March 6, 1991                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLI  No. 4


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before going to the routine business I would like, on behalf of hon. Members, to welcome to the galleries today thirty-two students, Level 3, from Lester B. Pearson High School, Wesleyville - today I want to get it correct - in the historic district of Bonavista North, accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Don Sturge and Mr. Gerald Kean, and their bus driver, Mr. Joe Sheppard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the hon. the Premier. I want to say to the Premier that there are reports in the business community over the last day or so that discussions have been ongoing, or are ongoing, with Fortis, the parent company of Newfoundland Light and Power, which are geared towards the possible sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro to Newfoundland Light and Power. First of all, I would like to ask the Premier, is the Government considering the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Premier for his short answer. We obviously accept that. Could I ask the Premier this: have there been any discussions initiated by the Government with Newfoundland Light and Power toward the possible - note, possible - privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The hon. the Opposition Leader, when he stood up and asked his first question, had a preamble about rumours going around, circulating in the business community. I say to him, do not pay any attention to reports and rumours. There are no discussions initiated by the Government and no discussions initiated by Fortis, as far as I know, with that in mind. Every now and then somebody makes a suggestion. As a matter of fact, I heard it this morning on CBC radio, when there were telephone responses invited from people, comments on the economy, and they suggested this should be done.

Every now and then over the years people have suggested this should be done, and others have suggested no, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro should take over Newfoundland Light and Power. Still others say no, that is the wrong way to go, using Government's borrowing capability to tie it up in this way when private enterprise is doing it, and what we should do is sell the Government agency to private enterprise, as the radio commentator said this morning. Mr. Speaker, people have made the suggestion off and on over the years on a number of occasions, but I have never been involved in any, I have never initiated any serious discussion since I have been Premier with respect to that matter.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. I would like to ask him when he will be providing accurate information to municipalities about the effects on their budget of the new municipal grant structure and changes in their share of debt service costs.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, over the last few weeks - in fact months now - the five regional offices throughout the Province have been in constant consultation with the municipalities concerning the new grants structure and the change in the debt subsidy, and the arrangements that are being made to have some of the communities who before were not paying any towards their debt, or very little, that those adjustments, including the grants, have been discussed with the municipalities. That work is substantially complete and discussions have been ongoing now for some two months.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister how many of the 320 municipalities will have less money to spend next year because of the reduction in municipal grants and the increase in debt service costs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. SIMMS: Good question.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed, it is a good question, and it is very difficult to answer. Because we will not know until we see how the communities react in total to the changes in the grant structure whether some which are being impacted on on the negative side, as we thought in the beginning, will continue to be negatively impacted or whether it will become positive. Because there is an incentive component in the grant structure that they may very well take advantage of. And if they do, we may find that a lot of the communities we thought would be impacted on on the negative side could very well have a positive impact and, in fact, receive more from the Province than we thought. We will not know that until we see the finalized budgets, and they are submitted through the regional offices to the executive group.

But we do anticipate of course that some communities will be impacted where they will be asked to contribute more from their own revenue sources than in the past, whereas others will be subsidized by the grants programme. The intent of the programme was, in fact, to see a shift in dollars from communities that were relatively self-sufficient, with a good tax base of business and industry and so on, to communities that were in need of assistance. So I think the grant structure has accomplished that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, after that answer I know why the Minister has been referred to as the `Minister of Misinformation and Confusion.' Let me ask the Minister, will he provide special assistance to all municipalities which face deficits caused by the changes in the Provincial funding, as he has done for Corner Brook, Port au Choix and other places? And will the Minister be approving municipal budgets which are submitted to him by councils showing a deficit?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, we have said, or I have certainly said from the beginning, when we first announced the changes in the grants program and in the debt subsidies, that we would look at special circumstances if, in fact, they existed. And we had to be fair. Obviously these circumstances would have to exist in other communities, as well. We would not treat a special circumstance in one community unless we could see a need for making that change throughout the municipalities in the Province.

So we said we would address those special circumstances if they were presented to our regional managers, and from the regional managers, of course, a recommendation would come up through the executive group to me.

The final part of your question was?

MR. TOBIN: About budgets that are showing a deficit.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, under The Municipalities Act all municipalities in the Province are required to have a balanced budget. So any that submit a budget that is not balanced, and I cannot imagine that happening, we have not seen it happen yet, we will be insisting that the budget is indeed balanced for the coming fiscal year. It is required by the Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Finance. I would like to know whether the Minister of Finance was aware that in addition to the substantial budget cuts announced in the Federal Budget that there were further departmental cuts amounting to $500 million being announced by the President of Treasury Board, and that these cuts were additional to those contained in the main estimates, including an ACOA cut of $1.4 million; Fisheries and Oceans cuts of $22.1 million; and $4.1 million cut from Marine Atlantic? Was he aware of these additional cuts?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, we were aware of a number of cuts that the Federal Government had made.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Minister of Finance does not understand the question. The question is whether he was aware that these cuts were in addition to those mentioned in the main estimates, and the question is whether or not these additional cuts that were announced subsequent to the Budget, including $22.1 million in the Department of Fisheries, he was aware of in making his Budget, and whether they were taken into account?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, all information that we have from the Federal Government is quite complete; it has been taken into account in making the decisions that we will be announcing tomorrow. I suggest to the hon. Member that he hold his patience until tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the question results from a recognition that in addition to a $24 million cut in the main Department of Fisheries estimates for capital and operating expenditures, there was an additional $22.1 million-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will ask the hon. Member to get into his supplementary question -and I should hear the question.

MR. HARRIS: Has the Minister taken into account this $47 million cut in the Federal Department of Fisheries expenditures in determining what expenditures the Provincial Department of Fisheries can have in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

No answer.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a further question to the Minister of Mines and Energy and ask the Minister of Mines and Energy, whether he, or any officials in his Department, have had any discussions with Newfoundland Light, or any other company for that matter, regarding the possible privatization of Newfoundland Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we have initiated no discussions considering the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. Hydro is a major arm of Government from the sense of being the electrical arm and we are into the midst of a lot of discussions right now, for example, with Hydro Quebec, and we have certainly given no thought to privatizing Hydro.

Relative to that, I would like to clarify some of the confusion that is out there relative to the role of Hydro and the role of Newfoundland Light. A lot of people seem to have the impression that they are doing the same thing.

Hydro is primarily a producer of power; it is not much of a distributor of power, just a small amount is distribution. Fortis, or Newfoundland Power, Newfoundland Light and Power, is primarily a distributor of power, they produce a small amount but there is very little overlap; there is very little overlap between Newfoundland Hydro and Newfoundland Light. I want to clear up some of that confusion which was again evident this morning in some of the comments that were on the radio.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, on a supplementary

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the Minister made it clear that he nor the Government had initiated any such discussions. Let me ask the Minister, has Newfoundland Light attempted to initiate such a discussion with his Department, and secondly, is the Minister and the Government considering privatizing the power distribution districts currently held by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: The last question first, Mr. Speaker. No, we are not considering privatizing PDD. In the past when rural districts went off diesel and onto the grid it was common practice for the Government to then hand over these areas to Newfoundland Power. We have not considered doing any more of that with the PDD district that we now have; we are not planning to do anymore of that. And relative to whether or not Newfoundland Light may have approached me, the subject was raised, and we have had no discussion on it because we are not interested in it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

The Chair has, in the past, tried to discourage points of order during Question Period, and we would prefer that they be raised after. But when an hon. Member stands on a point of order at least the Chair has to recognize him and see whether the point of order is substantial enough to be pursued in Question Period.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to add to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

PREMIER WELLS: Look, if the hon. Member would be quiet he would shorten this time a good deal. Now, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SIMMS: He is (inaudible) to take the House on his shoulders.

PREMIER WELLS: I am not taking the House -

MR. SIMMS: You are!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

The Chair has made its position clear and has specified what we try to accomplish, but the Chair has not heard what the Premier has to say to determine whether the point of order is sufficient to be dealt with in Question Period.

Order please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I do not want the combination of the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition to me -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

PREMIER WELLS: The point of order, Mr. Speaker, is that this House will be misled -may well be misled - if this information is not given, and I want to give information relative to

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) Question Period!

PREMIER WELLS: I do not mind extending the Question Period to make up for it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

It has not been non-customary for the Chair to entertain a point of order, even though the Chair has said that we would prefer that hon. Members raise a point of order at the end of Question Period, and on several occasions I have heard points of order raised by hon. Members opposite. If the Chair can clearly be given a few seconds to listen without any interruption from the other side, we would be able to clarify the matter. If the Premier could please get to his point.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the point is simple -

MR. SIMMS: A point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of privilege, the -

Order please!

MR. SIMMS: I am on a point of privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, I just want to say a few words.

Again, hon. Members can see what can happen to Question Period when the Chair does not get the co-operation of hon. Members. This is why we have said that points of order and points of privilege aught to be raised at the end, but I will listen to the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: The only point of privilege I want to raise is: the Premier said throughout his comments there a moment ago that he is prepared to extend Question Period by five minutes or so? Is he prepared to do that? If that is the case we will let him go on with the point of order, otherwise he is taking away the privileges of Members.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I do not mind extending Question Period by a few minutes to make up for it. But my concern is for this House to be fully informed - and properly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That's what you got a Minister for (Inaudible)!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, if hon. Members would be quiet they might in the end learn something. Their problem is: they appear to have a great aversion to being informed. No wonder they are where they are.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, the question was asked about PDD, and the Minister answered it, strictly speaking, correctly. I want to give additional information so there will be nobody claiming to be mislead. And the additional information was that a year or so ago -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

The Chair just wants to listen to the Premier for another twenty-five or thirty seconds, then I will make my decision.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have no quarrel. I will sit down. I thought the hon. Opposition House Leader agreed that he would hear the additional information if we agreed to extend Question Period. If they have withdrawn it, okay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

PREMIER WELLS: I have said we agree!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

That is the condition on which the Chair allowed the Premier to continue. When the Opposition House Leader asked for five minutes the Premier agreed - he agreed. He shook his head agreeing.

The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the Premier to continue please.

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to make sure that nobody in the House can claim to have been misled. Because a year or year and a half ago when we were looking at what would be done with PDD, we commissioned an assessment of PDD as to whether the old practice of the former government should be continued - of transferring parts of PDD to Newfoundland Light and Power when they were electrified and put on the grid. Or whether it should be continued with Hydro.

So we commissioned an assessment jointly with Newfoundland Light and Power, Mr. Speaker, to determine which was the least cost to the rate payers. The conclusion was that in the circumstances it would be least costly to leave it with Hydro, which is what we did.

But yes, the discussion on PDD took place at that time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

If I could comment -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) answer to the question!

MR. SPEAKER: If the Chair could dismiss this. Again, I would suggest to the Premier that the better place to have raised this was at the end of Question Period. Otherwise Question Period is going to -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: - if Members are going to stand - Order, please!

There is supposed to be no talking when the Chair is speaking.

If Question Period is to be carried along smoothly we can't have people getting up to give double answers to questions. When a question is answered one has to assume that it is answered. And in the future we will not entertain that. If a person has a point of order, point of privilege, it ought to be raised at the end of the Question Period.

The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

A question for the Minister of Social Services. Earlier this year, the Minister announced his intention to close eight group homes for severely handicapped people. Perhaps it is a sign of the times, Mr. Speaker, but there is a suspicion around that he may have done it to save some money. My question to the Minister is, will the Minister table the costs of running group homes in this Province, and will he tell the House what criteria was used to close those particular group homes?

And while he is at it, would the Minister explain why it was he announced the closure of the group homes before the residents were placed? Would it not have been better for the feelings of the residents and people concerned to place the residents properly before announcing the closure of the group homes? And, I might say, he put a date on it, which he changed afterwards.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all, I have no problems in tabling the cost of the operation of any of the group homes in the Province, or all of the group homes. The Member should know full well the cost of operating the group homes. The approximate cost of each one is anywhere from $90,000 to $115,000 per resident per year.

