February 28, 1991               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLI  No. 1


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

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 present be seated.

Thank you.

HIS HONOUR, THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR:

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

It is my great privilege and honour to welcome you on this historic occasion to the opening of this Third Session of the 41st General Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland.

This new chamber is the inheritor and the beneficiary of an honourable and colourful history of Legislative Assemblies from the first gathering in a downtown location through the Colonial Building and the Confederation-era chamber on the 9th and 10th floors of this building. The location of this new House of Assembly on the main floor of Confederation Building offers improved access to the public which it serves, and this is an appropriate commitment, both physically and philosophically, to guide our most important provincial institution into the twenty-first century.

While the level of debate in any legislature is not necessarily related to the character of the surroundings, I am confident that this new Legislative Chamber will facilitate the interventions of all hon. Members. With the provision of adequate facilities for the Speaker and legislative staff, the government and opposition caucuses, and improved technical services and working accommodations for the Hansard staff and for the news media, the Members of this Honourable House and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador should be well served by this new location.

In addition to the renewal of the physical environment, I am also pleased to note that My Government is committed to a process of parliamentary and electoral reform. A new Elections Act will be brought before this Honourable House during this Session to reform the overall process of electing Members to the House of Assembly and the financing of elections. The new Act is intended to place controls on sources of election financing, and make all political parties more accountable to the public in a more open, responsible, and credible system which will merit public confidence in the process of our democratic political system.

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

The opening of this Third Session of the Forty-first Legislature of the General Assembly, in this new Legislative Chamber, together with the measures for electoral reform to which I have just referred, provide Members of this Honourable House with a unique opportunity to focus attention on the continuing process of parliamentary reform and the manner in which the people's business is conducted. It is incumbent on all those who seek and gain election to public office to discharge their responsibilities in the people's legislature with vigour and courage in the heat of debate, but always with a decorum that respects the traditions of parliamentary procedure and enhances the esteem in which the institution will be held. This Honourable House is the one institution that represents the hopes and aspirations of all the people of our Province. Consequently, it must always be open to new ideas and new approaches to the way the affairs of the people are administered. This Honourable House should re-examine from time to time, its practices and procedures to ensure that they adequately reflect the changes in our society and the expectations of our people in light of these changes. Members of this Honourable House have demonstrated this vision of parliamentary reform as an evolutionary process, and it is my fervent prayer that all who sit in this Honourable Chamber now and in the future will never lose sight of that vision. In this respect I commend the initiative taken in the last session which established Legislative Committees to allow direct public input into the legislative process. I believe it was one of the most important parliamentary reforms ever introduced to this Honourable House.

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

Throughout its history, Newfoundland and Labrador has been largely captive to forces beyond its control. External economic forces, in particular, have a greater impact on this Province than on most other provinces of Canada because of our traditional dependence on resource-based export industries. The limited development and lack of diversification in our economy have caused the Provincial Government to be excessively dependent on fiscal transfers from the Government of Canada. These transfers increase or decrease depending on the economic performance of the richer provinces in the nation, and are subject to the effects of Federal Government expenditure restraint efforts as well as changes in the philosophical approach it adopts to regional disparity.

Notwithstanding the fact that these external forces impact significantly on the Province's financial position and available fiscal options, particularly at a time when the nation as a whole is in recession, we must not let them unduly interfere with our efforts to chart a positive future direction for our people.

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

There is much, however, to be optimistic about in our Province today. Since My last Address to you, the historic agreements bringing the Hibernia Project to fruition have been signed.

This most exciting and challenging project is now underway and the economic benefits are already being felt. The Hibernia Project will be the foundation for a long term oil and gas industry for the province. My Government is working closely with the Hibernia consortium, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board and the Government of Canada to ensure that industrial and employment benefits are maximized for the Province and for Canada as a whole.

Over the next year, My Government hopes to continue discussions with the Terra Nova consortium relative to the development of that field. My Ministers are optimistic about the prospects for a development decision for this and other offshore oil fields that will contribute to appropriately-paced further development of our offshore oil resources.

During the past year, My Government has provided for continued discussions between Hydro Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro concerning Lower Churchill hydro-electric power development. These discussions are proceeding well, and again, while nothing can be said with certainty at this time, My Ministers are encouraged by the general nature of the discussions and the extent to which agreement on certain issues has already been achieved.

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

The fishery has always been, and continues to be, the economic backbone of the Province. Over the past several years, however, the performance of this critically important industry has been significantly eroded by changing resource management circumstances. During this period, major quota reductions have taken place in our key groundfish stocks, with the result that groundfish landings have declined by approximately 60,000 tonnes over the past four years. My Government continues to have a major preoccupation with difficulties being experienced within the fisheries sector.

It is clear that jurisdiction over, and constitutional responsibility for, the biological management of the fisheries rests with the Government of Canada. My Government does, however, have a responsibility to press for and ensure that any fisheries management measures which are taken are sensitive to the needs of the people generally and all participants in the fishing industry of this Province. My Government continues to impress upon the Government of Canada that stock rebuilding must be a priority fisheries management goal. Any management strategy that compromises this objective will not be acceptable to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

A major contributor to the decline of our groundfish stocks continues to be foreign overfishing outside the two hundred mile economic zone on the "Nose" and "Tail" of the Grand Banks.

My Government shares the disappointment of the Government of Canada over the results of its 1990 bilateral discussions with the European Community, but remains committed to working in cooperation with the Federal Government to seek an acceptable, permanent solution to this major problem. In the meantime, my Ministers will continue to seize every opportunity to address this issue directly with diplomats of the European Community.

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

In light of the significant changes occurring in the fisheries sector, my Government has, in recent months, embarked upon the preparation of a comprehensive policy framework which should guide the industry over the foreseeable future. This policy framework will be released in the first half of 1991 and will address all structural aspects of the fishing industry. It will also address the need to establish an effective joint management regime between the Federal and Provincial Governments, which will give the Province a greater voice in key fisheries management decisions and provide for integration of the policies of both orders of government.

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

My Ministers have indicated publicly over the past several months, the Province's financial situation is quite strained primarily as a result of certain federal and provincial factors affecting the Province's level of revenue. If this trend is permitted to continue, it could seriously jeopardize the ability of My Government to deliver essential services to our people and to take advantage of the many economic development opportunities which will be available to us over the next few years.

My Ministers are determined to ensure that this will not happen. The Province must retain the confidence of the international and domestic capital markets. Over the last few years, when the Province has been faced with a choice between expenditure cuts and a combination of increased taxes and higher borrowings, it has frequently opted for the latter course. Because of substantial past borrowing and relatively high taxation levels, this option is currently available to My Government only on a limited basis.

While some reasonable borrowing and tax measures may be appropriate, the only realistic and responsible option available to My Government is a broadly based program to slow the rate of expenditure increase. My Ministers are confident this can be accomplished without unduly affecting essential public services.

It is important that all who rely on funding from the public purse understand the gravity of the situation. My Government is committed to responsible management of the Province's finances and will take all steps necessary to accomplish this objective. It is unacceptable to expect the people of this Province to sacrifice their future to meet unrealistic demands today. My Government is prepared to take these difficult decisions now and be accountable for them to the people of the Province. During this Session you will be asked to implement measures to give effect to this policy and to grant supply to Her Majesty.

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

My Government is committed to the goal of developing a strong overall economy for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador - a goal that can be achieved by capitalizing on the right combination of resource and non-resource based opportunities, and a supportive government policy framework.

My Government's economic vision is that of a self-reliant society, where prosperity builds on the innovation, productivity and creativity of its people, it's distinctive culture, and the unique advantages conferred through nature and geography.

My Government recognizes that the traditional resource sectors of the provincial economy do not offer the best immediate prospects for new job creation. They will, nonetheless, continue to play a major role in the economic life of the Province. We must continue our efforts to rationalize, modernize and increase productivity and efficiency in these sectors in order to maintain competitiveness and to retain or expand market share.

It is clear, however, that traditional approaches to economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador have met with limited success. There is a need, therefore, to expand upon the Province's traditional industries and to diversify the economy in general. Identifying new business opportunities will entail mapping out specific sectors that offer the best opportunities for growth, sustainable social and economic development, and long term employment.

In June of 1989, the Economic Recovery Commission was created to provide My Government with advice on, and implement or assist in the implementation of, new steps that were necessary to build the foundation for a stronger, more regionally balanced and self-sustaining economy. Having completed its work on the establishment of the new Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation, and continuing to initiate specific business ventures, the Commission has now turned its attention to new areas in which our economy can grow and prosper. The Commission is working closely with the Province's business community and has identified a number of sectors where new opportunities exist for both employment and business development, the details of which will be released in the near future.

The Commission will continue to pursue its mandate with determination, and My Ministers are confident that the results of its efforts will be the significant long-term benefits to the Province that were envisaged in the initial concept of the Economic Recovery Commission.

My Government has also recently received the final report of the Task Force on Agrifoods. Steps are now being taken to review this report on a priority basis and to realign long standing policy and program directions in this area so that the agrifoods sector can make a more substantive and sustainable contribution to employment in the Province.

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

In addition to the identification of resource and market opportunities, the process of economic development is very much reliant on supportive government policies and an attractive investment climate generally. To this end, My Government intends to review its policies so as to eliminate disincentives for enterprises to adopt more efficient methods of production and distribution in the Province.

