier's offer and went to Ottawa, and I set the record straight when he tried to stray from the course and took him to task at certain occasions, as the Minister of Education can vouch for. We had significant amendments, and we would send that legislation back here for amendments in the future, because there was closure motions invoked on a process that we agreed with and we didn't have an opportunity to express our opinions and to get them entertained. That isn't justice, that isn't democratic, and it isn't a role in which we are elected to perform here in the House of Assembly. We want to see the most effective and best legislation go through this House of Assembly and we don't want to be back here wasting taxpayers' time and money doing it over again.

In the last session of this House we have seen power being taken from this Legislature and given to Cabinet and ministers, power under expropriation that the House had. We have had powers on releasing of confidential information; we have had changes in the fish inspections act. We have an increase of powers to the minister and staff and less legislative powers in the House of Assembly in matters that are very crucial and very significant affecting those specific areas and industries out there.

That isn't the openness we were promised. We have been unsuccessful in getting answers to questions, in dealing with the new approach, we call it, and it hasn't. The Premier, Cabinet, have not shown a commitment for more openness, more consultation, more constructiveness, I would say more thoroughness and more thoughtfulness, and a more concerted effort and approach in dealing with the people's business here in the House of Assembly.

The Premier just indicated, and I just heard yesterday, he doesn't want a long session here. He doesn't want to interfere with Cabot 500. That is an insult to the people's House of Assembly here. A House that last year we sat for just fifty-some days, about one day a week in the House last year. We want to debate the issues here. We have only set aside eight days in this month. Closed tomorrow, a day next week, closed after the Budget. Not an opportunity to adequately discuss and deal with the issues out there today. There are demonstrations in the streets. There are people crying out to be heard, to be consulted, and it has not been happening.

I am sure everybody remembers a famous statement a year ago, `We cannot cut, cut, cut our way to prosperity!' It rang out loud and clear throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. But times have changed. Times change very, very quickly. We have uncertainty unprecedented in our Province. We have had more lay-offs. We have had budgets now in bits and pieces. We had the release on parks just last week, on teachers yesterday. We are going to piecemeal it now so the budget will not be as dramatic a document. That has been the strategy now to cut it piece to piece. That has been the direction. More panic - and all this spells out, Mr. Speaker, that we just do not have a plan here in this Province. We do not have a plan. We are out working and going on automatic pilot and sometimes if it is non-functional we will try to correct it instead of charting our course and ensuring that we stay on this specific course.

I would like to get back to the HST. The only person in the Province who thought all the aspects were good - it is ill-timed and it was poorly thought out. It was suspiciously motivated. There was no mention of it in the election campaign, there was no mention of it in the Throne Speech of 1996, but one month after the Throne Speech, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed last April 23, laying out the plans for a Harmonized Sales Tax to hide the GST around the Province. That was not a direction. It was rushed through. It was an instantaneous thing. It was a cash grab up front that we will pay dearly for, and reflected back to the last fiscal year of the Federal Government, I might add, a plan that is going to take $155 million out of the Treasury of this Province. If it was going to serve a social function, as part of a social plan, we could accept that as being a policy direction of this government, but what did it do? It put the costs on the backs of the people who could not afford it. An increase in oil, electricity, in children's clothing and hair cuts. If you take your kid to a hockey arena, ice rentals and all these; dozens and dozens of items out there today.

Is there something wrong when you change and take the tax from big ticket items that are at 19.84 per cent down to 15 per cent on the fur coats and you put it on children's clothing? Is there not something wrong with that process, taking away $155 million, badly needed revenue in this Treasury that is going to result in more health cuts and education cuts in the process? It does not serve a social function. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick realized the impact that such harmonization is going to have and they give breaks back in those areas for a social purpose in their provinces.

I just heard today that Premier McKenna believes that the tax-inclusive pricing is going to be a problem now. He is speaking out against it right now, a Province that had gone along with it. It is bad for this Province, it is bad for the people, and what is this Province doing? Putting in a new tax for other revenues; insurance tax at 15 per cent. If you sell a private vehicle now it is a new 15 per cent tax. They would not be taxed under the HST, under the new agreement. So, Mr. Speaker, we have conflicting statements coming from governments. We have no clear direction.