The move we are making now in moving people to a family environment within the community has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of operating a group home. The cost will not be determined by the full support these people are putting in place. I should also say that we are not closing group homes; we are moving people from a group home structure into a family environment, whether it be a foster family or whether it be co-operative apartments, giving those people, as all of us have in this universe, the right to live within a community. When the group homes were established, the main intent was that those people would be placed in group homes, but not for a permanent period. And the Member for Port au Port knows full well that that was the intent of the move at that particular time.

Finally, I did not at any time announce a date. That was announced by CBC radio, and they determined it from a conversation they had had with me as March 31. There is no planned date to close any group homes. It will take as long as is necessary, whether it be one month, whether it be six months, or whether it be six years. When we find the proper placement with the proper supports in place, after all the residents are moved into the community and the group homes are vacant and we no longer have a need for them, that is when the closure of those particular facilities will take place.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, that is not what the people on the Northern Peninsula and the people in Gander and the people in -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. Member to get to his question, please. It is a supplementary.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, would the Minister tell the House if the funding will be uniform, or will it be based on the unique needs of each individual? Will it be adequate to purchase the highly specialized services that many of these children need? And how much, by the way, Mr. Speaker, will the foster parents be receiving for caring for these children?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: First of all, let me tell the hon. Member that when the move was made to close institutions in the Province and move to the group home structure there was a great fear among the parents and all of us, and rightly so. I would be disappointed in the parents and the operators of these group homes if they were not concerned now about the move we intend to make. That concern will ensure that the right and proper facilities and supports will be put in place. I will not give the hon. Member an approximate cost or an exact cost for the foster homes, because that will be determined on the individual, the foster family and the arrangements and supports that will be put in place for each individual. Full cost will depend on the residents themselves, and all support services that are necessary for each and every resident who will be moved into the community will be put in place, whatever it takes or whatever is necessary for that particular individual.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, you know, the Minister says certain things, but sometimes his facts do not warrant what is happening.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question.

MR. HODDER: Now, Mr. Speaker, how will these foster parents be chosen and trained? I would like to ask the Minister, as well, what will happen to the children who cannot be placed in foster homes? What will happen to those children? And would the Minister not admit that he is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons in the wrong way, that they are saving money on the citizens of society who least deserve it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I am totally shocked. First of all, we are not talking about children, we are talking about adult people living in group home structures in this Province. And I will challenge anybody in Newfoundland and Labrador, or anybody in Canada, to deprive these people of the right to live within the community. Nobody has that right.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I will repeat once again, it is not to save dollars and cents, it is to give these people the opportunity, and everybody should have that opportunity, to live within the community. How will the foster training program be done? It will be done based on the needs of the individual. Since becoming Minister of Social Services, I have implemented several training programs for foster parents in this community. That was never done before. We are doing them on a continuous basis, and doing whatever it takes to provide training and education, support services. Those people, like you and me and everybody else, will have the right to live within the community.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a brief question for the Minister of Mines and Energy. The Premier in his supplementary answer, point of order, or whatever it was, stated that last year in the discussions related to what was to happen to the power distribution districts, there was an assessment of the power distribution districts. Could the Minister please tell this House, if he knows, the approximate assessed value of the assets of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro? And if he does not know that today, has he requested recently either his officials or the officials of Newfoundland Hydro to do an assessment of the value of the assets of Newfoundland Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I do not know that number off the top of my head, and I have not asked my officials to do that type of assessment. I will promise to get the numbers if the Member would like the numbers.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my friend the President of Treasury Board. The President of Treasury would be aware that his Government has already a decision that a substantial number of ADMs and DMs are about to be terminated. Numbers between ten and twenty are the numbers that are bandied around. I have two questions for the Government House Leader. Can he confirm that letters of termination have already been drafted and are ready to go to these individuals? And, can he tell us when these people will be told personally?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The allocation of Deputies and ADMs is a prerogative that the Premier normally has. Unless the Premier himself has initiated action in the last couple of weeks I know of no such move underway, I know of no such letters being drafted, I know of no such decision that has been made at this point in time.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, can I ask the Premier if letters have already been drafted to terminate a substantial number of ADMs and DMs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. The President of Treasury Board said, and the hon. Member would know, the appointments of Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers is purely a prerogative of the Premier and since I have been in this office I have exercised that prerogative and I intend to do so. I can say with certainty that I have not drafted any such letters, nor have I instructed anybody else to draft any such letters.

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

MR. SIMMS: I have one short supplementary, and then a further one after that, if I might be permitted. I would like to ask the Premier if he intends to terminate a number of ADM positions in the next short little while? Can he answer that question?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it is incredible that they are so desperate for intelligent questions if this is the kind of stuff they are coming up with. The people will know, and all Members of the House will know that the Minister of Finance will deliver his budget tomorrow. That will spell out in detail exactly what Government intends or does not intend to do, and these kinds of grand standing theatrics by the hon. Members opposite now are really unworthy of parliamentarians. You know, it is really not worthy of answer.

MR. SIMMS: A final supplementary.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader on a final supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, what we are lacking, I think, in this Question Period are substantial answers, not questions. That is the difficulty.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Honesty.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, and straight forward.

Let me ask this question then, and perhaps since he referred it to the Minister of Finance maybe he will be willing to stand and answer this question. Can the Minister of Finance assure this House and the people of the Province that if, indeed, he intends to announce the termination of a number of ADM positions tomorrow that chief among those and the first to go will be those who are filling positions for which they are unqualified at the present time namely Mr. Beaton Tulk, Fraser Lush, Grant Chalker, as an example?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, what the Government intends to do, generally, will be announced in the Budget, and the Minister of Finance will provide, to the extent that he can, substantial detail. If there is any alteration in the executive level of the public service at the DM and ADM level, that remains my prerogative and not that of the Minister of Finance. I have no intention of having any discussion whatsoever about what is intended or not intended until the Minister delivers his Budget. And then if they are any intentions to be carried out, I will be happy to advise the House, Mr. Speaker, of specifically what will be done.

Now, with respect to the particular question of the three individuals who were named, those three individuals, those three individuals were eminently qualified individuals who were appointed -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

I would ask the Member for Burin - Placentia West to restrain himself while the Premier is giving his answer.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Those three individuals were eminently qualified individuals who were appointed to carry out these particular duties, and, Mr. Speaker, I must again advise the House that our commitment to fairness and balance is just that. We will not refrain from appointing to major positions in this Province competent people merely because they have had the good sense to support the Liberal Party in the past. We intend to take advantage of their talents and abilities for the good of the people of this Province, and we will not fall into this silly trap that the Members opposite are trying to set up that you cannot ever appoint anybody because they somehow voted Liberal or spoken in support of the Liberal Party, or participated in the Liberal Party in the past. We will appoint the best qualified people available.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Last March in his budget speech, the Minister announced the construction of a new $24 million ferry for Fogo Island with some $4 million to be spent on design work for this year. Has that design work now been completed, and will construction proceed this year as the Minister has already announced?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GILBERT: The provision that was made in last years Budget has, no doubt, been undertaken, and as for what is going to happen next year, you will have to wait until the Minister reads his speech tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fogo.

AN HON. MEMBER: Will you announce it tomorrow?

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, since it has already been announced, then can I ask the Minister when will he sign the contract with the Marystown Shipyard as he indicated in last years Budget Speech that he would do? When will that contract be signed for the actual construction of the vessel?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. Member is aware that the Capital Budget for next year will be announced tomorrow when the Minister reads his statement and at that time he will have his answer.

AN HON. MEMBER: Right on.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: My question is to the Minister of Environment and Lands. Many private companies such as soft drink companies, MacDonalds, and indeed more specific, Newfoundland Telephone, are showing considerable leadership in recycling programs. Can the Minister tell us of any plans his Department has to introduce recycling programs in Government and when is he going to show some leadership?

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Hide that behind the Budget tomorrow; wait for tomorrow (inaudible) the Minister of Finance.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will answer the last part first - when will I start showing leadership? That happened initially I think about fifty-six and a half years ago when I was six months old and I have tried to continue ever since.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Good answer.

MR. KELLAND: However, with respect to the more serious aspect-

AN HON. MEMBER: A good answer.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KELLAND: With respect to the more serious part of my colleague's question, as the House may or may not know, two years ago, prior to the present Administration taking over, the former Administration entered into an agreement with the soft drink bottling companies to impose a two-year moratorium on introducing new legislation with respect to recycling.

We have honoured that commitment with the anticipation that a review and a survey and a study of the results of the recycling operation will be done two years hence which happens to be 1991. We will be carrying out that review. In the interim and in the meantime and in fact for the past twenty odd months, we have been in consultation with all the companies, including the new companies, the local juice producer, not just for the plastic recyclables and the aluminum cans but also glass which for some reason or other the former Administration did not consider to be an environmental problem, we do consider it to be an environmental problem and we have convened a number of meetings with the agencies involved and the companies involved and in fact as early as today or as recent as today-

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)

AN HON. MEMBER: Keep going.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I do believe that the Minister is taking a rather lengthy way around the answer. Could the Minister please clue up in ten seconds? The hon. the Minister-

AN HON. MEMBER: In collusion, in collusion.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KELLAND: Mr. Speaker, yes. It is a fairly detailed answer and I apologise if I have extended my answer-

MR. SPEAKER: Please get on with the answer.

MR. KELLAND: -beyond a reasonable time. We are taking major steps in recycling. The results of the survey of the imposed moratorium and the recycling efforts imposed by the former Administration will be made know to the public as soon as possible. We are also now, currently approaching the cities to see if we cannot initiate with them and institute with them some kind of a more extensive -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave! By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In accordance with the provisions of the Financial Administration Act, I am pleased to table in the House the public accounts for the year ended March 31 1990; the accounts of Crown Corporations, Boards and Authorities for 1990; the report of the Auditor General to the House of Assembly for the fiscal year ended March 31 1990; and Departmental observations on the report to the Auditor General for the same year.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present - I think it has approximately 1,500 signatures - to the Minister of Education. It is on behalf of the constituency associated with the Marystown Elementary School. I want to say from the outset that the Minister has a carbon copy, I think, of most of these petitions, the original is what I presented today. I also want to say that the Minister of Education has given the concerned parents of Marystown Elementary School the opportunity to meet with him and to discuss their fears as it relates to the cutbacks in education. And I want to thank the Minister, Mr. Speaker, for providing the opportunity, and I must say, extending as much time as basically was necessary to listen to the concerns of the parents and teachers and school board people and everyone else. And I am grateful to the Minister on their behalf for that.

But having said that, Mr. Speaker, this petition outlines the concerns of parents, students, teachers, and school board officials in this Province as it relates to the way that this Government is handling the education system. And I do not, nor do the people in my district, and I do not think the people in the Province, Mr. Speaker, throw the full responsibility of this on the shoulders of the Minister of Education. Because those of us who have been around this Assembly now for some time realize that this Government is a one-man show, and the Minister of Education is told by the Premier what to cut back and what not to cut back. And the sad part about it, about what is taking place in the education system, is you have people like the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier who was once a President of the NTA and an educator. You have the Minister of Employment, Mr. Speaker. All of these people who can sit back, who can -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am presenting a petition on behalf of the people of my district, 1,500, Mr. Premier, 1,500 people in my district, asking you, sir, to increase the budget for education by the 12 per cent that is needed. At least 12 per cent that is needed to maintain what they had this year. By at least 12 per cent that was there to maintain what they have this year. That is what the petition is about. And we have the Member for Exploits and other members, the Member for Carbonear who is not here, who comes to this House and pretends to be great friends of the educators in this Province, Mr. Speaker, and yet they stand by a Government that is gutting the system left, right and centre, no concern or compassion for the people of this Province who want to get an education here. What are they doing, Mr. Speaker? What are they doing for the students throughout this Province? What did we see in this building last week? We saw one of the largest demonstrations ever by a group of post-secondary students because of the actions of this Government. That is what we saw.

The Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island can laugh all he likes about this - the fact of the matter is we know what he has already said about the teachers and the education system of this Province. We know what he said.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: And the Member for St. John's South can nod in agreement with the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, if he wishes, it does not bother me. But your constituents will know what you are saying. What is taking place here is action that should not be permitted and the Government should not, Mr. Speaker, let this take place.

We saw the other day where Mr. Vokey, I believe, his organization stated that it will take a 12 per cent increase in the budget for Education to maintain the status quo. Twelve per cent. So this Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker, cannot bring down a Budget tomorrow that has less than a 12 per cent increase for Education without hurting the education system in this Province. And I hope that the Minister of Education, whom I believe to be concerned about what is taking place, no doubt in my mind he is concerned, but he lacks support from the Premier, he lacks support from his Cabinet colleagues, and he lacks support, Mr. Speaker, from the backbenchers over there led by the people who profess to be supporters of the education system. They have failed terribly, Mr. Speaker, in trying to hide behind the cloak of being a friend of education.

What have they done? What has the Member for Exploits done? Show one thing that he has done since he came in this House to support the education system. Name one.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nothing.

MR. TOBIN: The Member for Carbonear, the Member for St. George's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: And now, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Fortune - Hermitage who voted against everything in the last session of the Assembly dealing with supporting education in this Province, Mr. Speaker. That is what we have seen. No wonder he is so comfortable over there, Mr. Speaker, with a group that is ready to gut the social programs of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: No wonder he is so comfortable, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I thought the Member for St. John's East was rising on a point of order, obviously not.

Mr. Speaker, I want to support the petition so ably presented by my colleague to show that there is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. POWER: - I mean the Members opposite should ask themselves a simple question. Why do we come to this House since it is being open every day with vast numbers of names of people, parents, students, and teachers who are very, very concerned about the educational process in this Province? Why did we see 800 or 1,000 people here the other day protesting from the Cabot, the Marine and the University? Why is this happening? It is not happening because of something this Opposition has done over here.

It is not just simply being alarmists. An awful lot of people are concerned about the quality of education in Newfoundland and Labrador. Last night on the news there was an instructor from the Cabot Institute saying that the anxiety caused by this administration has already affected the quality of education. It is already doing harm to teachers, and more importantly to students. Now, why is this happening? It is happening because in this Province an awful lot of people seem to know what the Liberal administration does not know, or what they very quickly forgot after they became elected, and that is that education is really the core of our society. If we do not educate our people properly, if we do not put our resources there, then how do we expect to improve society? I see the Premier on TV advertising literacy, advertising that maybe 40 per cent of Newfoundlanders cannot read or write, and we have to do something about it. I heard the Minister of Development here the other day saying there is a direct correlation between the amount of education our citizens have and how we can economically diversify and develop our Province. Now, you can have it one way or the other, but you cannot be both, Mr. Speaker. Somewhere along the way this administration has to face up to a responsibility to educate the people of this Province in a way the people deserve. The simple fact is that education is a provincial jurisdiction. It really serves no purpose for the Minister responsible for Treasury Board or the Minister of Finance to get up every day and say the Feds are cutting back, it is their fault and not ours. We do not have control of very much in this Province but one thing we do have control of is education. It is our provincial responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, this administration is losing a tremendous opportunity to do some good. When they announced the real change in 1989, and a lot of people in Newfoundland fell for it hook, line, and sinker, unfortunately, no real change has taken place except what is regressive. The last Liberal administration that did something for education in this Province was Joey Smallwood's administration back in the mid 60s when he had free tuition. When he did enable, through free tuition and salaries, a large number of Newfoundland people, including myself, to get access to a university and a post-secondary education. It was a great improvement, probably the best thing that Joey Smallwood did, the thing he will be most remembered for, with the exception, probably, of giving away Upper Churchill. With the exception of the Upper Churchill the thing he will be most remembered for will be his educational policies. This administration will also be remembered for its educational policies, Mr. Speaker, but they will be remembered in a very negative sense, for promising to do away with school tax and now having school tax increased in most parts of the Province, for promising that there is a relationship between economic development and diversification and education and doing nothing for the education side of that formula. There are a lot of people protesting in this Province and it is not all in the minds of just the eighteen members of the Opposition. It is in the minds of parents, it is in the minds of students, it is in the minds of educators. As I mentioned earlier in a little comment across the House, tomorrow the hiding will be over and this administration will either have to own up to the fact they are not going to support education advancement in this Province, or they will. Mr. Speaker, every person on this side of the House hopes that there are no cutbacks tomorrow, that you do what you said you were going to do in 1989 and give the people of this Province the quality of education they deserve.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia for his kind comments. First of all, I have read the petition and I did meet with the delegation and we had an excellent discussion. We covered all the issues and it was one of the most interesting thoughtful discussions that I have ever had on the issue of the possible fiscal restraints in education. I was pleased that the hon. Member attended as well. He did not get involved in the discussion, as he indicated he would not, but it was a good discussion.

Secondly, I do want to correct some of the misinformation, particularly from the second speaker in supporting the petition. On elementary and secondary education the increase in the amount of money from 1987-88 to 1988-89 of the former administration was 3.39 per cent. This is data I got from public accounts. There was less than a 3.5 per cent increase from 1987-88 to 1988-89.

Next year the percentage increase was 6.9 percent. The first year that this Government was in office we increased expenditure on elementary and secondary education by more than double the previous year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: And in 1990-1991 - these are facts, Mr. Speaker - in 1991 the increase was 6.4 per cent. Double the increase of the last year in which the former administration was in office, in elementary and secondary education.

Mr. Speaker, on school tax equalization. In 1986-1987 the former administration put $2 million in. The next year they put in $2.5 million. The next year, the final year they were in office, they put $4.5 million into school tax equalization. Our first year, Mr. Speaker, we increased that to $10 million -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: -and we maintained that $10 million last year. On capital they were giving the school boards, the DEC's, $20 million. We have increased it to $27 million.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

It being 3:00 p.m. and Private Member's Day, we must proceed to that particular motion. And the motion was introduced by the Member for Mount Pearl, so we call on the Member for Mount Pearl to proceed with his resolution.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The resolution revolves around the failure of this Government to properly address the economic situation in our Province and to take steps to improve the economy of our Province, and particularly to improve business opportunities and employment in our Province. The resolution makes reference, I think, to three successive Throne Speeches which have promised an economic plan for the Province. And, Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to go back and to read these, and I would like to take just a couple of moments to make some quotes from the Throne Speeches for which I refer.

Throne Speech of 1989. This is the Government's first Throne Speech, and it was delivered on May 25, a couple of months after this Government came to power. And I quote: "My Government's over-riding aim during its current mandate will be to reverse these alarming trends and provide an economy that will allow our people the opportunity to earn a good income, without having to leave the Province in the pursuit of this goal. My Government will ensure fairness, balance and equality of opportunity for all our people, in all regions of the Province." Sounds good. I like this statement. It says: "provincial governments have a responsibility to ensure that the economic climate is such that their expectations can be met.... Government will take steps to address the disparity in economic competence both between this Province and the Maritime Provinces, and between this Province and the Nation as a whole." And here is the kicker: "My Government is, at this moment, in the process of establishing an economic recovery plan." This is May 25 of 1989. "Government is, at this moment, in the process of establishing an economic recovery plan, the details of which will be announced shortly. While My Government will continue to seek advice from experienced and knowledgeable persons inside and outside the Province," and so forth. It says: "The economic recovery team will be mandated to work closely with all rural development associations to identify every potential economic opportunity" and so forth.

So here in May of 1989 Government was announcing that they were going to develop an economic plan.

Nineteen-ninety, Mr. Speaker, Throne Speech, from March 8. His Honour, in addressing the hon. House, says: "Government has proceeded to establish an Economic Recovery Commission." Good, well that is very good. In one year we established an Economic Recovery Commission. That was the great accomplishment. "Its mandate is to identify programs and other measures that will contribute to a sustained reduction in the chronically high unemployment rate in the Province."

The Commission has also been mandated to identify, develop and promote employment opportunities for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador by stimulating and fostering enterprise and economic development in all regions."

And then they go on to talk about the Economic Recover Commission and the Department of Development submitting new proposals and so forth. "The intent is to provide a single agency for all local development and business support programs." Talking about the restructuring of the Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation into a New Crown Corporation which will consolidate the existing activities of NLDC and certain functions of the Department of Development. So, that was the great plan of a year later, Mr. Speaker.

This years Throne Speech is earth shattering. First of all, the Government admits that, "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." And they admit that, "if this trend is permitted to continue, it could seriously jeopardize the ability of 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."

It goes on to say, "The 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." This is the third year we are talking about Government economic policy framework.

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

Then it says on page 5, "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." Good. "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," His Honour says. This is the third year that they have said, 'we need to develop a strategic economic plan.' Well, what was done in the 24 months intervening?

Well, they said, "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."

The one sentence that I like here, Mr. Speaker: "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 through assessment of the Province's existing tax regime and will adopt reforms appropriate to achieve that positive business climate."

Now, Mr. Speaker, these are great words in Throne Speeches. We all know that Throne Speeches essentially outline the general statement of policy of Government and the direction in which Government intends to pursue over the coming years; a general statement saying: here is the approach that we intend to take, these are the priorities of Government, and here in very general terms are the measures and the action that Government would propose to take to try to bring about these general statements of policy.

These are good words, Mr. Speaker, but they lose their meaning when you hear them year after year after year. Here are three years in a row this Government is talking about the need to have an economic plan. How long, Mr. Speaker, will we wait for such an economic plan? How long can we wait for such an economic plan, or for this Government to take some firm action to deal with the conditions that we find in this Province today, particularly as it relates to business, Mr. Speaker?

I think that hon. Ministers opposite must know, unless they are totally asleep, they must know that business climate in this Province today is at an all time low. Statistics that they have available to them, that we all have available to us, show the tremendous number of bankruptcies that have occurred in this Province. Daily in the business community we are hearing of companies that are folding up, that are closing down, that are declaring insolvency. And, of course, there is a large domino effect with that, Mr. Speaker. As one company goes bankrupt, other companies have extended credit to that company and that hurts those companies, and so it has a domino effect all the way down the line.

But perhaps even more alarming, Mr. Speaker, is that not only have we seen a large number of companies declare bankruptcy but I would suggest to you that a large percentage of the companies that are still in business are also technically bankrupt.

AN HON. MEMBER: That would not have anything to do with the seventeen years of mismanagement.

MR. WINDSOR: They are also technically bankrupt, Mr. Speaker, they are just going from day to day, and I would also say this that they are receiving very little support from the financial institutions; in fact, as I guess is to be expected, if I were a banker, Mr. Speaker, you know, then I would perhaps take the same position and if companies were having difficult times, then I would tighten up, the banks have really tightened up. I believe the President of Treasury Board knows what I am talking about.

Numerous companies have said to me, and the Minister of Development should be concerned about this, and I am being quite serious in what I am saying here, and I think the Government needs to step in here to save businesses in this Province. These are all great words about an economic plan; right now, I think we need an emergency plan.

The businesses and industries in this Province are in great danger of folding; we have seen as I have just said, the hon. Gentleman was not paying that much attention a couple minutes ago, we are seeing record numbers of bankruptcies and I am saying to you that the majority of companies that are still operating are also technically bankrupt and are just going from day to day.