My Government also feels that it is imperative for the Province to develop a strategic economic plan that reflects the broad policy directions referred to earlier in My Address. Significant work has already been undertaken in this regard, and further work on the plan will be carried out in the coming months with adequate opportunity for public discussion.

There are also several elements to an economic development strategy in which the Federal Government can play an important role. These include federal procurement practices, the establishment of a greater federal presence in the Province and the effective co-ordination of federal regional development spending with provincial economic development programs and initiatives. My Government will be working diligently to maximize the role that the Federal Government can play in harmonizing federal economic development policy and priorities with those of the Province.

In pursuing our economic development and diversification objectives, My Ministers will strive to ensure that the tax system contributes to a positive business climate in the Province. To this end, My Government is committed to undertaking a thorough assessment of the Province's existing tax regime and will adopt reforms appropriate to achieve that positive business climate.

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

The environment in Newfoundland and Labrador remains relatively unspoiled and must be protected in order to maintain a high quality of life for future generations and to serve as a basis for tourism development and attracting industry. In this context, My Government plans to identify and implement strategies that will better integrate economic and environmental decision- making in an effort to ensure the achievement of sustainable economic development. The recent creation of a Round Table on the Environment and Economy, which is composed of senior decision-makers and leaders from the private and public sectors in the Province, constitutes a significant first step towards the development of a consensus on how best to achieve our environmental goals. Other environmental initiatives will be brought before you for approval.

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

My Government remains committed to expediting the settlement of native land claims. The past year saw significant progress in this regard. In November, My First Minister together with the Federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Labrador Inuit Association signed a Framework Agreement concerning the land claim of the Inuit of Labrador. This document sets out the scope, parameters and process for the negotiation of an Agreement in Principle within a four year timetable. Those negotiations are currently in progress. Also, the Naskapi and Montagnais Innu of Labrador have held preliminary discussions with both levels of government with respect to their comprehensive land claim. My Government is hopeful that with the cooperation of all parties, negotiation of a Framework Agreement with the Innu may proceed in the near future.

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

While My Government continues in its efforts to seek out economic development opportunities, it will not lose sight of the importance of maintaining the best possible level of social, health, educational and general public services. The development of progressive social policy, however, has to be addressed in full appreciation of the financial realities facing the Province. This may require significantly different approaches to social programming.

In that regard, My Ministers believe there is a need to rationalize health care expenditures to reflect current demographic and technological developments. This action will not comprise overall health care in our Province. The Budget will outline My Government's plans for the health care system.

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

As My Government identifies and pursues new growth opportunities in our economy, well-educated and highly skilled entrepreneurs, managers, professionals, technologists and technicians will be required. Whether the new opportunities arise in traditional resource sectors or in innovative technology companies, one of the chief inputs to successful enterprises is a well trained and highly skilled work force. My Government will support rationalization within the education system as one source of funds for undertaking long term educational improvement. The findings of the Royal Commission on Education will be particularly relevant to this strategy. Priority support will be given to raising proficiency in science and mathematics, computers, communications skills, cooperative education programs and entrepreneurship. The Department of Education has already undertaken several initiatives in these areas.

My Government recognizes that the current economic downturn will result in worker dislocations. Efforts will be made to minimize the effects of job loss on individuals and their families. Our participation with the Federal Government in the Older Worker Adjustment Program is an example of My Government's commitment in this area. We will, inasmuch as resources permit, continue to ensure that adjustment programs are made available to workers in communities hard hit by economic downturns.

In the area of labour legislation, My Government plans to proceed during this Session with amendments to The Labour Relations Act to address the sensitive issue of double-breasting which has been the source of much controversy in recent years. My Ministers feel that this legislation is overdue and are confident that its passage will ensure a level playing field in labour/management relations in the construction industry. Other amendments to The Labour Relations Standards Act will also be forthcoming that will ensure the fair and reasonable treatment of workers without unduly interfering with management's right to manage productively. My Ministers intend to continue to work closely with the labour movement and employer representatives to develop laws and practices to maintain harmonious labour relations while ensuring fair and full protection of the interests of the workers of this Province and a work climate that will attract investment capital for job creating economic activity.

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

The tragedy of child abuse has made it necessary for My Government to take special action to address this serious problem. The addition of more professional staff in the Department of Social Services has been a key step in this process. The additional staff will help ensure early detection and allow the justice system to take the necessary action in any given situation. As well, the introduction of legislation to provide a mandatory registration system for social workers will afford an added degree of support to victims suffering the trauma of this terrible ordeal. Much more will need to be done in the months ahead, particularly when the final report of the Hughes Commission is received. My Government will work closely with other organizations to ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated.

Family violence also continues to be a problem in our society. My Government, through the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, is assisting victims of family violence to locate suitable housing and is working closely with women's organizations to ensure programs are responsive.

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

My Government recognizes the contribution of local artists to both the cultural and economic development of our Province and has been engaged in an ongoing review of the report of the Provincial Arts Study Committee. While implementation of the report must take place within the overall context of our fiscal limitation, My Government intends to provide some modest additional resources to this sector in the coming year. In the longer term, the Economic Recovery Commission will be assessing other initiatives to support this important industry.

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

The national debate on Canada's constitutional future continues unabated. My Government will again emphasize its willingness to participate constructively in the process of constitutional change with a view to strengthening Canadian unity and our diverse yet tolerant society, as well as our collective ability to confront the challenges of the 1990s. My Government has equally emphasized at all times that it is essential that the whole nation address Quebec's legitimate concerns in a full and fair manner. We must, however, do so in a manner that is consistent with the fundamental principles of Canadian federalism.

My Ministers are concerned that opposing constitutional views are so strongly held, and affect matters so fundamental to the nation, that our best (and perhaps only) chance of achieving enduring resolution of our constitutional problems is to convene a national constitutional convention, with a mandate to identify the fundamental constitutional precepts that would reflect a compromise acceptable to the majority of Canadians reasonably representative of various parts of the country. If a compromise cannot be readily identified, such a national convention could develop alternatives that can be put to the Canadian people in a national referendum. It is likely that a national referendum will be necessary in any event.

My Ministers will continue to ensure that the constitutional interests of this Province and its people are properly represented and protected, but in the process, we recognize the priority that must be given to the overriding national interest.

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

My Government plans to place a number of important pieces of legislation before you this Session in addition to the legislative measures already referred to in this Speech.

A full listing of My Government's legislative agenda for this Session of the House of Assembly will be tabled at the earliest opportunity so that all Honourable Members can properly prepare for the upcoming proceedings.

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

The world today continues to focus its attention on the military conflict in the Persian Gulf region. On behalf of the people of the Province, My Government pays tribute to the Canadian troops in the region and in particular those Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are serving our country. I am certain that it is the prayer of every person in this Province that our men and women return safely to their families in the very near future.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of the Council.

Notices of Motion

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled "An Act Respecting the Office of the Auditor General and the Auditing of the Public Accounts of the Province".

Motion, The hon. the President of the Council to introduce a Bill "A Bill entitled " An Act Respecting the Office of the Auditor General and the Auditing of the Public Accounts of the Province," ( 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 met in the General Assembly and for the greater accuracy I have obtained a copy and it will be presently distributed to all hon. Members.

MR. NOEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to propose that a Committee of this hon. House be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the gracious Speech with which his Honour has chosen to commence this session. The fifth such address, I believe, his Honour has favoured our Province with.

I consider it a distinct privilege to have this opportunity to move the motion on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and in the presence of the many visitors who have been good enough to join us here today. It is a particular honour to have this responsibility for being the first representative to speak on behalf of the people of Newfoundland in this new Chamber. I trust the move signifies and coincides with the beginning of an era of prosperity, dignity and accomplishment for our people.

I am most grateful to my own constituents in Pleasantville, Mr. Speaker, who have afforded me the opportunity to contribute to the affairs of our Province in this manner. I assure them of my continuing commitment to serve their interests and justify the confidence they have placed in me.

On behalf of all Newfoundlanders I would like to welcome the new Member for St. John's East and the recently elected Member for Trinity North who I believe is in the galleries today and will be joining us next week.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: They are both gentlemen with whom I have been acquainted with for some time. I have great confidence in the contribution I know they will make to our deliberations and would like to congratulate their electors on sending such fine representatives to this Assembly.

And I would also welcome the Member for Fortune - Hermitage to this side of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: The Member has proven himself an able, dedicated, and I am sure some will agree a persistent member, who might now be said to have received two votes of confidence during his first term among us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: The Leader of the Opposition has chosen to relinquish his office, and I want to extend best wishes to him in his future pursuits.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: He is a gentleman who has served our Province well as Premier and in other capacities for a considerable period. I have been impressed by the dedication and the ability he has demonstrated since I have been in this House, and look forward to continuing to serve with him as long as we both have the opportunity.

We are gathered, Mr. Speaker, at an unsettled time in the affairs of Canadians, and indeed of people throughout the world. We are fortunate, however, to be living in an environment of stability and security in comparison with the devastation and waste of lives and resources being endured by others. But some of our own citizens have been called upon to help restore peace, reason, and the rule of law elsewhere. And I want to join with his Honour in expressing our sincere appreciation for what they are doing on our behalf. Let us hope their efforts help establish the lasting justice and freedom, which would justify the undertaking.