The Minister of Finance told me in this House that the $155 million we are going to lose on harmonization, we are going to make up that by an improved growth in the economy of the Province. We have a declining economy this year. We are going to take in less revenue in RST than last year. There is conflicting information. On the same day the Social Service Minister indicated - in response to my question - that the Minister of Finance said the economy is going to grow and make up for harmonization in lost revenues, he said that the consultation paper, the Social Strategic Plan, said, over the next twenty years we are going to have fewer people working. We are going to have more seniors in our Province, an aging population. We are going to have greater health care needs. We are going to have increased demands on our resources to meet those needs, and until those two ministers and the government can speak out of the same side of their mouth and reconcile their statements, we are going to be a boat adrift out on the ocean with no direct path.

The Minister of Finance - in fact, I am inclined to believe the Minister of Social Services. We have had lay-offs. Let us look at realism out there. Let us not deal with - let us deal with realism. We have had lay-offs in the system: Hibernia, the gravity base, almost 6,000 jobs - `two great fish plants'. Hibernia work has ended, just about, on the construction phase, coming to an end. We have had the mating of the topsides and gravity base, a significant event in the history of this Province. It is tremendous - the tremendous jobs it created, the tremendous spin-off effects.

But we are getting into an era now where we are seeing the fishery decline. There are TAGS cuts. Every week there are sixty people, on average, dropping off TAGS. There are 25,000, 26,000 left on the program - 3,300 went last year, and 2,350 this year, and the remainder by May of next year. The last 15,000 or 16,000 will go then. It is going to be dramatic. EI cuts have been devastating under this new seasonal. Some announcements there will certainly alleviate that to a degree, and I was very pleased to hear that this past week. We have had transfer cuts to this Province. We have had tax increases in this Province, under a different name, but we have had them. We have had municipal downloading. Many communities in this Province have shrinking tax bases, they have out-migration, they have fewer people working, and we have a downloading and on the verge of bankruptcy, as indicated here in the House many times by the minister. We have a serious problem with municipalities here in our Province in being able to meet their needs.

We look around, and what we need in this Province is a long-term plan, we need long-term thinking, not short-term band-aid approaches to our economy.

Rural development in this Province: it was called, I think - and the Throne Speech made reference to it - rural revitalisation. What I have seen in my travels around this Province, my experience of rural Newfoundland - and I happen to live there, grew up there, and participated in industry in rural Newfoundland. I have seen the agenda on rural revitalisation has been relocation to Edmonton and Fort McMurray and Fort Nelson and Vancouver and all around this country - people, in droves, leaving this Province.

I have seen a decline of 40 per cent in a town in my district in the last five years. It has gone down by 40 per cent, a town of 1,500 people. We are seeing a mass exodus of people out of this Province. With no basic development of that infrastructure and no job (inaudible) in rural Newfoundland, we have been seeing really a resettlement of rural Newfoundland by policy decisions. Not a massive exodus one time pushing people out, but the lifeline is being pulled tighter and tighter, and people have no choice, because the costs are going to be greater to live in rural Newfoundland, even though there are opportunities and hopes and infrastructure there. People will cling on to that as long as people are giving hope.

We have an economic renewal agreement heard again today. I heard it ten or fifteen times last year. That was the agreement that was signed in June 1995 by the former Premier of the Province at Hotel Newfoundland, at a function I attended, in which the Province contributes $4 million a year. For $4 million a year we have about $100 million-worth of announcements. It is (inaudible) -

MR. MATTHEWS: The $100 million plan (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes it is. It is a $100 million plan over five years, $20 million a year, $16 million federal, $4 million provincial, of which it was announced in June 1995, I might add. In fact, I went to the news conference. It was positive. I am not disagreeing with $100 million going into economic renewal, but I certainly think, in many instances, we could be directing it into areas where we would get a good return.

MR. MATTHEWS: What is your plan?

MR. SULLIVAN: Resources - I will get to that, I say to the minister. I say to the minister, he is not putting people on a shift system; you can only go to an emergency between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. I can tell you, you cannot get sick after 11:00 at night.