But the banks have come in, Mr. Speaker, and I have had numerous companies say to me: we are reducing your operating line of credit by about 40 per cent, about 40 per cent, so the banks are pulling in, they are tightening the reins and that is - I just saw a moment ago, something here, I think it is in the Government's - this is the Economic Review of 1990-1991, produced by the Provincial Government. There was a sentence here somewhere where it said that they also were aware that banks or financial institutions have tightened up - yes, here it is: Consumer expenditures in general fell as interest rates rose and credit was tightened. In other words, the Government is aware and the statistics show that credit has indeed been tightened.

Mr. Speaker, the impact of that is, that a small company that is operating on borrowed funds and borrowed lines of credit, you know, lines of credit and borrowed operating capital, as most companies in our Province are, and I have said many times in this Chamber, at least the former Chamber, I have said many times that the biggest problem in business and industry in our Province is that companies are under capitalized and do not have their own working capital, so they are operating on borrowed money.

Businesses are basically working for the banks, and the banks now, knowing businesses are getting tight, are really tightening the reins on the money. The lines of credit have been reduced, the flexibility that companies had at a time when they needed it most has been taken away from them. You know, there is an old adage that says: When business is good you should advertise, when business is bad you must advertise. Anybody who does any promotion will remember that one, but I say when the economy is good you should invest, when the economy is weak you must invest, you must try to move forward. In fact it is a good time to do it, you can generally undertake expansion of a company, particularly as it relates to capital works, at a lower cost at a time when the economy is weak; generally your prices are down and companies are hungry to get the work and so it is an ideal time to expand.

The problem is there is, there is no money out there. Mr. Speaker, I am talking to business people every day who have tremendous ideas of how to generate business in this Province, how to create employment in this Province. They not only have good ideas they have opportunities, Mr. Speaker, the opportunities are there I say to you. In Newfoundland and Labrador today, there are numerous business opportunities waiting to be taken advantage of; businesses are not in a position to do it, they do not have the confidence in the economy yet. I read just a few moments ago, during the Question Period, I was reading this Economic Review of 1990, an outlook for 1991, produced by the Economic Research and Analysis Division of the Cabinet Secretariat under the auspices of the present Treasury Board.

It is a good document and it gives a good outlook for this year. Now contrary to public opinion out there, the general concept in the public is that this is going to be a terrible year, and I say that this Government is largely responsible for that image of this Province because of statements they have made about their own terrible financial position. I do not quite buy everything they are saying, by the way.

MR. EFFORD: You do not?

MR. WINDSOR: I do not quite buy everything they are saying. I know we have some problems, but I say to you now that they are playing the old game of let us say this is going to be a terrible Budget, everybody is going to get taxed to death, and tomorrow when the amount of taxes that come in are not as much as people expect, they will say, oh, thank God they only upped taxes by 5 per cent not 20 per cent. The old game. We will see that tomorrow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: We will see that tomorrow. I can't lose on this one. Because if I am right I have predicted it, and if I am wrong, you are in trouble any way. I simply say, Mr. Speaker, that I believe, to a large extent, the approach that has been taken by Government has been largely responsible for the bad image of the economy and of the Province generally that business has. People are afraid to invest. And I would refer them to this publication of Government which, if you read through it, shows that things do not look bad for this year - they are not great. Now let me make it very clear the only reason that they are good at all is because of Hibernia. The fishing industry will be poor. Rural Newfoundland will feel that because of quota reductions, which we spoke about here in the House yesterday, and quite properly so. But the fishing industry will be negatively impacted.

MR. HEARN: Our Hibernia.

MR. WINDSOR: That is right. `Our Hibernia', my colleague for St. Mary's - The Capes reminds me, a great Tory project. Nevertheless, I do not want to get into that. That is not what I am here to talk about today. The fact of the matter is, I heard on the radio this morning, Mr. Speaker, the Conference Board of Canada predicts that Newfoundland will experience about 2.8 per cent growth this year, far ahead of the rest of Canada; the rest of Canada is expected -

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Alberta?

MR. WINDSOR: Alberta will grow, but not by 2.8 per cent. The average in Canada will be about 1.4 per cent this year. And that is because of Hibernia, because there are going to be 3,000 or 4,000 jobs created by the Hibernia development, because of the millions of dollars of investment and the business opportunities, and that is what I am talking about. And there are business opportunities out there associated with Hibernia. I just had lunch with a businessman and we were talking about two or three opportunities that are there now which could be taken advantage of. But who has the money to do it? And the banks are not financing; they are not extending the credit; they do not have the confidence yet. Now that will change, hopefully. Hopefully, quickly.

The Budget tomorrow will have a major impact on it. And this is why this is such a great opportunity to have this debate today, the day before the Budget. I wish it was a week or ten days before the Budget. But if the Government could think about whatever actions they are planning to take, then perhaps they might redirect some of their actions, they might decide to change some of them. Because I think the Budget document tomorrow will be the key factor this year in dictating what happens to the economy of our Province and what happens to business in our Province. If the wrong signals are given tomorrow, then we could be in a terrible, terrible situation. If the right signals are given, if the right programs are initiated, right actions taken, and certain programs eliminated in order to do that, because I do not believe this Government has a lot of flexibility, and I said I do not buy everything that is being said, but I still recognize that this Government does not have a lot of flexibility and I think there is some ruthless action that has to be taken tomorrow, and it may be that certain programs have to be eliminated because we cannot afford them this year. In order to direct that funding toward economic development and to helping businesses, the first thing I say to the Minister of Development, the first program he needs and he desperately needs on an emergency basis, is either, if he can, if he or the Minister of Finance can convince the banks to continue to support business in this Province. Otherwise, he has to bring in some sort of a program to help them, because the line of credits are being cut off; they are being reduced drastically, by 40 per cent in many, many cases.

I know of a company with which I am associated that is a good company, it has been around for a long period of time, and the bank has done that to them. They have enough work ahead of them that they are looking forward to the best year - my colleague knows of another one - they have had in ten years. They can show the work on paper: here is what we are going to do this year, and the bank is cutting their line of credit by 40 per cent. Technically they are bankrupt.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why?

MR. WINDSOR: Why? Because the banks are scared. And the banks will turn tail and run chicken. The hon. the Minister of Finance was around when the banks turned chicken on the fishing industry, about ten years ago, and as a result of that this Province is now basically financing the fishing industry in this Province. Because the banks know and they knew then that Government could not afford to allow all these fish plants to close, so they said that is it, we are going to reduce your line of credit. What did the fish companies do? They came to Government and said, unless you help us, we are going to have to shut down. And what did Government do? Help them, of course. We could not have all those fish plants shut down, and that is why we have all those guarantees. So the bank is out there with millions of dollars of money loaned to fish plants with absolutely zero risk, because it is all guaranteed by the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Finance.

And the same thing with fishermen and their boats. The Province is the one that is financing this, and the banks have all that money out there with no risk whatsoever. They are guaranteed to get their money and it is wrong, I say. And they are doing it today to other businesses in this Province. But, of course, the Province is not there to support those businesses. I ask the Minister, I beg him on behalf of businesses in this Province, to call in the head office of the banks, go to Toronto and sit down in the board rooms.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Premier (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: If the Premier has met with them, I congratulate him. Go to the board rooms in Toronto and let the banks know that the Province is not prepared to accept this, and that the Province does have ways and means of dealing with banks.

I am just about out of time I think, but I want to get back at it because I am just getting into my topic. That is the message here. I am not here today to play raw, basic politics on what this Government has done with the economy. I have all next week to deal with that, when we get into the Budget.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have another twenty minutes at the end, but I thank the hon. gentleman. Maybe the Minister of Development would like to address this, because I think it is real problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the next twenty minutes, I want to take the opportunity to respond to the resolution put forward by the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl. To begin, I am surprised actually that the hon. Member is not his usual self in speaking in the House of Assembly. I do not know whether it is the flu, or whether he really does not believe in what he has put forward here. I really believe he was doing it half-heartedly, because he was not his usual exuberant self in putting his comments forward. He was very laid-back and very low-key, and that is unusual. Because I take great pleasure in sitting here in the House and listening to the hon. Member. And when he really believes strongly about something, he really gives it his 150 per cent. But today it was far below 150 per cent. In fact, it was far below 50 per cent. So I firmly believe the hon. Member was forced to put forward this resolution by his colleagues, and he really did not believe in what he was doing.

Being a former Minister of Finance, he knows full well that the steps this new Government has taken over the last three Budgets, since 1989, these drastic measures, we have had to take. Being Minister of Finance in the former administration for a number of years he certainly knows what the problems in this Province are, and to have him stand here this afternoon and blame the Newfoundland Government of the day for the bankruptcies in Newfoundland and Labrador and the domino effect that is having, that is crazy. Are we to blame for the recession across Canada? Are we to blame for the recession in the world? Well, I do not know about getting credit for something. If I am going to get credit for causing some major catastrophe in the world, it sort of makes you feel good that you have done something in the world anyway. But being blamed for what is happening across Canada and across the world is a little foolish. We do not control the economy of the world, and we certainly do not control the economy of Canada. What we are trying to do is control the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now being a former business person myself, enjoying business administration, I started off in business from square one with no debt, no liabilities, no assets or anything. From square one, zero base I started off a business. I built several businesses from that beginning, from that new beginning. And it is not difficult to do that. If you put in a few hours of work and you use a little bit of brain, you can get a decent start. But let me tell my hon. colleagues on both sides of the House of Assembly that it is a different story when you take over from a former administration which totally mismanaged the financial affairs of this Province for seventeen years - totally mismanaged it for seventeen years. Now when a new administration moves in place you have to take some drastic measures in order to deal with the mismanagement of the former administration.

Now, am I telling lies? Am I misinforming the House? Am I misleading the people of this Province in what I am about to say? Yesterday, the hon. Member from Humber East condemned the former Liberal administration, the hon. Joseph R. Smallwood, the only living Father of Confederation, for mismanagement and the political way in which he ran his government. I think the hon. Member for Ferryland made some reference to it today, knowing full well that he actually tried to run for the hon. Joseph R. Smallwood but he would not allow him. He would not allow him to run. He said, no, we want somebody else. I think he is a bit upset and a bit peeved about the fact that Mr. Smallwood would not have him in his caucus. So I can understand his dilemma when he got up today and tried to run down the former premier, Mr. Smallwood.

But let's go back to the Smallwood days. What was the debt of the Province when Smallwood finished his term in government, after approximately twenty-three years? It was approximately $800 million. Now in come the Tories, with all the great ability to administer, the great ability to change the economy of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the great ability to bring jobs to the Province, to encourage everything. Have not will be no more. How many times was it said? The only have not will be no more were the cucumbers, because they are no more. There is no question about that, Mr. Speaker.

After seventeen years of Tory mismanagement, what kind of a debt did we incur? Five point seven billion dollars. Now just imagine going down the street and asking a bank to lend you money to buy into a company, or to take over a company, which has a debt of $5.7 billion. Mr. Speaker, you would have to be totally out of your mind to even approach a bank, to think that any group of financial people in the country of Canada or in the world would start lending you money with a debt of $5.7 billion. They should say, well, you are no better than the other group. You are of the same mentality as the other group that just left. So you have to lay out some sort of a plan and some sort of a structure to, number one, build up the confidence of the financial people of the world.

Now what could we do if we did not have that debt of $5.7 billion? Let's suppose it was only $2 billion, which is all it should be. That would decrease about $3.7 billion debt. How much interest would we not be paying if we only had a debt of $2 billion?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Three hundred million!

MR. EFFORD: Approximately $300 million. Let me ask the Minister of Education a question. Mr. Minister, if you had another $300 million this year, what would you do for education in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Or what would the Minister of Health do for health care in this Province if he had the $300 million we are now paying out in interest in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Now! If we could take 50 per cent of the $108 million debt retirement and give it to the Minister of Development, gave him another $54 million, Mr. Speaker, to add to his Enterprise Newfoundland, how many more jobs would the Minister of Development be able to create in this Province? And how many businesses could he encourage with $54 million?