The momentum for change has accelerated significantly in many areas of life important to those we endeavoured to serve, Mr. Speaker, and the message conveyed by His Honour today demonstrates the commitment of his government to ensuring we manage change in a manner which serves, rather than threatens the welfare of those we represent.

We are fortunate to have responsibility for the affairs of our province in the hands of such a competent, respected and resolute administration at this time, Mr. Speaker; a government which has earned increased support among our people since first assuming office - in spite of the increasingly challenging circumstances we have been encountering.

We are very fortunate to have a Premier who is respected throughout this nation, who has been singularly responsible for the strong leadership from which we are benefitting.

Most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been proud and supportive of the manner in which we have been represented and governed since this administration assumed office. They may not always agree with us, but they apparently respect our determination to pursue what we believe is right, and in the best interest of our Province and country, without being intimidated by undue pressure as was demonstrated most dramatically during the Meech Lake debate last year.

But we have prevailed in difficult circumstances due to the understanding, steadfastness and unity of our people - the common resolve which has been forged through years and tribulations encountered in seeking the cultural and economic autonomy within our capacity - the strength we have to harness and properly organize to accomplish the objectives we have been elected to attain.

Mr. Speaker, the vision, commitment, and realism of our government have been further articulated in the plan of action presented to us today.

This government has a mandate to change the course of history in our Province, and we have begun, where all substantive change must begin, by working to change our perception of our capacities and the obstacles to achieving our potential -and that potential is considerable.

We are blessed with many human and natural resources, especially in comparison with the size of our population. We are not a deprived people - though we have been deprived of a system of government, political and trading relationships, capable of maximizing our potential.

This Assembly intends to change that, Mr. Speaker.

Our people have no right to expect to enjoy a standard of living superior to that which we are able to earn. And I do not believe we have ever been so indulged - though some disagree, including Honourable Members occupying seats in this House, past and present.

My primary political ambition has been to demonstrate the fallacy of that assumption, and help develop and implement the essentials of self-sufficiency.

We enjoy a better quality of life today than at the time of Confederation, of course, but that is true of most parts of the world. Look at the growth and accomplishments of Japan and Germany over a comparable period. And it is certainly true of Toronto, and Ottawa. How rich would wealthy Canadians otherwise be if they were in fact subsidizing the standard of living in other provinces to the extent some people would have us believe? And why would they be so intent on continuing to do so? The proposition that Confederation was an act of benevolence is obviously ludicrous.

The fact of the matter is that Central Canadians, in Ontario and Quebec, have been the greatest beneficiaries of Confederation and have the most to lose from any dismantling of this country. Newfoundlanders have no reason to feel we thrive on the generosity of others. As the eminent British economist E.F. Schumacher has said: "the rich rarely subsidize the poor; more often they exploit them. They may not do so directly so much as through the terms of trade. They may obscure the situation a little by a certain redistribution of tax revenue or small-scale charity, but the last thing they want to do is secede from the poor... because they know that exploitation of the poor within one's own frontiers is infinitely easier than exploitation of the poor beyond them."

Smoke and mirrors, Mr. Speaker, that is how Schumacher would characterize Confederation economics. And Prime Minister Mulroney had the temerity to suggest to our Premier that it had required a great deal of "generosity of spirit" to enable Newfoundland to join Canada. We have contributed substantially to the growth of this nation. Forty years ago Newfoundland had a cash surplus of $40 million and the lowest per capita debt of all provinces, $28.43 compared with $256.01 for Ontario. But that is one area in which we have succeeded in overtaking our friends in Ontario, though we have failed to make similar progress in the accumulation of wealth. There might have been a generosity of spirit among central Canadians at the time of Confederation, perhaps even more generosity than exhibited by some today, but it has not proven to be a bad investment either.

The Economic Council of Canada has concluded, in a report issued in 1980: "the low incomes, high unemployment, and dependency on transfers in Newfoundland are unnecessary. The problems are more likely to lie with the socio-economic system than with the natural resources or the numbers of people." Well that is what this Government is dedicated to changing. The socio-economic or political system, which is stifling the development of our economy and sapping the integrity of our people. Newfoundlanders have been labouring under an "illusion of dependence" as Canadians and basking in a questionable sense of prosperity - but the era of truth is upon us. Borrowing and taxing capacities are approaching the level of diminishing returns. Financial, competitive and constitutional pressures are eroding the ability of the Federal Government to compensate regions discriminated against through Confederation. Canada is destined to change. The world is changing - and those who resist do so at their peril. We cannot expect the assumptions, identities and institutions of the past to properly serve the demands of tomorrow.

Some people point to the buildings, the infrastructure, the services we enjoy and have accumulated during the past forty-two years and attribute it to the generosity of other Canadians, and they feel threatened by talk of change. But they forget that we pay half our income in taxes. They forget about the resources we sell and the profits and taxes we export to central Canada. They forget about the offshore and hydro resources we brought into Canada, which are being exploited to the benefit of other provinces as much as our own.

And they forget about the accumulating bills yet to be paid: almost $9 billion is our share of the national debt; over $5 billion in Provincial debt; and perhaps as much again in personal and corporate debt. More than $20 billion, Mr. Speaker, perhaps $30,000 for every man, woman and child in this Province. One hundred and twenty thousand dollars in debt for every family of four.

That is what accounts for the standard of living we enjoy today. That has been our cost of progress as Canadians, and the fragility of our assumed security is becoming ever more apparent as the more populace and politically powerful areas of the country intensify their efforts to preserve the advantages they have grown accustomed to through Confederation.

That is why this Government is so intent on changing our national political structure, so intent on insisting on constitutional change which will give the less populace provinces normal, fair, and equitable say in the operations of the Federal Government - the way federations are supposed to function - so that we may properly share in the benefits of Confederation and avoid bearing more than our share of the burdens. We want to make this country better serve the needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and we want to prevent the Federal Government from imposing inappropriate national fiscal policies such as those which fuelled inflation and interest rates by legislating spending where the economy was strong through the boom years of the 1980s, creating full employment in Ontario while devastating various regions.

That must be our objective in the constitutional negotiations ahead, Mr. Speaker. That is what we have been elected to accomplish. The superficial progress of the past is becoming transparent. The security associated with Confederation is diminishing. New alternatives have to be identified and adopted.

We will never prosper as part of a political system beyond our reasonable control, designed and managed to serve the needs of others before our own. If we are to succeed we have to eliminate all possible impediments to competing in the global marketplace, minimize our cost of living and production, secure access to adequate sources of investment capital and access to markets in which we are not forced to compete at a disadvantage.

It is unfortunate Canadians are condemned to being preoccupied with constitutional matters when our time and energies and resources could be better spent on more directly pursuing industrial development, creating jobs, and providing the standard of services our people deserve. But we have no alternative. We cannot withdraw into a world of our own. We cannot resort to a kind of separatism which has become an anachronism in our time. We will not improve our quality of living and achieve a reasonable level of financial independence unless we create a political and economic environment conducive to our development, appropriate to our resources, capacities and realities.

We cannot afford, Mr. Speaker, to be excessively sentimental or unrealistic in our quest. We cannot expect to adopt a change without ourselves changing. We must welcome change as a prerequisite to progress.

And that is the double-barrelled approach of this Government, Mr. Speaker - to seek to create new relationships and new opportunities for prosperity with our fellow Canadians and others, while at the same time doing all we can to help ourselves properly train our people; increase productivity and creativity; reduce waste, inefficiency and extravagance; and provide the best quality of public services we can afford.

The speech delivered by His Honour today introduces the next phase in our program to develop and manage dynamic new processes and instruments of change for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians; new opportunities for growth, development, and the security and satisfaction of self-sufficiency.

We have confidence in our people, and are absolutely committed to helping achieve their legitimate and reasonable aspirations. I move this House endorse the course being proposed.

Thank you, very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member for Bonavista South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me great pleasure to move the seconding of the motion put forward by my friend from Pleasantville that a Select Committee of the House be struck to draft an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne so graciously and articulately delivered by his Honour today. And perhaps it is appropriate that the second speaker in this new House, a second elected representative in this new House, should come from that district where Cabot first sighted land in Newfoundland, almost 500 years ago.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: And I am happy to advise the House that on the Bonavista Peninsula local organizations are organizing for the celebration of the 500 Anniversary of Cabot's landfall in 1997.

But, Mr. Speaker, the more things change the more they stay the same, for when Cabot first came to Bonavista it was for fish, and today whether one travels from the lowest community in the District from Sweet Bay to Charleston up to the great town of Bonavista to Elliston and Little Catalina the fishery is still the lifeblood of the Bonavista South District.

It is primarily the inshore fishery which is the District's lifeblood, although I am happy to share half the work force of the Port Union plant with my recently elected colleague from Trinity North. The District not only has a dependence on the inshore fishery but also a significance dependence on the deep-sea fishery. I would like to commend the Government on the undertakings made in the Speech from the Throne with respect to the fishery, for no industry is more important to Newfoundland and Labrador than the fishery.