Just to please the minister, I will move on and talk about health. We have seen, I say to the minister, a decline in the quality of health, because we do not have the personnel to deliver that quality. It is not a reflection on the individuals who work in the system. We have seen hospital closures; we have seen bed closures; we have seen people waiting on stretchers for two days at a time, eighty and ninety-year-old people - that going on every week. It went on last week, last month, and months ago, and we call them rare, isolated cases. You talk to people who work in those hospitals, and the families of those people; it is not a rare case, it is almost an every day occurrence.

Waiting lists for cardiac surgery have increased. One individual was waiting one year, benefits run out, a family in distress, a person emotionally drained - people on longer and longer waiting lists - to try to get a bypass operation to save his life; and in many instances an opportunity to get back to work in early instances - they have gone beyond the point.

We have almost 100 unfilled positions for doctors in this Province, and the minister says we are trying to fill them.

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Two months ago it was eighty. I heard a doctor from the Medical Association yesterday say almost a hundred. The figure I received from your department was eighty a few months ago.

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister is saying: We are trying to fill them but we are not giving any more money. The government is not intent on filling positions when they are not willing to allocate any resources to fill them, that is the point.

We have seen a Canada health and social transfer, when we lump together our established program financing, NCARP, and last year in our budget we had $427 million. This current fiscal year we are receiving $87 million less - $340 million. That Canada Health and Social Plan was delivered to us when the Premier was the quarterback on the Cabinet team that made the decision. The Premier threw the pass to this Province, and now he has become the wide receiver. We are in this Province now with $87 million less, and that plan is going to be $60 million less next year and another $50 million over the next three years. If you can imagine taking out of post-secondary education and health, from $427 million down to $230 million in five years... It is a lot different when you are looking up the barrel of a gun than holding the trigger. It is a much different situation, I say.

We have failed to fight the cuts into our social safety net that is going to put our Province in a very difficult position. We, being a have-not Province, depending on a significant amount, in excess of 40 per cent of our revenues, from the Federal Government, it is drastic and impacting today, last year and next year, on our Province. That is an avenue we have to look at as a resource, as a supply of revenue to our Province.

We have seen education being a very low priority with this government. We have seen, in the last two years, $50 million taken out of education, out of the budget. An announcement yesterday, with 468 teachers, there will be tens of millions of more dollars taken out of the education system in our Province in this fiscal year.

Before I was elected to the House of Assembly, the Williams Royal Commission report was released. About five years ago that was released, and a few months later - and I have watched it; I left an education system, having spent twenty years in the system, and I have not seen the areas in which a province has jurisdiction and can move in classroom reform, deal with disruptive behaviour, enhancing the learning environment, that we did not need constitutional changes. But we were told we needed the constitutional changes to get the savings to use to do those things. And now we are told, `We are not going to put the money back in.' That is what is being told to us, and that has not been an honest and straightforward approach.

We had the Canning report, last year, on special matters. Where is it, and what is being done to improve the plight of the people of this Province who are depending on educational opportunities to enhance their education and to enable them to be more productive members of our society? It is not happening. We are not getting the attention for special needs children. The need is out there. Studies have been done, study after study. We do not need any more studies. We need results, we need action, and we need to do it.

If we manage our resources and handle our fiscal affairs, we can have the fiscal maneuverability to do many of these things. But it is not getting done because we do not a plan, we do not have an agenda, we do not have a fiscal plan to develop on maximizing on our resources, and we do not have a direction in the social sector in our Province. Just recently, the Federal Government made an announcement on the child benefit. They give it on the one hand and then our Province is going to take it away on the other hand.

In our Province today in our schools we have 40,000 children hungry as we sit here in the House of Assembly. We had 200 presentations to the Committee on Children's Interests but what is going to be done? There is a vague reference to doing something, but time will tell the results of the intensive work by that committee - the committee that did a tremendous job as they went all over this Province and listened to the general public on a consultation process that started back under the previous government, the previous Premier. It was certainly a very noble direction and something to do for the children of our Province who are our future, and we have to make sure that the resources are going to go into that area.