Now what should a government do? Should we go out and on top of a debt of $5.7 billion borrow another $400 million this year, another $500 million for capital, and increase the debt? Nobody in their right mind in the financial administration of this world would even begin to talk to a government that does not have the ability to sit down and look at the financial situation the Province is in, and look at the future and where we are going. Let's show that we have some ability to administer, that we have some intelligence to deal with the problems of the past, and we have some direction in where we are going to solve the problems in the future.

And you have to keep two things in mind: You must be financially responsible, but you must also be responsive to the needs of the people. And it is very difficult to do both those things after the way this Province was administered for seventeen years. And this is the reason why, when you sit here for thirty minutes in Question Period, the questions are very low-key. And some of the questions had to be developed by the Leader of the Opposition today as he kept asking the Premier what is going to happen to the Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers. Here we are talking about a Province which, according to the Opposition, is falling apart, and they cannot develop a strong question for Question Period. It is absolutely unbelievable. With all their knowledge of how government operates, of the debt of the Province, of what was happening over here for seventeen years, the experience of how to manage a government, they cannot put together a Question Period.

And I know why, Mr. Speaker. Because they know very well they messed up the financial situation of this Province. No question about it. And let's start giving some credit where credit is due. The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl was very low-key when he was making some strong statements - not strong statements, some statements - towards the Minister of Development and the Economic Recovery Commission, and Enterprise Newfoundland. And so he should be. Because for the first time in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador people can now go to a place in the system where they can get straightforward information and not be led around by the tips of their fingers for six or eight months, only to end up in total confusion and frustration, and tearing up business applications and going home. Now Enterprise Newfoundland, under the direction of the Minister of Development, has finally found a way to solve the problems and make it easy for people in this Province who have genuine ideas Province to develop some business structure with support. People do not need to be led. People do not need their pockets filled up with subsidies, people just need an opportunity to develop.

Have there been any jobs developed in the last two Budgets?

MR. WINDSOR: Not by the Economic Recovery Commission!

MR. EFFORD: Fifteen hundred - well, you are not listening!

MR. WINDSOR: Not a one by the Economic Recovery Commission!

MR. EFFORD: No, you are not listening.

MR. WINDSOR: Not one by the Economic Recovery Commission.

MR. EFFORD: Let me give you some figures on what has happened.

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) money out of it than out of a blank sheet.

MR. EFFORD: One thousand five hundred and thirty-five jobs.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's lies! Direct, absolute lies!

MR. EFFORD: One thousand five hundred and thirty-five jobs, Mr. Speaker, less one hundred and fifty jobs by - this is lies, this is false stuff, Mr. Speaker. That is the only thing the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl believes in, what happened out here. But when we give some concrete evidence of 1,535 jobs, he does not want to believe. Do you know why? Because, Mr. Speaker, something good is happening in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador; people are being shown and given confidence that there is a future for this Province.

MR. SIMMS: You gave away Churchill Falls!

MR. EFFORD: Continue with the debt of this Province and there will be no future. There will be no future for your children or your grandchildren. And that is what we need, Mr. Speaker, we need a future for this Province, we need some direction. And look at the polls, 66 per cent - confidence is placed back in the people of this Province. People now believe there is a future. People are not interested in the Tory philosophy. How many times did I hear my poor old father say, "Tory times are hard times"? Thank God for the common sense of these people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: We will see after tomorrow. We must say something right. Can you imagine? After all the press coverage of the Budget, of the possible cutbacks in the Budget, after all the negative things said in this Province, after all the negative things about health care and education, when the polls were done what did the polls show? Sixty-six per cent. Do you know why? Because people realize the mess the Tories created in seventeen years and they know it cannot continue - it cannot continue and it will not continue.

MR. SIMMS: We were at 60 per cent, too, in April, of 1989 (inaudible)!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I know how far they went down in 1989, and how glad we were. The people of this Province know full well that they must depend on some common sense, the common sense of this Government.

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Now my little friend down there in the corner, my little NDP - what should I call him? - my little NDP socialist, down there with all the great ideas, who brought back all the leaps and bounds of riches from Ottawa when he was up there in Ottawa for a year. We really prospered in Newfoundland and Labrador when you were up there. So you be very careful now how you approach what is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador. I will be very interested in answering and dealing with the hon. Member in Question Period some time in the year. When he gets up the courage to ask a few questions, I will enjoy answering them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, the worsening economic situation has severely affected the ability - how can anybody with any ability or any intelligence write down the `worsening economic situation'? How can it be worsening?

MR. SIMMS: How can it?

MR. EFFORD: How can it possibly be worsening? With a $5.7 billion debt, and this Government is ready to make moves in order to deal with it and have shown that over the last two years, that it is worsening? It would only worsen if we were irresponsible like the former administration. That is the only way in which it would worsen.

But you are not realizing, Mr. Speaker, that there are changes to take place. And the "three successive Speeches from the Throne have promised an economic plan for the Province and no such plan has yet been produced." Wake up and smell the roses. There is a plan in place. The plan, Mr. Speaker, is in place -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Pardon?

MS. VERGE: Tell us about single mother on social assistance.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, I will tell you. I will tell you a lot of things over the next several months. Ask me questions in Question Period and I will tell you any day. The next several months, just ask me all the questions you want to ask and you will get all your answers. But, Mr. Speaker, the successive Speeches from the Throne have promised an economic plan for the Province - and no such plan. Open your eyes. There has been a plan since 1989, a plan to deal with the massive debt that had been incurred and we took over from the former administration. That is the first thing. Can you continue to develop unless you deal with the debt load you have? That would be stupid.

You have to look at what the debt of the Province is now. Now, "and whereas the Government has shown a total lack of both economic leadership of a clear positive vision of the future." What a vision to take over. We took over a Tory vision, a Tory vision with development. Can my honourable colleagues name me some things that were developed in the last seventeen years by the Tory administration. What was developed in seventeen years?

MR. GILBERT: Sprung.

MR. EFFORD: Besides that. I am coming to that.

AN HON. MEMBER: The action group, the action group.

MR. EFFORD: The Action group, what was the Action group?

MR. GILBERT: Bob Cole.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, yes, that is the guy who announces the hockey, isn't he?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Oh, that was a good investment. That was a real good investment. Do you mean to tell me that I have to have thirty men, thirty of my hon. colleagues, after seventeen years to name some development that the Tories initiated in this Province, and nobody can give me one answer?

MR. GILBERT: That is right.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Are we saying after seventeen years the only thing we come down with is cucumber recipes?

MR. GILBERT: And Bob Cole.

MR. EFFORD: Is that the only thing that they can be proud of after seventeen years? Mr. Speaker, make no wonder you shake your head, Sir, you must shake it every time you look in the mirror. Because if I operated a business for a number of years and ended up with a total failure - nobody in this Province can tell me about one development -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: At least there is some initiative.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I would need at least another three hours to tell you about all the good things that the hon. Joseph R. Smallwood brought to this Province. I know all about anti-confederates. I know all about the time he marched on St. John's, against Confederation. I know all about the hon. Member and where you would have Newfoundland and Labrador to be today. I wonder why. I wonder why. Was it for his own personal gain or was it his interest in Newfoundland and Labrador? We all know about when you went against the flag, we all know about your thoughts towards Canada. So the hon. Member should smile. Your hon. Member should talk about Confederation and what would have taken place if you had your way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: There are about 25,000 children hungry in the Province today, Mr. Speaker, because of the former administration. But if it was up to the former Member, and we had not joined Canada, there would be a lot more than 25,00 children hungry in this Province today. The merchant in the community would be the big boss and the truck operators would be the big boss, and the poor people would be suffering. Kick people, Mr. Speaker, kick some people.

And, Mr. Speaker, I would see after another twenty-five years of Liberal government, when my young friend over there is still sitting in this House of Assembly, his hair turned silver and grey, that this Province is going to reap many, many benefits. The financial future is absolutely looking great, the education system is going to be where it should be in the Province, the Department of Development, Forestry and Agriculture is going to go ahead by leaps and bounds over the next decade. And the hon. Minister is probably now looking out for a walking stick that he will be using when, two or three decades down the road, he will be going around looking at the farmers in this Province.

Good things are going to happen, Mr. Speaker, because why? Because there is going to be some common sense put in place. Why? Because we are going to deal with the former administration's mess. Why? Because we are going to deal with the $5.7 billion debt. Why? Because we are going to deal with the misinformation that was given to the people. The main thing that is going to be done over the next term of office, before the next election, is that confidence is going to be restored to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. GILBERT: That's right.

MR. EFFORD: Confidence that business will grow, development will grow, and that is all people need: confidence in the Government that it lost with those people, Mr. Speaker, but now is restored.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it is really amazing that when it comes time to defend the Government's economic record in this House the person they put up to defend it, the lead off speaker for the Government, is the Member for Port de Grave, the Minister of Social Services.

AN HON. MEMBER: A great man.

MR. SIMMS: In his own mind. Yes, a legend in his own mind.

MR. RIDEOUT: It is like Andy Wells said last night, 'now, you speak for yourself and I will speak for me.'

Mr. Speaker, I did not interrupt the Minister while he was speaking. In fact, I sat and listened to the Minister while he was speaking, Mr. Speaker.

But when the Government wants to defend the indefensible - this Government - we noticed it in previous Sessions - the Government puts forth first the old muck rucker, the old pickle mongerer. They put forward the old night crawler, the fellow, Mr. Speaker, who got the mandate to get up and try to pump up the troops, psych up the troops - psych us up before everything breaks loose tomorrow.

Now, Mr. Speaker, a resolution on the lack of Government economic leadership: imagine putting up the Minister of Social Services to defend it. Now, I can see the Minister of Development or the Minister of Finance, or the President of Treasury Board, even some of the more enlightened members in the back bench, but the Minister of Social Services to get up and to defend the Government economic record, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, what a joke.

MR. RIDEOUT: I mean it has become so monotonous, and it has become so repetitious particularly for those of us who have been - the Member for St. John's East may find it entertaining. I do not know. This is his first few days in the House. But for those of us who have been here for the last two or three Sessions, we can almost leave and go to the common room, turn off the speaker while we are out there, and come back and repeat verbatim every word that the Minister will say in his speech.

MR. SIMMS: That is the absolute truth.

MR. RIDEOUT: I mean there is no more imagination, there is no more vision, there is no more creative ability, Mr. Speaker, in the mind of that Minister than there is in the mind of a cucumber. He will get as far as the cucumber, and he gets as far as the public debt, and then he gets right excited, Mr. Speaker, and I do not know what happens to him after that, but I mean he certainly loses any ability to keep his thoughts collected and to articulate a position. We have come to know the Minister, not only as a Minister, but as a Member in previous Houses.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to make some reference to some of the comments, the tired old comments, made by the Minister of Social Services.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Yes, that is exactly what I want to do, Mr. Speaker. I want to tell the Minister a few facts about the $5.7 billion public debt that he trots out every single time he gets to his feet. Every time, without question, that is one of the things the Minister trots out, and I want to tell him a few things about it. It is a large debt, Mr. Speaker, for a half a million people, but is there anything to show for the public debt in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. RIDEOUT: There are no schools to show for it, there are no hospitals to show for it, there are no community colleges to show for it, there is not one kilometre of pavement in the Province to show for it, there are no public buildings to show for it, there is no investment in the fishery to show for it, there is no investment in agriculture, there is no investment in the mining industry, there is no investment in anything to show for the $5.7 billion public debt, that is what they would have you believe, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: That is how all the capital expenditures were met, that is how the desks in this House were paid for, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), either.

MR. RIDEOUT: Well why didn't you stop it, why didn't you stop it?

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the ones up in the other House? They were paid for in the same way.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I do not mind others over there, but I want to say again, Mr. Speaker, for the second time, I did not interrupt the Minister when he was speaking. I did not like a lot of what he had to say, but I listened to him.