Even though it is so important it seems rather ironic that we have so little say in the fishery itself. I recently attended a conference in Clarenville of inshore fishermen, not only inshore fishermen from my District and the Bonavista Peninsula, but basically inshore fishermen from all over the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. At that particular conference there were various workshops on licensing, quotas, the harvesting plans of the giant companies, and various other aspects of the fishery.

Well, Mr. Speaker, there was one workshop on provincial regulation, and it is almost embarrassing for a Provincial politician to have to attend a conference on the fishery since almost every major aspect of the fishery, whether it is licensing or quotas or international jurisdiction, belongs to the Federal Government.

And when one sees the desperation that the Federal management has placed the fishery in, one realizes the need for a new arrangement on the fishery for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. There is no doubt that Confederation brought great benefits to this Province. But one significant problem with the Terms of Union was that it transfers almost all jurisdiction over the fishery to the Federal Government.

So I am pleased to see the Provincial Government is endorsing a joint management board with the Federal Government to give us greater say over our primary industry.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: At the conference, many fishermen from my District and from others, one gentleman from Torngat Mountains, or at least fishes off Torngat Mountains, a Mr. Wilfred Bartlett, expressed how desperate the situation in the fishery was, how so little fish is left due to Federal mismanagement. And why is this? Why are there so many complaints from fishermen about licensing, quota, UIC? Why are not policies more sensitive to our fishermen? And the answer, Mr. Speaker, I believe lies in the fact that jurisdiction rests with the Federal Government. For any Government to be effective it must be accountable. It must bear the responsibility of its actions. The problem with the Federal Government in respect to the fishery is it can act with impunity in Newfoundland and Labrador. It can set up the worse licensing system, the worse system of quotas, the worse system of harvesting by the giant companies and it will not bear any political price for it for we are only seven seats versus seventy-five in the Province of Quebec, and versus ninety in the Province of Ontario.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: No Federal Government needs Newfoundland to stay in power and, therefore, they can treat our fishery with disrespect. The time has come to redress the Terms of Union and put an end to Federal arrogance and I ask the Minister of Fisheries to give us a say over the fishery through a giant management board as they have done on offshore resources.

I am pleased to see in the speech that our Ministers intend, when they meet with representatives of the European Economic Community, to push the concern of overfishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. It is somewhat ironic that in the last law of the Sea Conference, consensus was quickly reached that coastal states had jurisdiction over the continental shelf, over the shelf itself, the seabed, but no such consensus was reached over the stocks that swim above that shelf, and as a result of a fact that the only consensus that could be achieved was on a 200 mile economic zone, the straddling stocks are now subject to the predatory actions of Spain and Portugal in the European Economic Community, and I would urge the Prime Minister to take a more active involvement to settle this particular matter. While diplomacy is good and necessary, and in fact myself and my colleague from the district of Grand Bank, a few years ago went to Europe and met with some European officials on the issue, and we see the quotas being taken by the Europeans gradually declining on the Nose and Tail. I say to the Prime Minister the time for diplomacy is soon at an end. The time has come to act and assert unilateral jurisdiction over the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks so that the livelihood of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can be preserved forevermore.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: Now, Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that we are in a severe financial crisis. Moves about to be made by the Government with respect to the Public Services of this Province may not be popular, but as the Speech from the Throne indicates, we are overly dependent on transfers from Ottawa and overly dependent on resource based industries. We must diversify our economy, create new sources of employment for our young people and for our communities in rural Newfoundland, and, I believe the Government has taken a significant step in that direction by establishing the Economic Recovery Commission and Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, to diversify our economy and build on our strengths, so that we can end dependency on the Federal Government and end our dependencies on export markets, and finally, as a Liberal Government in Quebec once said, become 'Masters in our own House' and I believe the Economic Recovery Commission and Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador will so strengthen our economy that soon we will be Masters in our own House and the sun will shine and 'have not will be no more.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: We are also, Mr. Speaker, in a period of constitutional renewal, and across the nation we hear the word alienation, and alienation to me means that decisions are made in Ottawa over which the people feel they have not adequately been consulted. We hear it in the West, we hear it in Quebec and we hear it here in Newfoundland as well. The simplistic solution is for each provincial premier to cry for more powers, more powers for the provinces; this will eliminate alienation, but by that process we do not build a great nation, we create ten petty principalities. The resources of the nation must be spread across the nation, from the richer areas to the poorer areas, however, that is not to say that the status quo is acceptable.

I believe we must address the concerns of the Province of Quebec in a full and fair manner, but we cannot address them in isolation to the needs of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the next round of constitutional negotiations, not only must the concerns of Quebec be addressed, but the concerns of this Province must be addressed, in areas such as the fishery and in areas such as economic development. Recently the Allaire Report was tabled in the Province of Quebec. I have read the report. While I disagree with much of it, one finds that in the Province of Quebec they are dissatisfied, since they do not have an adequate say in the Bank of Canada which sets the monetary policy for the country; they do not have an adequate say in Regional Development Plans and they want more jurisdiction over those particular aspects. I say to the Province of Quebec, that may be a very good idea: to entrench in the Constitution, the Bank of Canada like the Supreme Court and to entrench in the Constitution, regional representation on the Bank of Canada so that interest rates will not be set for the benefit of Ontario and Quebec, to the detriment of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Over the past we have had many initiative from the federal government: DREE and DRY with respect to regional development, but they have all failed to significantly close the gap between our province and the rest of Canada, and the time has come in these new constitutional negotiations to set forth structures which will effectively address regional disparity in Canada so that the sense of alienation that is felt in the west and in the east will be no more and we will feel as one nation.

Also, as we now enter this new Chamber, I commend the Government on its undertakings in the Speech from the Throne with respect to revising the operation of this particular House of Assembly. As the speech indicates, the government recently established legislation review committees, and I believe that anyone who has participated in that process realizes the benefit of it. No more will legislation be rammed through this House without adequate public input.

In the Committee that I Chair at least two pieces of legislation were amended as a result of public input, one being the new Forestry Act put forward by the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture who voluntarily undertook to amend his own bill on the basis of public input. This could not have happened in the past, but will certainly happen in the future. This is not a government committed to secrecy and covert action.

Also, in this new Session, no doubt, we will be operating under new Standing Orders brought forward by the Standing Orders Committee with the assistance of both Government Members and Opposition Members, and hopefully these will enhance and improve the role of the private Member in this particular legislature so that we can effectively represent the concerns of our constituents.

The new Elections Act will help to revise the procedure by where our representatives are elected, and provide for a full and adequate representation in this particular House of Assembly. And also, the Committee on Elections and Privileges is investigating the possibility of televising this particular House of Assembly, and I am sure, when the resources of the Province permit, television will be introduced and our constituents could more adequately judge our performance in this House and hold us more accountable for our actions.

I commend the government on the other initiatives taken in the Speech from the Throne. And finally in closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend all those men and women who fought in the Canadian Armed Forces in the Persian Gulf Conflict, and in particular, those Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who served, and more specifically, those people from my own district who served in that particular conflict. And hopefully, and I can only pray, that the valiant victory won in war will secure a long, enduring and lasting peace for that particular region.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to second the motion of my colleague from Pleasantville.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I guess, as many within the Chamber can guess, some of us at this particular time of the year are still battling some of natures ills, but I do hope that I will be able, in the course of my few comments this afternoon, be able to get through them without too much hacking or unpleasant noises emanating from this side of the House.

I want to, first of all, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues and the official Opposition, welcome our visitors. This is, again, the ceremonial opening of a new Legislative Session in this Province; and as has become a custom in Newfoundland and Labrador, we are delighted as legislators on this day to have dignitaries from Church and State: Her Worship, the Mayor of the Capital City; the former Premier of our Province, Mr. Smallwood, is sitting, I believe, just inside the Bar of the House. And since this is the occasion of the first session in this first new House, of course it means that Mr. Smallwood has officially been inside the Bar of all three Chambers that we have had in this Province - the Colonial Building, the old Chamber upstairs, and now here. So, Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that this significant contribution to this significant day could be made by the presence here today of the former Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne here today of course is not only the ceremonial opening of a new Legislative session. As was referred to by His Honour and by myself and other speakers so far, this is the first session in this new Chamber. And today's proceedings, I suppose, more than similar proceedings in recent years, will perhaps have some special significance to some future generations of historians. The fact that this is the beginning of a new session in a new Chamber - I am not going to say a lot about this new place or this new Chamber today. I am not going to say a lot about its location. It is the third location that we have had for a - the fourth, really - but the third official Chamber that we have had in this Province over our long experience with democracy. I hope that this particular location will be the location for many, many decades to come.

When we were the Government we had been advised from an accessibility point of view for the public, that there was a need from a fire safety point of view, and many other points of view, to move the Chamber from the old ninth and tenth floor locations to a more accessible safety area of this building. And we agreed to do it, and the new Government carried out with that move once they came to office. I know some people may like the surroundings in this place and some may not. But I can only say, from my own personal perspective, that having visited a lot of Legislative Chambers across Canada, the one thing I can say - and there are things about it that I do not like, frankly - is that it looks something of the part. It looks something like you would find in Manitoba and Quebec and Ontario and British Columbia, other provinces of Canada.