Today we have in this Province 78,000, at certain times, on social assistance. It varies, but the specific caseload, I guess, is 32,000 to 35,000, in that range, but when you consider children, the total family, we have between 75,000 and 80,000 people today in this Province depending on social assistance. There are people coming off TAGS every week. There are 25,000 to 26,000 still on the system and another 54,000 people on EI benefits in our Province. Only one of every three people living in this Province today is working and many of these are in the category of the working poor.

We are seeing deep cuts in funding. We are seeing cuts in the social sector. Social Services is affected, too, by the Canada health and social transfer that is taking away the social safety net and putting an extra burden on people in this Province who just cannot afford it. And we have opportunities - we need to be looking at our strengths. We, as a Province, are one of the most have-not provinces in this country but one of the richest in terms of natural resources. Does anybody see anything wrong with that, why we should be such a have-not when we have such a wealth of resources? We have to start looking at our resources as an avenue to wealth in our future and it will not be an easy role. You do not become a have-not Province overnight, and probably not in my lifetime, but we can make considerable progress toward it.

We hear `full and fair share'. We have never heard a definition as to what we mean by `full and fair share'. We have seen government being negligent in maximizing returns on resources in our Province. In 1992, the fishery closed and five years later we still do not have a plan laid out as to what the future is going to hold.

Mr. Cashin did a report and presented it to the minister. He was going to have it the end of December, and then it was January, and then February, but now it is March and where is the plan? In your office on a shelf gathering dust. It is not released, not public. The minister wanted to consult a little more.

We do not need five years of consultation. We need results. And the vessel replacement sits, too, on a shelf in Ottawa waiting for people to make decisions on purchasing boats before they can go out and fish the resource that is able to be fished out there now, to maximize it. There are many people out there, in spite of a moratorium, who have fished for numerous species and did quite well in this Province. They have moved into multi-species fishing. It will be important in the future to be able to sustain those people with an industry that is still there, but they do not have the direction and they do not have any response from governments in doing so. They have had roadblocks put in their way.

Under forestry, we had an announcement - and it is good to see a forest resource, an education facility, research centre, $5.7 million. But last year, about seventy jobs went away to New Brunswick. Our expertise went out of this Province in forestry, in a province that only has half as many federal public servants working as in the average province in Canada. We have a draining of people, of federal public servants working in our Province. We do not have our full and fair share. We only have half in terms of numbers of our full and fair share.

We have had the wood supply analysis that the minister released a year late, but it is still there. A five-year plan. It took six years, I say to the minister, for a five-year plan. It said that 50 per cent more wood was harvested in 1994 than is sustainable in this Province. That sends a signal to people in Grand Falls - Windsor, Stephenville, Corner Brook and those areas who are depending on a forest industry, to the sawmills and the loggers around our Province. We have to do something. Now they are saying: We have a fair supply in Labrador. I say, God help the trees in Labrador if they do the same thing to them as they have done to the ones on this Island.

There is not even a profile developed. They haven't looked at development of Labrador. Three times as long to grow a tree as it does in other parts of the Province. We have to have a plan to sustain them. It isn't all gone. It can grow back, but it has to be done properly with sustainability in mind. We are feeling the results of a northern cod stock that was devastated because people didn't listen. We can count trees quite easily. We do not want it to happen to our forest industry in this Province and something has to be done about it.

On energy, Mr. Speaker, we in this Province are scrambling. We do not have a plan. I say to the minister who is in the portfolio I think since 1989, we do not have an energy plan for this Province. We need 200 megawatts and there are proposals going out all over the place to scramble and find it in the short term. Upper Churchill could go a long ways in making us a have province. It could go a great part of the distance. But we need now to look at development of the Lower Churchill, to maximize what we can in side agreements on winter availability on the Upper Churchill. We need to look at a plan for the Lower Churchill. There is a market for power out there and there is an opportunity. It is the key to unlocking the wealth in developing Labrador, and the Trans-Labrador Highway, and an opportunity to put back into Labrador some of the wealth that has been obtained by having such a resource-rich part of this Province.