MR. EFFORD: Well that is up to yourself.

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, Mr. Speaker, that is one point I want to make on the public debt. We have a lot to show in this Province for the debt that the public owes, a lot to show, in all parts of the Province. The Minister then gets up, talking about Canada. Where was he the other day, when his two colleagues, who introduced the Throne Speech, the Member for Pleasantville and the Member for Bonavista South, were decrying and degrading what comes to Newfoundland from Canada-

MR. SIMMS: Anti-confederates.

MR. RIDEOUT: - anti-confederates if I ever heard them- they talk about the Member for St. John's East Extern. Where was the Minister of Social Services then, that he sat and listened to it. Now I want to make another couple of comments on the public debt since the Minister always wants to raise the issue of the public debt in this Province, he tied it into -

AN HON. MEMBER: Sh, sh, be quiet!

MR. RIDEOUT: - there was some rebuttal across the House - I believe he raised it himself - about the Upper Churchill contract, Mr. Speaker. He made the accusation that when we came to office, or this Party came to office, the public debt was about $800 million or so and that now it is $5.7 billion. Well if the Minister wants to continue to live in the past, Mr. Speaker, if he wants to continue to live in the past, the figure shows that Newfoundland is losing about $800 million a year on that infamous Upper Churchill contract-

MR. SIMMS: That is right, a year.

MR. RIDEOUT: - a year, and if you want to multiply $800 million a year by seventeen years of Tory Government, we lost over $13 billion dollars to the taxpayers of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, let me ask the Minister of Education a question as the Minister of Social Services did. If, Sir, you were a Minister in a government today that had not given away the equivalent of $13.6 billion in public revenue, who therefore would have no public debt, what would you do for Education in Newfoundland and Labrador today; what would previous Governments over the last seventeen years have been able to do for Education and Health and Social Services and every other public service that the people - if you want to live in the past, if you want to be a past mongerer, then you will have to consider it all, Mr. Speaker, you have to consider it all, you cannot just get up and make that kind of foolish, nonsense statement without considering what other Governments have done to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Just relax, just relax, just relax, just relax.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, you see. You beat them into the ground on the public debt, you give them a smack in the chops on what that crowd gave away when they were last in power on an economic contract, you beat them on the side of the chops and the next thing: The Atlantic Accord. Would you like to talk about the Atlantic Accord?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Talk about a retreat.

MR. RIDEOUT: You talk about the mother of retreats, Mr. Speaker. You talk about the mother of retreats.

AN HON. MEMBER: Old Saddam himself.

MR. SIMMS: Old Saddam Efford.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I suppose there are no water or sewer assets in this Province to account for some of the public debt. I suppose there is none of that.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is none any more.

MR. RIDEOUT: I mean there are $5.6 billion in public debt in Newfoundland and there is not one iota to show for it, that is what the Minister is saying.

MR. EFFORD: Tell us about the Atlantic Accord.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, when the Minister wants to have a debate on the Atlantic Accord, introduce a resolution.

MR. EFFORD: Ah, ha, chicken!

MR. RIDEOUT: Chicken my eyeball. Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic Accord gave that hon. crowd the right to be at the table to negotiate a deal - the final deal for Newfoundland and Labrador. Without the Atlantic Accord you would not even have had your pencil at the table, Mr. Speaker, that is what the Atlantic Accord gave this Province. And if you did not negotiate the best possible deal for Newfoundland and Labrador, then that hangs on your head because you had the Constitutional legislative authority to do so, because of the Atlantic Accord.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. RIDEOUT: That is what it gave you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: You did not even want us to have control of our resources. Clyde fought it like hell.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister in debating an economic resolution, which he did not touch on at all, he said: make some reference to the second WHEREAS, and he said:

WHEREAS this worsening economic situation, and he made great fun of 'worsening economic situation.'

MR. SIMMS: It is not worsening, he said.

MR. RIDEOUT: It is not worsening, he said. What are they talking about? What kind of foolishness is coming from the Member who introduced the resolution.

MR. SIMMS: What world do you live in?

MR. RIDEOUT: But, Mr. Speaker, where has the hon. Minister been for the last twelve months? If we are not in a worsening economic situation, where has he been? It is only twelve months ago -

MR. SIMMS: He talks about the future.

MR. RIDEOUT: - that the Government of which the Minister is a part, his colleague the Minister of Finance, introduced a Budget to this House telling all of Newfoundland and Labrador that we were going to run a modest $10 million surplus on current account this year. That was twelve months ago. By September, Mr. Speaker, the Premier and the Minister of Finance had redone the figures, and said no, no no, we were totally wrong. We are now running $120 million deficit. Now that was a change, Mr. Speaker, of $130 million, do not forget.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: He cannot take it.

MR. RIDEOUT: Do not forget that was a change of $130 million. You lost your $10 million surplus, you are now running a $120 million deficit, so that is a difference of $130 million. That was in September. As we got into the first part of 1991, there were indications from the Premier and the President of Treasury Board that if nothing was done that surplus of $10 million would now be a $200 million deficit on current account.

MR. SIMMS: The arse was gone out of it, he said.

MR. RIDEOUT: I could not care less. I would just as soon look at the Minister's back as look at his face.

Mr. Speaker, then lo and behold, last week, -

MR. SIMMS: That is the best part of him.

MR. RIDEOUT: - in the final weeks of this present fiscal year -

MR. SIMMS: He cannot take the heat.

MR. RIDEOUT: - for which a $10 million surplus was projected, the final weeks, the President of Treasury Board said, no, no, no, it is not a $10 million surplus anymore, it is not a $120 million deficit anymore, it is not a $200 million deficit anymore, but it is a minimum, if we do nothing, of $215 million deficit, which means that having lost the $10 million surplus, it is actually a total change of $225 million. That is what it means, and the Minister of Social Services has the gall to get on his feet and try to hoodwink people into believing that our economic situation is not worsening, right?

MR. SIMMS: How stunned is he at all!

MR. RIDEOUT: If you do not want to take any other indicator, take the indicator of the Government's budgetary deficit.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Your own Premier, your own Minister.

MR. RIDEOUT: The Minister said: we have moved to solve all the economic ills of this Province by establishing the ERC, the Economic Recovery Commission.

MR. SIMMS: Ask Walter Noel about that.

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, Mr. Speaker, the Premier last Thursday made reference to the ERC and he also made reference to the SEP, which is another animal, another creature which has crept into -

MR. SIMMS: What is that?

MR. RIDEOUT: It is almost like collateral damage and some of that stuff that we have all picked up over the last few days, a few months.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: The Premier now is talking about SEP, not the ERC, but SEP -

MR. SIMMS: And E and L, Enterprise -

MR. RIDEOUT: And ENL, the Strategic Economic Plan now, the SEP.

MR. SIMMS: SEP.

MR. RIDEOUT: And the Minister said the plan was in place. The plan was up and running. The plan was the ERC.

Well listen to what his boss had to say last Thursday. I do not know, was the Minister here last Thursday for the Throne Speech?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no.

MR. SIMMS: No, I think he missed it all, I believe. He was down in Florida no doubt.

MR. RIDEOUT: Listen to what his boss had to say. In the motion to set up a Committee to draft an Address in Reply, he said: If you think in terms of corporations and the way they operate, a strategic economic plan, that is the SEP, that is what we are in the process of developing for this Province - process of developing. This is what he went on to say, this is what his boss went on to say. A group of officials of the Government started last September, when the Throne Speech of May of 1989 said it would be ready to be announced shortly, was the word in the Throne Speech of 1989. The Premier admitted in this House last Thursday that officials only started last September, a year gone by. Anyway, he went on to say a group of officials of the Government started last September to work on the detail of this. The Minister says it is in place. They have produced so far a couple of drafts of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, is there anything in Beauchesne that you could use to cut off the hon. gentleman?

MR. SIMMS: Put a sock in his mouth.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: He says, we have advice from outside groups and very shortly - now it is shortly again. On the 25th of May 1989 it was going to be produced shortly, and now two years later the Premier uses the same word - shortly we will be able to submit it for public scrutiny and public comment. 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. And the Minister of Social Services gets up here today trying to defend the lack of economic leadership by Government and says it is all done. My, oh my, Mr. Speaker, where has the Minister been? Where has he been? What hole has he had his head dug into? It is unbelievable! And that is what the Government puts up to defend its economic performance. Every time there is a resolution on economic matters, up jumps the Minister of Social Services to lead off for the Government. There is no worsening situation in the Province, he says. He says the economic plan is in place.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Tory days.

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, Mr. Speaker, we have dealt with the Tory days. He switched again. We have dealt with the public debt. We have dealt with the Atlantic Accord. What does the Minister want to deal with next? Does he want to talk about chocolate bar factories? Does he want to talk about hockey stick factories? Does he want to talk about rubber boot factories? Does he want to talk about sheep on the Southside Hills of St. John's? Does he want to talk about the Flying L Ranch down on the Burin Peninsula? Does he want to talk about seal organs for South Korea? What does he want to talk about? Everything the Minister wanted to talk about and threw out today has been flung back at him, Mr. Speaker, with the intensity of a cruise missile.

MR. SIMMS: Right on! Right on!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: SCUD. SCUD.

MR. RIDEOUT: A SCUD attack. Now we know the Minister has a hide like anything, and we know he has a face like a robber's horse when it comes to taking it, but perhaps he should scud on while he still has some of his hide left.

MR. SIMMS: Retreat. The mother of retreat. Get out!

MR. RIDEOUT: The mother of retreat. I am sure some other Minister speaking on behalf of the Government shortly will make some sense, but the lead-off speaker for the Government has not made one iota of contribution to this debate at all. In fact, Mr. Speaker, anybody at all - all you had to do was just listen to the Minister and count them off one by one as he got up. The Minister of Social Services, Mr. Speaker, in saying that the economy was getting better in Newfoundland and Labrador, when he said things were not worsening -

MR. EFFORD: (inaudible) Economic Council of Canada.

MR. RIDEOUT: Here she goes again.

MR. SIMMS: What is the next thing?

MR. RIDEOUT: And what did the Economic Council of Canada say? If it had not been for the Hibernia agreement, there would not be enough activity down here to put a patch on many of us, Mr. Speaker. But the Minister, in trying to convince the House that everything was rosy and there was nothing wrong with the economy in the Province, did not say that in May 1989, when this Government came into office, the unemployment rate in the Province was 15.8 per cent and that one year later, in May 1990, it was 18.8 per cent. He did not say that, did he? Is that a sign of an improving economy? Is that a sign of an economy that is getting better? He did not say that in January 1989 the unemployment rate in the Province was 17 per cent and by January of 1991 it was 18.7 per cent. Did the Minister say any of that, Mr. Speaker? No. He got up and he tried to defend a two year economic malaise in this Province by talking about seventeen years ago, twenty-three years ago, and forty years ago, going back to before Confederation. That is what he had to do. Now, for God sake, Mr. Speaker, I know my time is up, but for heaven's sake will the Government try to do something better? Will the Government put up a Minister who has some idea of what it is the Government has in store to restore economic confidence in the entrepreneur in Newfoundland and Labrador? Don't put up that old fluff anymore, don't put up that old political yesterday's news anymore, put up somebody with some vision, some intuition, some innovation, who has some ideas to uplift the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. That is the responsibility of the government, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure for me to rise and speak in this debate. It will be a pleasure for me over the next 20 minutes to outline what the causes of our economic situation are here today, and I would like to illustrate what the reality is in Eagle River. I would like to also spend a few minutes talking about the future economic situation in this Province and also in my district.

Mr. Speaker, when I listen to all of the rhetoric that has been coming from the other side, over the last 20 minutes in particular, I cannot help but think that for some unknown reason, while this House has been in recess, there has been some kind of amnesia take place within the Leader of the Opposition, some kind of gross amnesia.