But you know, Mr. Speaker, of course what the looks, what the physical surroundings of this place have to do to the quality of debate, to the quality of legislation that is proposed by the Government, to the eventual decisions that are debated by Members of this House, is absolutely nothing. So whether we like it, whether we do not like it, I guess the important thing is that we all have a responsibility in our own way to serve our constituents who have sent us here as best we can. And while it is probably nice for those of us who have been used to being crammed up in a small room on the ninth floor to have a bit more space and all that kind of thing, that is not what is important. What is important is the interest of the people who sent us here to do a job on their behalf.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I want to as well congratulate the mover of the motion, the hon. Member for Pleasantville, and the seconder, the hon. Member for Bonavista South. Now, Mr. Speaker, that would be about what tradition dictates on opening day, that the Leader of the Opposition would compliment and congratulate those Members who moved that an address and reply be drafted to the gracious speech from the throne.

But I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that not since those heady days of Peckford nationalism, when Members who were on the other side of the House, some of whom are still there, were accusing those of us who were in that Government of being separatist, have I ever heard the kind of rhetoric on opening day that I heard here today, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: There was an anti-confederate touch in both those speeches that I find unbelievable coming from supporters for this Government, Mr. Speaker. The Premier shakes his head.

MR. SIMMS: As he always (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Well, Mr. Speaker, so he should shake his head. Because the condemnation of this country and what this country can do for us that came from those two speeches in particular, Mr. Speaker, I found it unbelievable that it would occur here on opening day.

Let me point out one example. The Member for Bonavista South made the passionate declaration that there has to be in order to solve the fisheries' problems of Newfoundland and Labrador a unilateral declaration of extension of jurisdiction over the Nose and Tail of the Bank. Great political rhetoric, Mr. Speaker. But the Speech from the Throne said that his Government supports and is committed to working in co-operation with the Federal Government to seek an acceptable permanent solution to this major problem, and the solution that the Federal Government is working on is a diplomatic solution. It is not a unilateral solution. In fact it has disassociated itself from any prospects of a unilateral extension of jurisdiction, so the inconsistency, Mr. Speaker, with the approach taken by those hon. Members, I think, most be pointed out, and I am sure it will by my colleagues as we go through the next few days of Throne Speech debate. I congratulate them and compliment them. They did an excellent job in their presentation.

Mr. Speaker, I want to, as well, on behalf of my colleagues, to officially welcome to the House the new Member for St. John's East and I want to officially welcome to the House the Member Elect who I believe is with us in the galleries for the district of Trinity North. We are looking forward to their participation in debate in this House and to their contribution to debate and to the decision making process in this House over the next several months and years, however long they may be here or we may be here.

I should as well, I suppose, Mr. Speaker, say how pleased I am on behalf of my colleagues to see that the hon. Member for Fortune - Hermitage has finally pitched. There are those of us on both sides of this House, Mr. Speaker, who have pitched from place to place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: But I do not know of any instance, Mr. Speaker, I do not know of any instance in the history of parliamentary democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador where it took almost twenty-one months before a twist could pitch. We do wish the hon. gentleman well and we are looking forward to his constituents having a voice in this matter some year and a half or two years down the road. We know that 225 or 228, whatever the press reported, Liberal supporters in the district had a say and that is fine, we are not disputing that, but we are looking forward to all his constituents having a say, and when that happens, and then if and when the hon. Member is returned here then I will say of him, he has been totally exonerated. That is what I will say if that is what happens.

Now, Mr. Speaker, having got those pleasantries out of the way I want to say that since this House last sat, I think, we have all been saddened by the recent death of a great Newfoundlander and Labradorian, a great native son, Dr. Eugene Forsey. Those of us who had the privilege to know Dr. Forsey know that he was a Newfoundlander who made a great contribution to political life in Canada. Although he was not a lawyer, he was respected, I think it is fair to say, as one of the greatest constitutional minds in this country. Canada has lost a distinguished scholar, a great patriot, a great reservoir of constitutional expertise, and, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that my colleagues and I express our deepest sympathy to members of the Forsey family.

Also, Mr. Speaker, as was referred to today by His Honour and by previous speakers since this House last met thousands of Canadians and hundreds of young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been taking part as part of the allied coalition in the Persian Gulf conflict. It is the first time in about forty years that Canadians have been engaged in active military duty. Many of us, Mr. Speaker, have at least acquaintances, but a lot of us in this Province have relatives who are today serving their country in the Persian Gulf. And while we all deplore war, and while we all are optimistic about the events of last night we do hope, Mr. Speaker, that this conflict is settled quickly and that those of our loved ones who are there get home quickly. I know there are hundreds of other Newfoundlanders, like myself, I happen to have my brother serving on the Athabascan. He has been over there since September. He was due to come home for a crew change in February but now he is not due back until April, but maybe that will speed up because of the events of last night. I know there are hundreds of Newfoundlanders like myself, who every day have hardly a thinking waking moment that goes by when those people somehow or another are if not in the front of your thoughts then certainly in your thoughts somewhere, so I know I speak for all Newfoundlanders who have relatives in the Gulf when we say today we hope they will soon be back with us.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few moments, not a long time, it is not tradition that the Leader of the Opposition or any speaker really on opening day take a long time. We are entitled, I suppose, by the rules of the House to an hour, but it is not tradition that we do that. But I do want to take a few minutes more time of the House to make a few general observations on the Speech from The Throne that was delivered here this afternoon.

And, Mr. Speaker, when I read this Speech first today, having gotten it about half an hour before His Honour delivered it here in the Assembly, I could not think there was something different about it. And I believe it is this, I think it is fair to say that the Throne Speech of 1989 and the Throne Speech of 1990 were sort of euphoric documents. They were coming from a Government that had just been elected to office, they seem to have a lot of vim and vinegar and vision and idea, and it flowed well. The last one I realize was short in 1990, but the one in 1989 was a fairly extensive document. But a new plan, or at least some new ideas of how the Government was going to approach the problems facing the Province.

But this Speech, Mr. Speaker, compared to that is a very, very sober document. This Speech is not euphoric. This Speech is not visionary. This Speech is not over flowing with enthusiasm. This Speech is trying to warn, I believe, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that not only to admit that we are in tough times, but to warn of something very dramatic, and I believe that, Mr. Speaker, that dramatic action will be the Budget Speech that will occur in this House a week today. That is the difference that I see, Mr. Speaker.

The first two Speeches, I believe there was a great deal of concentration on improvements in the social field. There was a great deal of concentration on improvements in health and education. Improvements, spending more money, hiring, expanding the system, health and education, social services in particular. Is that the buzzword in this document today? The buzzword, Mr. Speaker, in this document today is rationalization. Downsizing is not used in that pure sense. But rationalization of what we have is certainly used, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, for the third time a Throne Speech delivered by this Government has promised the people of Newfoundland and Labrador a new economic strategy. It was promised in the Throne Speech of 1989, and it was said categorically in the Throne Speech of 1989, in fact, I have the quote here 'My Government' May 25, 1989, 'is at this moment in the process of establishing an Economic Recovery Plan, the details of which will be announced shortly.'

MR. SIMMS: Shortly.

MR. RIDEOUT: Shortly. May 25, 1989. It was raised in the Throne Speech again last year, and of course it is raised in the Throne Speech again this year.

Mr. Speaker, twenty-one months later an Economic Recovery Commission later, an Enterprise Newfoundland later, how much more time does the Government need to develop?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shortly.

MR. RIDEOUT: How much shorter is shortly? When can we expect?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shortly.

MR. RIDEOUT: This is the third time now that we have been told that the document was almost ready and that we could expect to see it any day. In fact, we were told May 25, as I said, in 1989, that we would see it momentarily then, certainly within months, I suppose, one could come to that conclusion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. RIDEOUT: There is in this document as well, Mr. Speaker, the promise of a plan in terms of rationalization as far as the structural approach to the fishery goes. Well, Mr. Speaker, again we are promised it shortly. And we are looking forward to it. We hope it comes shortly.

We have seen, Mr. Speaker, over the last twenty-one months in this Province, a Government that has been prepared to accept the philosophy of a national government that again rationalization had to take place in the fishery. We have seen plant closures, we saw Government temporarily help three of them, but the plant closure approach was the approach that was accepted by both levels of government for a crisis, Mr. Speaker, hurting an industry that is a temporary crisis, if the resource is managed properly. So we have to - while we are looking forward to seeing whatever the new plan is in terms of the Government's approach to the fishery - at this point in time we can only judge by the performance. And the performance has been to - or its rationalization - towards a smaller, more efficient, more professional - words of the Minister himself - group left in the fishery.

Now if that is going to be the essence of the new plan that we are going to see, Mr. Speaker, then the industry that is and always will be the backbone, particularly in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, is in for some dramatic changes that will have nothing to do with resource availability or anything else.

Mr. Speaker, we are anxiously looking forward to the Budget. We have looked at the economic performance and projections of this Government, in particular over what is now almost the last twelve months. And this is the Government that came into the Legislature almost twelve months ago now with a budget projecting a modest surplus. And then proceeded to have the Legislature deal with the estimates of that budget, knowing as of March 30, I believe the date was, that the estimates had changed dramatically. Knowing that they were not correct information any more, but yet Members of this Legislature dealt with the set of estimates that the Minister of Finance produced in his budget.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) it is right.