We have Hydro. We have seen government move in direct response to Hydro's proposals on what should be developed in this Province, a particular resource that government tried to privatize. When you look last year at our revenues - and the Minister of Finance can certainly confirm this -, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro put into the coffers of this Province last year in direct revenue, based on a return of dividend and by guaranteeing the debt, $52 million in this fiscal year, when every other single corporation in this Province in all of Newfoundland and Labrador in corporate tax paid, or the government's projections are, $50.5 million.

We took more in dividends and by guaranteeing the debt of Hydro than every company doing business in this Province today, and we want to give that away. Where do you find another $52 million to beef up the coffers of this Province? A resource that is a people's resource. It has the expertise to develop our resources. The Premier said last year he doesn't want us just to say what we are against; we must say what we are for. We have stated, we have developed and released policy on energy development, I say to the Premier. We have indicated what we would do, basically, in this Province with dealing with the energy problem, and we had a news conference to do that. We have done it on many occasions. We have indicated what we would do.

We are looking at the transshipment facility. The transshipment facility in this Province - any development in this Province is good. We want to see jobs and we want to see a return. But I can recall just back some time ago on September 5, I attended a news conference on transshipment and read all the pertinent releases and information available. It isn't what I found when I got, under freedom of information, the agreement that was signed. There was no mention -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Of course not, there was no mention, there was no particular mention of the giveaways on the transshipment facility and I stated on that day on September 5: it is good if there is a net economic return to this Province, a net economic benefit. You spend $200 million and to receive $150 million is not an economic benefit. You must have a net economic return. It was not indicated that day, and I heard the Premier say, every single thing we said on September 5 is there. Well, did the Premier say on September 5, retail sales tax is retroactive? Did he say that GST input tax credits that you lose because of harmonization will be picked up by this Province for all the companies and the transshipment facilities? Did he say there is a protection against tax increases for up to eight years, for any new taxes or any increase in current taxes? It was never released, never released.

Did he say that gas tax revenues for fuel consumed - he made reference on the fuel aspect - mentioned it - about $11 million concession. Did he tell us that they can write off some of the charges against royalties to the Province? No. There are many, many instances. I won't go into more that were not given to the people of the Province on September 5, and I went to great length to write all the companies involved and finally, in January I was successful in getting a copy and I am still waiting under Freedom of Information to get the details of the agreement that I have not received yet and waiting almost a month for that.

We have tremendous opportunities and we have to protect them. The environment; the environment can destroy the fishery. It can destroy something on which this Province was built. We have not been prepared for dealing with oil spills, in dealing with prevention of spills and what to do in case there is an oil spill. We have seen Exon Valdez, the destruction that happened there. We have increased risks, increased traffic, industry is good, business is good but we have to have the checks and balances in place to make sure that we maximize the return and we do not destroy the environment in the process.

We are on the edge of a whole new resource industry that can bring millions and millions into this Province; and I am speaking about Gisborne Lake and the proposals for the exportation of water from this Province. We have two proposals. We need to ensure that there is legislation in place that limits the size of a container in which water can be exported from this Province. British Columbia has enacted legislation. Forty per cent of the world's population today are without proper drinking water. Eighty countries in the world have water shortages that threaten their health and their economy. The World Bank, the United Nations have commissioned in-depth studies to address this crisis today and our own Canadian, Paul Desmaris has said that `fresh water is tomorrow's gold'. We can reap a benefit on jobs by ensuring that there is a limit on the size of containers and on the royalty of the people's resource that we own in this Province, and not give it away with a big tanker to back into Gisborne Lake, Grand Le Pierre and see our resources off somewhere else to some other part of Canada or the world. We have to maximize our benefits.

We have mineral resources in this Province and we have significant, up to forty billion and maybe, fifty, sixty, who knows, 100 billion down in the Voisey's Bay area. It is a tremendous discovery; it is one that we have to maximize. We were promised royalties in 1995 and the wisdom of the former Premier I must admit, had legislation on the books of the House of Assembly in the fall of '95, saw the need to do something about it and the current government, the Premier, scuttled it and we still do not have it. We have had a promise, '96 we are going to have a royalty regime. It is a very weak statement today in the Throne Speech on a royalty regime for Voisey's Bay and we have to do something before it is too late.