MR. RIDEOUT: In August, Mr. Speaker, the Premier and the Minister of Finance had to face the Province and tell them that a $10 million surplus was now a $120 million deficit. That was in August. We came back as a Legislature again the first part of October. And with that kind of variance - the largest variance that I have ever heard tell of in my time here, I believe it is probably the largest that ever occurred - between the budgetary position of the Province in March, and the budgetary position of the Province in August and through to October, the Government still persisted in carrying on with the 1990-1991 Budget. It would not hear of any mini-budget, it would not hear of any new budget or revised budget. It still insisted on carrying on. And, Mr. Speaker, the result of that carrying on and that determination to carry on I suspect we will see in the Budget this week.

The uncertainty that is rampant in this Province has been created because Ministers of the Crown and the Premier have been saying to people: look, we are in very, very difficult economic times and we have got to cut back. The Minister of Health has said to health care institutions in this Province that we have to consider freezing budgets. We did not manufacture that, or the Hospital and Nursing Home Association people manufacture that, the Minister said it. So that has created uncertainty among hundreds and hundreds of people who work and depend on the health care institutions for their livelihood, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Education has said to school boards and to school board employees in this Province that: we have to consider freezing your budget in the next fiscal year. And that has created uncertainty. And a lack of comfort about what their prospects are going to be after next week or the week after.

All of that uncertainty, Mr. Speaker, I would suspect, and we will see this in the Budget documents next week, has made the fiscal position of this Province much more difficult now than it was in October of last year. And that is where the Government, I believe, will be inflicting further pain and deeper, deeper hurt on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador because they choose not to act last fall when they should have acted. They choose not to make the tough decisions last fall when they should have made them, if they were convinced that they had to be made. And now I suspect that these decisions are going to be tougher, more painful, and more hurtful than if the right approach had been taken several months ago. And I believe, Mr. Speaker, that is why this Throne Speech today is a very sober, sombre document.

The expansionary vision of the Government of 1989 and 1990 has disappeared and it has been replaced now by the reality of a party that has been in power for a couple of years and knows that at the best of times that Newfoundland and Labrador is a very, very challenging and difficult Province to govern. A great one, one we all love, but challenging and difficult to govern.

So the dreams and visions of a party seeking power has become replaced by a party that is in power and now, I think,-

MR. SIMMS: The harsh reality is -

MR. RIDEOUT: - the harsh reality is that they are not quite certain how to handle it and what to do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. RIDEOUT: Well, we will see on Thursday.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, there is a lot more that I could say. There is a lot more I would like to say on the economy. There is a lot more I would like to say on job creation. There is a lot more I would like to say on the Economic Recovery Commission. There is a lot more I would like to say on amalgamation, and how the Government botched that. There is a lot more I would like to say on the futility of the fact that you will hurt the future of this Province if you damage our education system. If you turn the hands of the clock backwards, what you are going to do to economic prospects of future generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Of what you are going to do if you tamper dramatically with the health care system. All of those things are things that we will be debating, Mr. Speaker, in this House over the next several weeks and I am sure two or three months, certainly well into the spring.

Mr. Speaker, finally before I do take my seat I want to say this: there is no doubt that this will be my last session as the Leader of the Official Opposition in this Legislature. I have made that clear. It is very likely that it will be my last session as a Member of the Legislature. I have not made that so clear because I do not know how the time frames might come down. But it is very, very likely. I want to say as I begin the last session for me as Leader of the Official Opposition that I have certainly enjoyed my career spanning almost sixteen years in this Legislature, and I would recommend public service, political life, no matter how difficult it might be from time to time, to any young aspiring Newfoundlander and Labradorian. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my constituents, to thank the people of the Province generally for giving me a chance to serve and to participate for so long in public life and in the political process in the Province.

In my remaining weeks here, and that basically is what it is down to now, I want to say as I said before, at the opening of previous sessions, we will co- operate with the Government when co-operation is necessary, and when we think it is useful and in the public good. In those circumstances we will co-operate with the Government. We will oppose the Government, Mr. Speaker, when we believe that it is in the public good and when we believe that the public good is not being served by the actions of the Government. Then we will oppose. That is our system, Mr. Speaker, and despite all the flaws of that system, nobody yet has invented a better one.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, from a number of points of view, I guess this is a historic day in this Province. It is a historic day in many parts of the world; within the last twenty-four hours, the war has effectively come to an end in the Persian Gulf, and that is a noteworthy and welcome event and like the other speakers who have gone before me I pay tribute to those Canadians, particularly those Canadians who are from this Province, who have been serving faithfully in the Persian Gulf, and express great relief along with everybody else in this country that the war came to an end without the loss of a single Canadian life and express sympathy to the families of those members of the other coalition forces who were lost, small though the number was, but I express our sympathy to them.

It is also historic for another couple of reasons. It is the day when a great Newfoundlander, as the Leader of the Opposition has mentioned, is being buried in Ottawa, and he and others in this Province have paid tribute to Dr. Forsey, no more than is due to Dr. Forsey, certainly. He made a great contribution as a Canadian without ever forgetting that his roots were in this Province and he looked upon this Province as his home, and did me the great honour on a number of occasions, of speaking about me as his Premier.

So, I accept that on behalf of the people of this Province as a recognition by Dr. Forsey that his roots are indeed and remained throughout his life in this Province, even though he played a major role as a Canadian. His contribution will not soon be forgotten by Canadians all across the country. I hope it will not be forgotten in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I hope people will not overlook the fact that, some six or eight months ago, the Government established a scholarship fund in Dr. Forsey's name, tenable at Memorial University, for studies in Canadian Government at Memorial University and I pay tribute to His Honour whose original idea it was, to find some way to honour Dr. Forsey and I am glad the Government agreed to and decided on education and the perpetuation of Dr. Forsey's name through an educational scholarship as the means of honouring Dr. Forsey.

It is also a historic day, and I notice he has just had to leave the Chamber, to have Mr. Smallwood, as the Leader of the Opposition noted, sitting in this Chamber today, sitting on the floor of the Chamber although not participating as a Member. He sat in the other two Chambers as a Member and I guess he is one of the few people still alive who did. It is a great pleasure to have him present today to observe these proceedings and participate with us and give us another opportunity to publicly acknowledge his tremendous personal contribution to the development of the Province.

I won't say much about the Chamber. I will reserve comment. I have some strong reservations. I have to be frank in saying, Mr. Speaker, that the Government had strong reservations about proceeding with it and when we formed the new Government we took an immediate assessment of whether or not we should stop the process, and probably would have, except for the fact that the contracts had been let, and work had progressed so far that it was imprudent, to say the least, not to proceed; but I hope at the very least that whatever we like or dislike about it, it will grow on all of us because it is the residence of our democratic process in this Province, and however it appears or whatever we may want to do to change its appearance in the future, let us not forget that it is, essentially, the Legislature of this Province and the democratic forum for the people of this Province, and let us try and work in that context.

I also want to join with the Leader of the Opposition and the other Members who have spoken, in welcoming two new Members to the House, the hon. the Member for St. John's East who represents a party that, until his election, was not a Member of this particular Assembly although his party has been represented in a prior Assembly. I sincerely welcome him and assure him that he will receive full and fair treatment, not preferential mind you, but full and fair treatment, I know, from both sides of the House. I take a particular pleasure in welcoming also the new Member for Trinity North. I am very pleased to have him join us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I do not share the views of the Leader of the Opposition with respect to the actions of the hon. Member for Fortune - Hermitage. I believe this Government, this Party, the present leadership, has set an appropriate standard that stopped the activity that threatened the wearing out of a carpet in the middle of the floor of the House, by saying very clearly, there are two qualifications to sit with the Liberal caucus. One, you have to be chosen by the Liberals of the district to do so, and secondly you have to be elected by the residents of the district you chose to represent. Now, in the ordinary course, most individuals would get the party choice first and then submit themselves for election. That is the normal process. In the past we have seen a great deal of what I would call, political instability in this Province, of people walking back and forth for their own personal motives at the time. I don't think that this serves the political stability of the Province well. It is important to have a good and competent Opposition. I thought so when I was Leader of the Opposition, and when we got offers from Members sitting on the Government side, that they wanted to walk across and sit with us, I said no, not unless you first submit yourself to acceptance by the Liberals of the district that you want to represent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: And when my responsibility changed to be that of Premier of the Province, instead of Leader of the Opposition, I saw no reason to change that principle. It would not matter whether you sat on the Opposition side or on the Government side of the House, I felt the same principle should apply, and I am happy to say, Mr. Speaker, that that principle was applied and it worked, and worked well. I am also happy to say that I saw it adopted in Nova Scotia just recently, when a similar thing happened and the Leader of the Opposition in Nova Scotia took a similar position. It happened to be that an NDP member wanted to move over and sit with the Liberal Opposition in Nova Scotia and he said, first you must get the approval of the Liberals of the district you want to represent and he went through that process. Maybe we have set a new standard for the country, and if we have I am very pleased that we had a small part to play in it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: So, the hon. Member for Fortune - Hermitage, having now both been elected by the residents of that district and chosen by the Liberals of that district also, is a welcome addition to this Liberal caucus.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I note, as did the Leader of the Opposition and a couple of other speakers, that this may well be the last session that the Leader of the Opposition will participate with us in the House. I regret that personally. I will save my remarks for a time that is closer to his date of departure, and I think that would be a more appropriate time for me to express my views on the matter. I also join with the Leader of the Opposition in welcoming Her Worship, the Mayor of the City of St. John's, who is present in the chamber, and the other special guests and dignitaries who have agreed to join us on the floor of the Assembly this afternoon. The Leader of the Opposition makes a very valid point, that this serves - that people come and join us on the floor of the Assembly - serves to remind us of just what we are. We are not a superior institution, superior to the people of this Province. We are part and parcel of the people of this Province, but we happen to be the body that has been entrusted with the discharge of the plenary legislative powers of our people. And having the visitors with us today helps for a moment to remind us of the extent of that responsibility and the measure of that trust, and I heartily welcome you here today.