We have to stop thinking of our resource industries in this Province simply in terms of the jobs they create. Alberta got rich by getting royalties from its resources in addition to getting jobs from its resources and that is something we have to start doing in our Province. Why shouldn't companies pay royalties in return for the privilege of developing and profiting from the people's resources? Why shouldn't they?

Mr. Speaker, I certainly look forward to this session and look forward to having ample time to debate legislation in this House. We have had a committee on insurance alluded to in the Throne Speech today, a committee that has been ongoing for almost three years actually. I think it is over two years ago that it was put in place. I am looking for a strong legislative agenda to deal with the concerns here in our Province. We cannot lose sight of the importance of the House of Assembly here in dealing with the people's business. We have seen a lot of negativity but we have also seen a lot of empty rhetoric about positivity that is not accompanied by substance. We, as an Opposition, have a responsibility to point out the weaknesses in government's policies and to offer alternatives. One of the commitments I made a year ago is we will point out alternatives. We have done it on fiscal policy and direction. We have done it on energy policy, on water resources and we have done it in education. We have taken proactive stands in statements on numerous issues out there. We don't mind, I say to the Premier, if government wants to steal some of our policies and use them - which they have done in a few instances - we don't mind that at all because if it is good for the people of the Province, we will certainly let him do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, it must be.

Yes, we pressed for that here in this House of Assembly on many occasions. Last December my colleague from Baie Verte asked, `Why isn't there a copper smelter in this Province?' We were told by the Premier and the minister, `No, we are not going to have one. We are not going to have a study done. Inco said it is not profitable. That is why we won't have it.' Now I am glad they finally relented. We are going to have a feasibility study to look at the opportunities to have a copper smelter refinery here in the Province. If 100 per cent of the copper is not available from Voisey's Bay - if 80 per cent is available there are other copper resources here in the Province and outside the Province. It is quite possible there are sufficient amounts there depending on the production rate of the nickel smelter.

So, Mr. Speaker, certainly on behalf of Caucus here, we will ensure that we will represent the voice of ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians here in the House of Assembly. Now government has raised people's expectations so we will ensure that government lives up to those expectations and the responsibilities with which they are entrusted. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to - I know on behalf of all members of the House - express, even in his absence, our appreciation to the Lieutenant-Governor for this his first occasion, for which he has been able to read the Speech from the Throne. He did so with great eloquence, Mr. Speaker, and I must say that he did so in a time frame even shorter than that of the response of the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Speaker, I want to note as well the presence of so many distinguished visitors; members of the clergy - if I may take the liberty of saying so - His Honour, the former Lieutenant-Governor here with us today, and of course I want to note the presence of a great builder in the work of Newfoundland and Labrador, the former Premier of the Province, Clyde K. Wells.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to give thanks and to pay tribute to the eloquence of my colleagues the Member for Labrador West and the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans for their excellent Address and Reply to the Speech from the Throne and for the optimism, for the confidence that they have expressed on behalf of the people of Labrador and of the Island of Newfoundland, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, in the prospects for this Province and her people in the months and years and indeed the decades ahead.

We heard from the Member for Labrador West, I think a fair commentary on the need to ensure that as we undertake our deliberations in this session of the Legislature, we bear in mind the very real desire of the people of the Labrador portion of this Province to, in a very real, tangible way, become full members of this community in every social, economic and political sense.

Mr. Speaker, we had a tremendous meeting this morning with the members of the combined councils of Labrador. We had a thorough discussion with all four Labrador members in attendance, on both sides of the House, a thorough discussion of the issues. We came away, both the members of the combined councils, the members of the Legislature here in this House, with a commitment to work together, to not see the size of the problem - and there are considerable problems that confront us - but rather to see the size of the potential that exists for the development of Labrador. In that regard perhaps the Leader of the Opposition could pay some small measure of attention to the prospects for development in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans has reminded us with her remarks that this is indeed the 500th Anniversary of Cabot's arrival here in Newfoundland and Labrador. The member reminded us that this is a time to celebrate all that we have accomplished, and our accomplishments have been significant.