I also want to extend a special welcome to an individual that I see in the gallery opposite. It is not often we have him present or other members from the group that he represents. He is William Anderson III, the leader of the Labrador Inuit Association, and I am very pleased to see Mr. Anderson present in the gallery there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: There are other visitors with us today and I extend that welcome to all.

I want also to sincerely congratulate the mover and seconder of this motion. The mover of the motion gave what I think is probably the best philosophical speech I have heard in this Chamber since I have been here. It is the kind of thinking that I have come to expect from the hon. Member and to greatly respect, because what it portrays to all of us is an orderly mind that operates with a plan and a vision, and recognizes the things that have to be done and the course that a government should follow, and a legislature should participate in, in planning for the orderly operation of the public affairs of this Province. I was most impressed with his grasp of the situation and I say to all hon. Members, you could do worse than to get Hansard and re-read what that hon. Member said today. It would do us all good.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: He was very, very well complemented in that speech by the comments of the seconder, who took a somewhat different but nevertheless equally important and effective approach. He concerned himself with the procedures of the House and expressed his views on that. He concerned himself with the concerns of his particular district and the concerns of fishermen and fisheries in the Province. And, contrary to the comments of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, who somehow thought there was something terrible about his expressing his personal view about what should be done with respect to the Nose and Tail of the Banks. Perhaps at long last the hon. Members opposite will now recognize that this is not a monolith over here, there are thirty-two -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: There are thirty-two independent thinkers. Quite capable and quite free to express their individual opinions, with the exception of those who sit in Cabinet who must express the collective opinion, and I welcome the opinion expressed. I do not quite share the view with respect to unilateral declaration of jurisdiction outside the normal limits. There is a way that I think is more appropriate to deal with the problem, but I will defend forever the right of that hon. Member to express his own view and commend him for doing so.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, if I could just deal briefly with a couple of other comments from the Leader of the Opposition, because I think they need to be dealt with. He noted the difference between this Speech from the Throne and the two previous speeches that were delivered at the instance of this administration, and he noted the difference. He thought the first two speeches were euphoric and excited about the opportunities and the possibilities and what we were doing, and his word to describe it was "euphoric." But he saw no euphoria in this speech.

Well, Mr. Speaker, it is hard to be euphoric about recession and a $200 million deficit on current account. Those are not the things of which euphoria is made. Those are the responsibilities that a government has to deal and deal seriously with. When we had delivered the first two speeches from the Throne - and it has all been in less than two years, I remind hon. Members. It has been one year and nine months since this House first sat after the last election, and one year and nine months, Mr. Speaker, is not yet two years, and by next week we will have delivered our third budget.

We have delivered today, or had delivered today, the third Speech from the Throne, and the first outlined in general the Government's long-term objective for its full term of office. That is a normal approach. It was a rather more lengthy speech than the last one and then the one delivered here today because it outlined the general concept and approach; and it also said that we would shortly be putting in place an economic recovery procedure, an economic recovery plan, and the Leader of the Opposition says we now are still promising that. Well, we delivered on that. Within the first stage we put in place the Economic Recovery Commission, put its structure in place, and they have, during the last eighteen months, put in place a revised Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and have carried on tremendous activity.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is not the end of planning. Anybody who knows the right approach to management of anything, whether it is an economy, a business, an organization of any kind, management of schools, public services or anything, you do first what the Member for Pleasantville did in his speech today: put in place the philosophy and develop what the philosophy should be, and it is called, if you think in terms of corporations and the way they operate, a strategic economic plan. That is what we are in the process of developing for this Province. That includes, not just the job creating mechanism of the Economic Recovery Commission. It includes integrating the whole of the education and health care system and the whole of the government and public services into an efficient, co-operative operating system, to re-build the economy and the public service of this Province. Now, that is the strategic economic plan that we are talking about.

A group of officials of the government started last September to work on the detail of this. They have produced so far a couple of drafts of it. We have had advice from others outside the group, and very shortly we will be able to submit it for public scrutiny and public comment. But, Mr. Speaker, what we want to do is plan the orderly long-term development of the economy and the public service sector of this Province. We must do this in an orderly way otherwise we will waste our resources as has been done in the past, spinning our wheels, putting in place changes that are of no value, putting forward industrial enterprises that are doomed to failure from the beginning. We have to stop and abandon that process and put in place a strategic economic plan that will enable us to use our resources in the most effective way possible to get the maximum benefit for the people of this Province, and that is exactly what we are about.

Mr. Speaker, when we assumed office we outlined our three priorities in health, education and economic development. We intended to carry on and improve and modernize other aspects of the management of the public service generally, but we wanted to give priority to those. In our first two budgets we did. Clearly we did it, and we did it again last year.

Now, Mr. Speaker, as of last year, after we brought the Budget in things started to change. The Leader of the Opposition referred to our becoming aware of a $120 million difference. Well, that is not accurate, with great respect to the Leader of the Opposition. By the end of March, or very early the first couple days of April, some two weeks or so after the Budget was delivered, we became aware that there would be some adjustment in the transfer payments; and, Mr. Speaker, they were calling on us to re-pay some - if I recall the figure correctly, we would have to re-pay about $35 million and there would be another $29 million or $30 million reduction in the coming year. We chose, Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of the Province, not to re-pay the $35 million immediately because we had the right to re-pay it over 12 or 18 months and save the interest cost on it, for the benefit of the people of this Province, which we did. So, the adjustment at that stage was, in fact, about $34 million down from what our projections were.

Now, Mr. Speaker, during the course of the Summer and by October we became aware - not all of us, by October we became aware that it could be as much as $120 million. And I believe we have acted responsibly since that time to take the time to consider the most appropriate adjustments to the public service generally and the manner in which Government expends public funds and to make the changes in such a way as would have the least possible adverse impact on the delivery of services to the public, and don't ever forget, on the people who are employed and who have given loyal service to the public of this Province. We want to cause the least possible impact on them as well. But we must, Mr. Speaker, in order to do it that way, take the time and hear the points of view of others to do it. It may eliminate some anxiety, some degree of uncertainty, but it is certainly not going to help any public servant to cause that public servant to be laid off in October or November instead of March. It is not going to help him any at all. So, Mr. Speaker, I think we have followed the right course but I am prepared to leave that to the judgement of the electorate of this Province to determine whether or not we have acted properly. The most significant that has happened since our first two budgets were delivered, and the first two Throne Speeches were delivered, was the changing circumstances in the nation and in the Province. The changing circumstances in the nation, Mr. Speaker, was brought about largely by the budget of the Federal Government, delivered last year, that reduced the transfer payments to the provinces for the established program funding and left us, in this Province, with the responsibility to pay for all of the increased costs. This is how the Federal Government is choosing to deal with its massive deficit problem, and I have a great understanding for the necessity for them to deal with that deficit problem, if for no other reason, Mr. Speaker, than a very selfish reason in this Province. We have in the past been deriving some 47 per cent of our Provincial Government revenue by way of direct transfers from the Federal Government. Now, if we think we have economic problems at this moment, God help us if the Federal Government gets in financial difficulty and cannot meet its commitment to provide for transfers to the Province through equalization, and established program funding and other transfers. So, even from a purely selfish point of view, I endorse the actions of the Federal Minister of Finance to come to grips with the massive debt of this country and the persistent deficit. So we must, Mr. Speaker, share with other Canadians a responsibility to deal with this. Nevertheless, that is what caused the basic problem for this Province. That, plus some circumstances in this Province as well; the closure of some mines due to the depletion of the ore, the closure of Long Harbour, the Federal mismanagement of the fisheries, and the economic impact that that has had on our Province has been immense. More than anything else the economic recession, brought about by national economic policies has also created a substantial problem for the Government of this Province. All of those things together, Mr. Speaker, changed the circumstances that we were faced with this year, from what they were twelve months ago, or eighteen months ago, twenty-one months ago when we took office. It is an entirely different economic circumstance and we must adjust our approach if we are to act responsibly and protect the long-term interest of the people of this Province. On top of that, Mr. Speaker, Canada has itself in a state of constitutional uncertainty. That does not help the economy either. It makes it very difficult to handle economic concerns in all of the provinces as well as in the nation. What the Speech from the Throne reflects, Mr. Speaker, are the changes that are necessary to deal with those changed circumstances, and the Government putting in place a long-term strategic economic plan to deal properly with the future of this Province. That plan, Mr. Speaker, provides for, first and foremost, responsible financial management of the finances of the Province. And, we are determined to do that, not to cause this Province to get into financial difficulty by inordinate reliance on borrowing to finance current operating expenses of Government. It is usual to rely on borrowing to finance capital, but it is not usual to rely on borrowing to finance current operating expenses, because that gets us inevitably into the kind of difficulty that the Federal Government finds itself in at the moment, so we have to stop that course and stop any trend toward it. I can commit to the people of this Province today, Mr. Speaker, a Government that is dedicated to doing just that. There may be, in a year or two, when due to circumstances, you may well have to budget for a deficit on current account, but that should only ever occur in exceptional circumstances. It should not be a routine policy of any government. And if the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker, want a government that will continue to operate on that basis then they had better elect another government the next time around. Frankly, I do not believe that that is what they want. I believe they want at long last, sound financial management in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne also gives a clear indication of the priority that the Government gives to the foundation of our economy, the fisheries. And we recognize that no matter how much oil Hibernia or the other offshore fields will in their time produce, the fishery has been the mainstay of the economy of this Province for more than 400 years, and I have no doubt it will be the mainstay of the economy for many decades, if not centuries to come. So, it is important, Mr. Speaker, that we not, in the process of taking whatever financial benefit we can get from offshore oil development, ignore the foundation of our economy, the fishery. Toward that end, Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne indicates that we will shortly be delivering a proposal in the form of a White Paper, to spell out clearly the Government's plans and proposal with respect to the fishery.

The use of a White Paper, Mr. Speaker, as all Members know, recognizes the fact that Government does not know everything about the fishery. It does not have all of the answers. So, it puts forward proposals for discussion, and provides for the adjustment of those proposals depending upon the input that we get from other areas of the Province, particularly from the fishery sector that is concerned. However, we have recognized the need to improve the contribution that the Government can make to protecting our fisheries. And toward that end we have put in place provision for strengthening the Department of Fisheries beyond what it has been in recent years, and put in place appropriate level of research and marketing research and planning facilities, to aid in getting a greater economic benefit from the fishery, even though the quantity of fish available may have diminished. We want to ensure that we get the maximum possible economic benefit and priority will be given in that respect.

As well as the fisheries, Mr. Speaker, we must continue to support our other old reliable sectors of our economy, the forest and the mines. We have run into some difficulty recently with respect to some mines that have been depleted, not due to inefficiency, but largely the ores readily available or economically available have been depleted, and those mines have had to close. So, we must ensure that we carry out an appropriate programme of exploration to provide for the development of new mines. And above all, we must make sure that we manage and protect our forest in such a way that they will provide for the continued operation of the three newsprint mills that contribute so significantly to our economy.

We must also, Mr. Speaker, take advantage of every possible opportunity to sell to others, particularly in North America, but also in Europe, that which we in this Province so easily take for granted: the great joys of our outdoors and what we have to offer in the form of tourism. And we do have a great deal to offer, a great deal more than we have developed in the past, and the Government is making special efforts in that regard. One such effort that I can mention and I give credit also to the former government for making a contribution in terms of the development of Marble Mountain. In fact, it appears from our best estimate that the Government will recover within five years, every cent it ever contributed to Marble Mountain in retail sales tax returns alone. Quite apart from the direct economic benefit to the communities in the area that serve.

So we want to develop these kinds of tourist facilities and take advantage of the desire of tourists to enjoy what they call "adventure tourism." Not too exciting or adventuresome, but enough to allow them to boast a little when they get back home. Those opportunities are there.

We have also, Mr. Speaker, put in place the Economic Recovery Commission, which has already made a very significant contribution, and which I have no doubt will make an even greater contribution to broadening the economic base of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, I can not overlook what Hibernia and offshore oil has to offer, and can not overlook, particularly at this time, commenting on some report that has surfaced in the last couple of days, for some reason or other, that anybody and everybody who knows anything about offshore oil has been aware of for some two years. But all of a sudden some report gets resurrected that says: they have only proven one-half of what they think might be there. Well, everybody is - I have known that for two years and there is nothing new about that; all of the decisions with respect to Hibernia and the development of the offshore were made on the basis of the full knowledge of everything that is in that report.

I should also say a word, Mr. Speaker, about what Hydro has to offer, and here I want to caution people; we are making, I believe, good progress in the negotiation but I do now want people to go out and assume that it is a done deal and it is ready to go in place; that is not so. There is still significant differences to be negotiated if ever an agreement is to be realized; but we have made sufficient progress that it is important for us to take precautionary steps, like starting to register the process for environmental assessment and that was done some months ago, two or three months ago I believe, and I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that very shortly I understand, they will be calling tenders for preliminary engineering, but that is simply to make sure that the engineering services will be available and can be put in place should a deal be reached. So, I do not want people to suddenly jump to the conclusion that the development of the Lower Churchill is starting. We are making excellent progress and it can make a contribution to the economy of this Province that will far exceed the contribution Hibernia can make, if it comes into place. So it is something that we will work diligently to achieve and I am confident, Mr. Speaker, that with diligence and with goodwill and effort on both sides an arrangement can be worked out, but that yet remains to be seen.

Mr. Speaker, we are also, as the Speech from the Throne indicates, going to give some priority to technological and scientific and mathematic training and education, because I believe our economic future is dependent on what we do in the field of Education. That does not mean we have a bottomless pit of money to spend on Education, we do not. We must spend our dollars wisely, but if we do not educate our people and train them to be competitive technologists with the rest of the world, then, Mr. Speaker, we will forever have a backward economy in this Province, and the Minister of Education and indeed the whole Government, is dedicated to making sure that that does not happen.

The overall strategic economic plan, as well as including all of these things, will also deal with putting in place, as the Speech from the Throne says, a system of labour relations in this Province that will ensure we properly provide for and protect the interest of our workers, but will also create an attractive investment climate for industry to invest in, to create job opportunities for our people. That plan will also require us to take a look at our tax policy and measure the extent, if any, to which our tax regime, acts as a deterrent to investment, and come to grips with that problem and find ways to ensure that we can properly and fairly pay for public services without having in place a tax regime that is in fact a deterrent to economic development.

We are confident as well, Mr. Speaker, that Agriculture has a significant contribution to make beyond that which it has been making in the past and for that reason we commissioned a study by Dr. Hulan, which, just in the last few days, has been received by the Government, or in the last week or so, has been received by the Government and is now in the process of assessment. We are hopeful that we will be able to develop and expand the Agriculture section in the Province.

Good strategic planning, Mr. Speaker, will also require us to ensure that we manage properly our environment, and that we do nothing to seriously, adversely affect the environment in a way that cannot be corrected, and that we provide for the most extensive economic development possible, with the least possible adverse effect on our environment and we will, Mr. Speaker, be bringing forward, as the Speech from the Throne has said, legislation during this session to deal with environmental matters. We have already put in place, the round table on environment and economic development, and we are hoping that we will, through that means, get advice from those particularly concerned with the environment and from those involved in the economic sector.

Mr. Speaker, if we are to also properly plan for the orderly development of our whole Province, we must also pay greater attention in the future than has been paid in the past to the concerns of the native people of this Province. And that also will be part of our strategic plan, to provide for fair treatment of our native people, to ensure that they will feel a full and fair part of this Province and feel that they have been fairly treated, and provide full opportunity for economic development. That too will be part, Mr. Speaker, of our strategic economic plan.

That plan, Mr. Speaker, when it is completed will be submitted for public scrutiny, public input, and I have no doubt, there will be an occasionally adjustment to be made. How long it will take us to achieve the kind of economic recovery we want is a bit difficult to say. The preliminary indications in that plan point out very clearly how far we are behind the rest of the nation, in terms of our earned income. If we had double the economic growth of the average in Canada for the next twenty years we still would not catch up and be equal to the average in the rest of Canada.

So people should not expect a turn around in one term of office. We are going to need at least two or three or four or five terms of office -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - to correct that, Mr. Speaker. And, Mr. Speaker, before we can bring Newfoundland to the top of the ladder, we have to first build a secure ladder, which is what we have been doing for the last, now nearly two years, and then, Mr. Speaker, slowly, but surely, we have to put in place a procedure to take us one step after another to the top of the ladder, so that, in our lifetime at the very least, we can see a development of the economic opportunity in this Province. A development of our public services and a development of our whole way of life, in a way that will enable us to be a self-reliant people, no longer having to depend on transfers from the Federal Government, generating all of the wealth and resources that it takes for us to be totally self-reliant and, Mr. Speaker, enjoying a standard of living that is no less than the standard of living enjoyable else where in the country.

That opportunity, Mr. Speaker, is open to us now. But it takes, Mr. Speaker, responsible financial management of the affairs of this Province, and a Government that will dedicate itself to developing and putting in place a strategic economic plan and ensuring that it is carried out. Mr. Speaker, I commit the participants in this Government and all those on this side of the House who support us, to carrying on that kind of activity this year and next year, and such further years as we may be called upon by electorate of this Province to do so.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR.SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that a committee be appointed to draft an address and reply for the gracious Speech from the Throne, and that it shall consist of the Member for Pleasantville, the Member for Bonavista South and the Member for Menihek. Carried.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Council.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. Monday and that the House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: Before putting the motion to the floor, I remind all people present of a reception in the main lobby immediately after the adjournment.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Monday, at 2:00 p.m.