The member spoke of the importance of the forestry sector to Central Newfoundland, and reminded us in her own powerful way that this is a resource that cannot be taken for granted, cannot be forgotten, and if it is not squarely at the centre of our resource planning could go the way of the cod fishery. I assure the member that we understand the importance of this sector to the people of Grand Falls and to people in some eighty communities throughout the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and we will continue, under the able leadership of the House Leader, the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, our plan of silviculture, putting the fibre back on the land.

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition suggested that we may want to borrow from his policy handbook, but I have to tell the Leader of the Opposition that while he may not mind our borrowing liberally from that handbook, it appears to me the people of the Province indeed may mind our borrowing from that handbook.

Out of consideration for the capacity of our distinguished visitors to sit longer than they have already sat, I do not want to respond point by point to all of the arguments that have been made today by the Leader of the Opposition. I suspect we will have many opportunities for an exchange in the weeks and months and years ahead to debate all of these questions.

You know, there is a very interesting commentary today, and I am not in the habit of quoting commentary -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: Your response to it. I am sure we will read your response.

Today in The Evening Telegram it says, "Opposition Parties lack fiscal plans". Let me just quote one or two words:

"As the House of Assembly opens for business, the opposition parties have to get their act together..."

"Given Newfoundland's $10 billion worth of combined debt in bonds and pensions, borrowing is out of the question, and even with some breaks due to lower interest costs expenditures must be cut..."

"The opposition parties should realize that many taxpayers in Newfoundland support downsizing the provincial civil service. Newfoundlanders face the highest taxes in the country and they see other provinces bringing their expenditures under control while at the same time cutting taxes..."

"Times have changed since the good old days when people thought governments could solve all the problems of the country..."

"Opposition parties have a duty to challenge governments, but when they do they should also be clear about where they will get the resources..." for example " reinstate public parks and to elevate spending on education and health. And if they plan to borrow more and tax Newfoundlanders at even higher rates to keep all services at their current level, please say so before the next election."

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you write that for them?

PREMIER TOBIN: No, actually it is an editorial in today's Evening Telegram. It has a nice, big, banner headline which can be read here.

Mr. Speaker, I merely make reference to this comment because the Leader of the Opposition, in his usual, thoughtful and well-prepared response to the address given by His Honour, talked about polarization in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I agree that there is a measure of polarization in the Province, but that polarization is most acute here in this Chamber. It is most defined here in this Chamber, and I would suggest that at least it is defined in a different view about the future of Newfoundland and Labrador between that view held by the Leader of the Opposition and his party. I don't attribute these qualities to the Leader of the New Democratic Party or to the Independent member. But at least there is a polarisation between the view held by the Leader of the Opposition and the view that I hold and members of this party hold about the future prospects of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I have to say to the Leader of the Opposition that the Leader of the Opposition appears seized totally by the size and the multitude of all of the challenges that confront us, and then being seized by the size and multitude of those challenges overwhelmed to the point of paralysis, doubtful about the prospects for Newfoundland and Labrador, certain of our continued decline, and, Mr. Speaker, absolutely certain in the knowledge that nothing good will come in the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I have to tell the Leader of the Opposition that a year ago we were sworn into office, buoyed up by a confidence that a good foundation had been laid under the leadership of Clyde K. Wells, and that if we built on that foundation Newfoundland and Labrador would prosper as we entered the next millennium, and that confidence is unshaken.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I remember a little more than a year ago in the election campaign, and I would ask the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to cast their minds back, to close their eyes and to remember the words that were spoken last winter when we were told that the transshipment facility was a facility that would never see the light of day in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was but a plot launched during the election campaign. Right after the election - remember the specific charge that two weeks after the election it would be announced for Nova Scotia. The transshipment facility is now being built at a cost of more than a quarter of a billion dollars at Whiffen Head because we believed in the capacity of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to get things done.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, cast your mind back. Of course, being the only non-partisan soul in the House of Assembly you would have the only true objective memory of what really happened. Remember your drives around the Trinity Loop, staying away from any partisan activity and thinking only of returning the Chair to serve where you serve so well. Remember the words of the Leader of the Opposition then and the words of members of the Conservative Party when it came to the question of the smelter/refinery complex.

They said there would be no smelter/refinery complex in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the resources of the Province were going to be sent to Ontario. They were going to Sudbury. The government of the day was hiding that dismal fact, but right after the election the truth would be known. The reality is that the most technologically advanced, most modern, best-equipped smelter/refinery complex on the planet Earth today is being built right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, cast your mind back to that winter without snow last year, such was the bright promise that was held forth. We can recall the words of doubt of the Leader of the Opposition and all of those opposite about the prospect for success of the Cabot 500 celebrations. It was near the Christmas season and the Leader of the Opposition was, as I said last year, completely caught up in a new expression he found powerful and worth repeating: Bah, humbug.

The Cabot celebrations this year are indeed, under the leadership of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and her colleagues, a great success with a record number of convention goers coming to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, then there was the assessment of Hibernia. Hibernia was to be one project, a one-project show, not an industry about to be born. But all Newfoundlanders who paid close attention to this five day mating exercise recently at Bull Arm know indeed that a full-fledged industry has been born, and the Terra Nova project is now undergoing environmental assessment. It will be brought forward this year and next year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: The Whiterose development, Mr. Speaker, is now well in hand, and we hope to see full production from that facility as well. Consider this. Within the space of a few years Newfoundland and Labrador will go from zero production to fully 36 per cent of the full light crude national production of Canada all within the space of forty-eight months. Mr. Speaker, this is an incredible achievement and one that we ought to celebrate in Newfoundland and Labrador because we made the right decisions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, for the first time in five years, for the first time in five years this year, in 1997, exploration will begin again in the Jeanne D'Arc Basin, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Petro-Canada which has up until now managed all of its east coast operations from Calgary, this year, in 1997 in the weeks ahead will establish an office in St. John's to manage all of its east coast assets from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Norsk Hydro has indicated they will establish a similar office in this Province. Husky will establish an office in this Province. The boards of all the major players in the oil and gas sector will have their board of directors meetings here over the next seven or eight weeks. Why, Mr. Speaker? Because they know that the headquarters, the centre of east coast Canada oil and gas is Newfoundland and Labrador in 1997.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Now, Mr. Speaker, do we have challenges in this Province? Of course, we have challenges in this Province. Is it going to take everybody in Newfoundland and Labrador working together, making sacrifices together, making choices together, finding savings together, making the right investments together to move ahead? There is no question. Are there still people in this Province for whom hope is something that can only be imagined but not within their reach? Absolutely! Mr. Speaker, we don't deny that, but, Mr. Speaker, we are not prepared to be defeated by the size of the problem on this side of the House.

We are not prepared to wrap ourselves in some cloak of misery and quit before the game begins. Mr. Speaker, we remain confident on this side of the House, confident that we have a plan, we have thought through the kind of problems that confront this Province and the kind of opportunities that await this Province and, Mr. Speaker, we intend to continue implementing that plan in 1997 and notwithstanding this act, Mr. Speaker, because I know it isn't the real Leader of the Opposition we are seeing, I know he is truly a sunny character of optimistic disposition with great confidence in the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Notwithstanding this performance today, I remain, Mr. Speaker, patiently awaiting him to come across the floor one day and shake our hand in optimism about the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the address of thanks be presented to His Honour The Lieutenant-Governor in reply to the gracious Speech From The Throne with which he has been pleased to open the present session of the House of Assembly.

The members of the Select Committee will be the Member for Labrador West, the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans and the Member for Conception Bay South.

All those in favour of the motion, `aye'


MR. SPEAKER: Against.

I declare the motion carried.


Notices of Motion


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider certain resolutions for the granting of Interim Supply to Her Majesty.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we have the adjournment, I want to remind our guests that the reception is being moved from the main lobby of Confederation Building to the Government House caucus room which is located immediately behind the Chamber on this floor.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until March 13, Thursday, at two o'clock.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at two o'clock in the afternoon.