AN HON. MEMBER: Selective.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, selective I would certainly think, because as we talk about the economic situation, Mr. Speaker, surely we cannot forget the man who said, `I am not afraid to inflict prosperity on Newfoundland and Labrador'; surely we cannot forget Brian Mulroney and his Tories in Ottawa; surely we cannot forget the man who brought in the last Budget and took nine months to develop the word depression, who took nine months to say recession, who took nine months, and after six years, Mr. Speaker, of the economic policies of the Federal Tory Government, put us in the worst situation we have been in since the 1930's. Surely he cannot forget the interest rate policy that this present Government in Ottawa is perpetrating on this country. Surely he cannot forget the cap on the equalization program that has been put in place. Surely, Mr. Speaker, he cannot forget that after the last six years of economic growth in this country, after the six most prosperous years that we have seen, we have now come to the point where we are taking 33 per cent of our product to pay the interest on the debt. Surely he cannot be forgetting that.

And, Mr. Speaker, as another great demonstration of their economic strategy and their ability to stimulate the economy, they came up with the GST. Surely, Mr. Speaker, he is not forgetting the GST and how it stimulated the economy. I can just see it as the GST was announced in Ottawa: the people were opening up new stores, they were hiring new people and they were saying to the rest of the country, `what a policy! What a policy to stimulate the economic growth of this country, this GST.'

Mr. Speaker, surely he cannot stand up there and forget what it caused the inflation rate within three weeks after it was put in place. Surely he cannot forget what it has done to the unemployment roles. I mean, these things, Mr. Speaker, have to be understood. Our economic situation, unfortunately, is tied directly to the policies of the Federal Government. And is he obviously forgetting that last year when we brought down our Budget we were not told that you can no longer expect this kind of treatment from Ottawa, we were not told that you cannot expect the same money that you have been getting for years and years for education and health? Surely he is not forgetting that. At the end of last year we were looking at $90 million less from Ottawa than we had had the previous year. And they have the audacity, Mr. Speaker, to come in here and stand up and blame this on this present Administration.

This Administration was elected with a program of real change. This Administration came in with a plan to look at the problem and deal with the problem. They said to the people of this Province, we are not going to be fuzzy, we are not going to go and hide our heads in the sand and just let the economy of this Province fall down around our ears, we are going to put in place a plan that will see the economic recovery of this Province. And, certainly, from my point of view, I have had the experience of working with this Government for the people of Eagle River.

Now when this Government came into office in 1989 we saw, Mr. Speaker, a number of things happening on the Coast of Labrador. We saw our inshore fishery being depleted, we saw a number of our plants having to close down, and we saw a number of our people, as a matter of fact, over the last three years hundreds of our people, having to go and get any kind of work just to qualify for unemployment insurance.

But what did this Government do? Did this Government say to the people of Eagle River we are going to forget you, we are going to dismiss any possibilities for economic development, we are going to say to you that you have no future? Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. This Government took the initiative and it went out there and dealt with the problem. And that is why we have been happy to announce on a number of occasions different projects of a very meaningful nature for the people of Labrador and for the economy of this particular district.

That is why we were happy to be able to look at diversifying our economy and diversifying within the fishery. And that is why when the Minister of Development rose here last year, in December, and announced that the Department of Development was sponsoring a $1.4 million investment into the shrimp plant in L'anse-au-Loup for the creation of seventy jobs, Mr. Speaker, that was the commitment, that was the kind of policy, the kind of planning and the kind of progress that we have been able to illustrate just for that one community alone.

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to historical development, historical development is a form of being able to diversify your economy and gather tourist dollars from all over this country and, indeed, the United States. When it came to trying to diversify in the Labrador Straits, again, Mr. Speaker, this Province was quick to come out and support the Historical Development Corporation and see that some new dollars, to the tune of $600,000, was put into play so that we could get the kind of meaningful jobs from our tourism industry that we obviously very much need. That is another example of the kind of concrete planning, the kind of demonstrated initiative that can take place and has taken place in this district.

Mr. Speaker, when we looked at Cartwright, another community that lost an American base a number of years ago, it did not have much hope. It had very high unemployment, and a lot of social and economic problems. When this Government came to power, did it look at Cartwright and say you have no future? Did it look to the 900 people in that community and say forget it, move away, you have no future? No, Mr. Speaker, our Minister of Fisheries said we are going to develop a crab plant in the community of Cartwright, and we are going to put 125 new jobs into that community. That is the kind of initiative, that is the kind of commitment this Government is giving the people of Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: These are not pie-in-the-sky ideas, Mr. Speaker. This is acknowledging reality, this is addressing the problems, bearing in mind our resources we have at our disposal. This is the kind of mentality that has pervaded this administration, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure that over the next couple of years we will again see this kind of demonstrated initiative and certainly greater economic prosperity for the people in my riding.

Now, Mr. Speaker, another initiative that cannot go unnoticed, and I am sure it is one that Members opposite will not raise and promote, because they are not promoters, they are not acknowledgers of progress, they are not acknowledgers of any great initiatives that can take place because of their political persuasion and their, I guess, total preoccupation with partisan politics. But, Mr. Speaker, one of the newest most innovative, most progressive things this Government has done since we came into office was to put in place Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador.

Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, is the most exciting initiative that any Government has put in place in this Province since 1949. You talk to the business community, you go out and talk to the small business person or the entrepreneur who is looking around and saying, where are the alternatives? Where are the ideas? Where is the Government that is going to help me do something? I know, Mr. Speaker, from working with a number of people in my district what I can say to them. For once a Government has taken the initiative to put all economic development programs under one roof so we do not have people running all over the place. We do not have programs that are set up in a square box, and if they do not happen to fit into a rural community you have to be dismissed. This is the kind of initiative, Mr. Speaker, that has turned out hundreds of applications for new ideas, for new jobs since this Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador opened in the last number of weeks.

I point to the Labrador region. They have received twenty-nine applications, Mr. Speaker, in the last five weeks, twenty-nine applications which are going to determine a meaningful and progressive exercise in employment creation on the coast of Labrador. We now have $171,000 spent in Eagle River, and also throughout the four other ridings in Labrador, and we have seen eight new jobs created and twenty additional jobs have been maintained. That is the kind of small but very, very beneficial exercises that are taking place all over this Island.

We look at the western region, in Corner Brook. We have seen 175 enquiries made up to this point in time. We have seen up to sixty projects worked on, and now there is $900,000 of new money into that economy which has created 131 permanent jobs and possibly the same number in seasonal opportunity. I mean, that is fact, Mr. Speaker. That is not pie in the sky, Mr. Speaker, that is not rhetoric, that is fact.

Mr. Speaker, for the first time ever we have seen a Government that is committed to rural Newfoundland and Labrador and giving the local people an opportunity to decide on their future; giving the local committees a chance to be able to say to this person in the local community, You have a good idea? Well, welcome aboard. We are going to design a program for you. We are going to see that it works. We are going to continue to support you after you have been off the ground and after you have been working. That is the kind of initiative this Government has been taking, and that is the kind of commitment that was unheard of before - unheard of, Mr. Speaker. It was a total centralist Government that was there for the last 17 years, and now we see this breath of fresh air through Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation.

In the Gander region, Mr. Speaker, we have seen 250 initial contracts so far being applied in that area, and we have seen twelve of them materialize to $212,000 of new investment. Mr. Speaker, we go through different regions of Newfoundland. In Clarenville, 145 applications in the last five weeks, with forty-five more applications in progress. We have seen this kind of response that is spontaneous coming back from the people of Newfoundland in response to the one light, the one hope that has been generated, certainly from the Department of Development since its inception in this particular Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what can we hope for in the future? We can hope for, Mr. Speaker, and I know that the people are responding to good responsible Government, good responsible Government that is acknowledging that we have the problem, that is acknowledging that we have to deal with it in a concerted and constructive fashion, but we have to deal with it with programs that can fit the need. You are going to see, Mr. Speaker, over these coming months, as you have seen up to this point in time, a renewed effort on the Lower Churchill and it is interesting that the Leader of the Opposition made such fanfare of the deal that was made on the Upper Churchill.

Of course nobody disputes the fact that the agreement was made, nobody disputes that at all, and nobody disputes what it would mean to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador if it had been in place the way we would have all liked it to be. I imagine if any Member of this House had the opportunity to roll back time that they would indeed put their lives in different order.

But, Mr. Speaker, I mean, in this particular area, let us make sure again that we do not put facts out there that will mislead people. Let us make sure again that we have pin-pointed exactly where the stooges were when they rose in this House. The Mr. Ottenheimer; I do not know who he is, I suppose he is a Member of the House, representing some riding in St. John's, I would not want to say that he is of any political persuasion but he was proud to stand up in the House of Assembly and support the Churchill deal, and here was the Minister of Energy of the day, a Mr. John C. Crosbie, I do recall, who proudly signed the Churchill deal and said what a glorious day for Newfoundland and Labrador-

MR. DUMARESQUE: - what a great day for Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now they want him for a leader.

MR. DUMARESQUE: - I am proud that I am able to, he said, I am proud to be able to signature this document he said, because it is the best day for Newfoundland and Labrador to this point in time, and of course, I cannot overlook the fact that now the Members opposite and Mr. Rideout, now the Leader of the Opposition, who has had to vacate his position, I cannot help but see the scurry, the scurry of the Tories to Mr. Crosbie. Please come back, he said, please come back and save us, the same man who was there to sign that deal-

AN HON. MEMBER: He lauded Churchill Falls.

MR. DUMARESQUE: The greatest lauder of Churchill Falls that we saw in the House of Assembly at that time, and of course, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition himself, certainly proud to display the Liberal banner when it was opportune for him. You know, when times got tough he was quick to scurry -

AN HON. MEMBER: And your buddy from Labrador.

MR. DUMARESQUE: - and my buddy from Labrador, well I can tell you. He will never feel proud again to carry the Liberal banner in this Province, I can tell you that. He has made his turn and certainly that was an ironic twist of fate I must say. He has settled back I think over there in the toilet and he (inaudible) that marble toilet, I believe he was there for about two or three weeks and all of a sudden something happened; something happened on April 20, 1989 and bang, what an awakening-

AN HON. MEMBER: The water was shut off, Danny.

MR. DUMARESQUE: - the water was shut off, the power was down, the people said: No way Joe, no way. You have got to go back and be certainly trained again with a new-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) toilet trained.

MR. DUMARESQUE: The royal flush had taken place, Mr. Speaker, seventeen years of Tory Government gone out the back door. Seventeen years and they said: goodbye, good riddance, and, Mr. Speaker, how can you judge if the people have made the right decision?

AN HON. MEMBER: They have not got a chance.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Well, from time to time, I guess you will have to look at public opinion. You will have to look at what the people are saying when you ask them; you will have to ask them. Obviously, Mr. Speaker, you will have to gauge that through that kind of an academic exercise and what are we seeing, what are we seeing, what are we seeing those days?

The latest public opinion polls show, I believe, I believe -

AN HON. MEMBER: What is it?

MR. DUMARESQUE: - I believe that there is a bit of an up swing for the Liberal Party, I believe that in this latest poll we have seen the people say, since we got elected, that they have approved of us in such fashion that we are now prepared to endorse you to the tune of 63 per cent.

Now then I know in order for that to happen there had to be some dislocation on the other side of this equation. Now I know the Tories opposite were in place there and they came in, I think it was 48 per cent of the vote at that time, some nineteen months ago, nineteen or twenty months ago. I think it was 48 per cent.

Well, I mean, nobody minds a bit of sway here and there, of the one or two party faithful. But it is not a sway, Mr. Speaker, that the whole tree is broken off, the whole thing is down. They are down now equal to the GST. They are down there now, Mr. Speaker, where the lone Member of the New Democratic Party is getting more popularity than the whole P.C. Party, the great institution. Down now, Mr. Speaker, down and out, the count is on. They are not going to get anybody to run for the leadership. It is not going to be a very nice day at all when Mr. Rideout has to be acclaimed again and pushed up on the platform, Mr. Speaker, and say you have to take it Tom. You will have to take it because you definitely have to put in more than what you have put in up to this point, and you will have to take it back again.

Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province have said in no uncertain terms we believe that when we made the decision three years ago, we made it for the right reasons. We know now that these reasons were solid. We are committed to supporting you in the future for years and years to come, Mr. Speaker. And if the Member for Mount Pearl like he says, there is no plan in place, well I can tell you if there is no plan in place, at 63 per cent, then get down behind your desk when the real one comes in, Mr. Speaker, because you are not going to be able to stand up to it. We have seen, Mr. Speaker, hundreds of new jobs created; 4,000 new jobs created of a permanent full time nature, Mr. Speaker. That is the kind of commitment. That is planning.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: So, Mr. Speaker, in closing I would to say that we cannot, I certainly cannot on this side support such a frivolous ill-founded and totally misleading resolution by the Member for Mount Pearl. We have to stand up, Mr. Speaker, and make sure that the facts are bared because, Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day that is what we will be judged on, and I certainly hope that some members opposite will be there in three or four years when we come back to show you exactly the number of jobs and the commitment that we will make on a daily basis to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. MURPHY: Hear, hear! The first leader and Premier from Labrador. You will live long enough too.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, when my colleague introduced this motion, I think it was last week, I sat here and said this is a very serious resolution. There is no doubt about that concerning the economic situation of the Province. To me today in debate I thought it was going to be a very serious debate on the situation of the Province today pertaining to the economic situation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, with the exception of the two Members on this side of the House, and with all due respect to the two Members that have spoken on the other side, I did not see that coming from the Government side of this House today. There is nothing serious about it. It is taken as something funny. You talk to the average Newfoundlander and Labradorian today, Mr. Speaker, and they do not consider it funny believe you me, and they certainly will not think it is funny after tomorrow I can assure you if they do today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WOODFORD: The hon. member and others are always talking about the polls. I hope they do concentrate on the polls. I hope they keep looking at that 63 per cent, day in and day out for the next couple of years, or the next twelve to fourteen months until the Premier calls an election. That is where I hope personally and individually, and as an Opposition Member they keep their sights on that 63 per cent. And you would not mind them going up a few points even, as long as they stay there looking at that. Because while they are doing that, Mr. Speaker, everything else is going down the tubes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: While they wallow in the glory of high polls and in the demise of the so-called PC Party in the Province and so on -

AN HON. MEMBER: Clarenville.

MR. WOODFORD: Never mind Clarenville and the St. John's Easts of the world, when the day of reckoning comes, when the election is called, the P.C. Party in this Province will answer the call I am sure.

And, Mr. Speaker, when the hon. Members opposite talk about economic development, I cannot help, but I have to mention it right up front, about the Economic Recovery Commission of the Province and the so-called Enterprise Newfoundland. Now, I sat in this House last Fall when the legislation for Enterprise Newfoundland was introduced and I gave it the benefit of the doubt at that time. I spoke on it and I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and hoped that it would work. In fact, if I am not mistaken, every Member on this side of the House who spoke on it said the same thing. They followed it up with regards to the Economic Recovery Commission, where it would end up because of the monies being expended on it and so on, but down deep, they even said it verbally, said it here in the House, and they are on record as saying it, that for the good of the Province we hoped it would work. But today, Mr. Speaker, I just cannot help, when I hear about how good it is and all this, and again today about taking the Cabinet from twenty-two or twenty-three down to fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, or what have you, do Members opposite realize that today Enterprise Newfoundland alone has 170 employees averaging somewhere in the vicinity of $40,000 a year? Will hon. Members just think for a minute and get their calculators out and see what that means in one year? In one year approximately $6.8 million in wages. I am only averaging at forty. I said I would just go medium with it, or I may be a little low. I would say I may be a little low, but taking that into consideration, 170 employees, well round it off at approximately $7 million a year. That is just on salaries. It is just like everything else. When I look at some of the information that was afforded to the Leader of the Opposition by the Minister pertaining to Enterprise Newfoundland and the amount of grants that were given out, and the amount of loans that were expended over the last, well I suppose to date, I would say, and I would like to compliment the Minister at this time for at least giving it to the Leader of the Opposition. It shows that at least he is trying to be up-front about it. I want to say this today, that if it was totally in the hands of the Minister opposite I would say you would probably see some more results out of Enterprise Newfoundland and the Economic Recovery Commission than you do as it is today. I am serious about that.

MR. SIMMS: His hands are tied.

MR. WOODFORD: As far as I am concerned his hands are tied and if they are not I am sure we will see some results out of the Economic Recovery Commission and Enterprise Newfoundland. The other thing I would like to mention at this time, based on the results the Minister gave to the Leader of the Opposition - I thought I had them here but apparently I do not - on the total loans and grants that were given out I never saw one, not one loan, whether it be term, whether it be grant, whether it be anything else, not one, and I hope it is not the case, I certainly hope it is not the case, but not one of those loans or grants were in a Tory district in this Province, not one. It is in writing. It is on our desk.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WOODFORD: For the life of me, Mr. Speaker, I would not want to see that. It is carried on with regards to appointments. You cannot deny that, but I hope it does not get down to where you start awarding loans to individuals in this Province. Enterprise Newfoundland and ERC that this administration was banking so much on: under the Rural Development Authority that was instituted under this administration, the previous administration, and the help it could give to small enterprise in this Province, small business in this Province, three percentage points below prime, I mentioned it to the Minister last year when we were introducing the bill on Enterprise Newfoundland, would that carry on, and he insinuated that it would. Now to date I have not seen that. I have seen interest rates anywhere from 10.6 to 16.8.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, if it is in place and regionalized I would like to see some examples of anybody who is getting small loans for small business in this Province at 3 percentage points, 2 or 1, under prime. I have not seen it. I saw one the other day. A small businessman in this Province, who has a business started, had monies put into it by other government Departments previous to this, and was now offered a small loan from Enterprise Newfoundland for 16.8 per cent.

Now that small businessman, or any small business person in this Province, cannot survive on 16.8 per cent, when you look at the banks today, down around probably 10.5 per cent at prime or 11 per cent at prime. It just can't happen.

Now, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, I have not got the copy of it. I am not going to argue with the Minister. I only saw the copy that was sent over to the Leader of the Opposition. But in any case my point, and it should be taken by Members opposite, especially the backbenchers, who think because he is their Premier and Ministers are up every day talking about Enterprise Newfoundland and the Economic Recovery Commission, just keep an eye on what is going to happen to ERC and Enterprise Newfoundland, and what they are doing for small business in this Province.

The hon. Member for Port de Grave gets up and talks about the cucumber and pickle recipes. Well, the only recipe that I see since this administration took power some twenty or twenty-one months ago is a recipe for bankruptcy in this Province. And it is exactly what is happening to this Province and small business people, and big business people in this Province, is a recipe for bankruptcy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: You cannot treat small business people in this Province - and that is one of the things that is going to have to be addressed by Enterprise Newfoundland. You just cannot treat the small business person this way, especially today. Any other time you probably might have gotten away with it. But not today under the circumstances. There are some good ideas out there, there are some good applications in, but they regionalized Enterprise Newfoundland so the decision making could take part right in the region. They allocated I think it is up to $100,000, $150,000 per region, so the decision could be made in the region pertaining to -I do not know if it is loans up to I think $150,000.

To date, Mr. Speaker, in my area at least, that's not coming across if the thing is happening. Applications are taking very, very long to look at and to investigate. And in conjunction with the ACOA programme, only for the ACOA programme, the stacking that is involved between Enterprise Newfoundland and ACOA and now even into community futures, that a lot of applicants are waiting far, far too long for answers to their applications that they got in to Enterprise Newfoundland. Far too long.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, yes I know - well, I know of at least three that had it in there for some time and they should have had answers by now and did not. And that type of thing I do not think should be tolerated.

But Enterprise Newfoundland and the Economic Recovery Commission - Mr. Speaker, something that the Minister just confirmed now with me this evening. I mentioned that the salaries for the Economic Recovery Commission and Enterprise Newfoundland would somewhere be in the vicinity of $7 million per year. But that is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: It is more than that. So you just imagine now, over three of four years, what it is going to cost. Now if the jobs are created, no problem. I have absolutely no problem with it. But there are some fairly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, but there are some fairly heavy salaries that are being paid to the Economic Recovery Commission and Enterprise Newfoundland.

But, Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition has already said, we are always talking about the past. I would like Members opposite to get up and start talking about the present and the future and leave the past alone. We all have a tendency to dwell on that, and it gets us nowhere. But the things mentioned today pertaining to Churchill Falls and some other enterprises that have been started in this Province, some were failures and some successes.

Mr. Speaker, it is very hard to sit here and hear gentlemen opposite, like the one for Port de Grave, talking day after day about the Sprungs of the world when we have such catastrophes, as far as I am concerned, and disasters, like the Churchill Falls deal of many years ago. And you cannot help but talk about the $800 million that is gone per annum from that operation, and you can break it right down to something like $2.4 million a day.

This Province last year got $21 million out of Churchill Falls. That is what Newfoundland Hydro got - $21 million. That is what they got, and Hydro Quebec got $800 million. And do you tell me they have the nerve and the gall to stand up and talk about Sprung? That is not bad. That is not bad, Mr. Speaker. If we can go on after 17 years of Tory rule in this Province and all the 31 or 32 Members can get up and talk about is one supposed failure totalling $21 million, that is not a bad record, Mr. Speaker. That is not a bad record.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Good point.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, they talk about the jobs which have been created - the 1,500 jobs. We will take the 1,500 jobs which have been created and we will say it is true. What about the 13,000 people who have left this Province, gone out of this Province and gone somewhere else in Canada to try to make a living or to get their so-called stamps and come back? Where are those 13,000? Up to last November approximately 11,800 left this Province for somewhere else in Canada. It is no trouble for the unemployment rate to stay down when you have 10 per cent of the population leaving, or 5 per cent leaving - to go back to a campaign promise to bring every Newfoundlander and Labradorian home in a very short time.

MR. SIMMS: Bring home every mother's son.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I wish time and time again that someone could find that lady. I often wonder if we should put on some kind of a search, got the RNC and the RCMP to try and find that lady who was kissing the Premier's feet. I thought it was Easter week when I saw it. If we could find her and bring her back today and let her get up before you and testify about the last twenty-one months, I am sure she would have a different tune, Mr. Speaker. I will guarantee you that. I would love to get her on television.

And one other thing, Mr. Speaker, I cannot let go - the Minister is not here now. Last year we brought in a couple of Bills. One, Bill 40, we brought in concerning fines in this Province, I cannot help but mention it. It was so nice at that time. We were going to have an increase in some fines and so on and so forth with regard to speeding tickets. What is the Department of Transportation doing today with the trucking industry in this Province? Mr. Speaker, if what the inspectors on the weigh scales in this Province are doing today keeps on, within three or four months the trucking industry in this Province will be gone, it will be history.

The paper mills in this Province have to have big trucks carrying the wood to the mill in Grand Falls, Corner Brook and Stephenville. What do they do, Mr. Speaker, those people who have been hauling for years? They know their limits. Some of them, yes, they will admit, try to get through late at night with an extra bit of wood on to try and make an extra buck, but what are they doing down here at the weigh scales in Deer Lake or Corner Brook? They took a truck in and said to the driver, `I am sorry, Sir, but you are off on the left axel.' One axel! And I have documented proof of this. And the Minister and backbenchers should heed this. I know that Members Opposite have been contacted on this same thing, too much weight on one axel. In a particular truck there was a log loader. Everyone knows what that is. You can put that anywhere in the back of a truck like that and it has to swivel. He said, Okay, Sir, I will move my log loader to the middle. Oh, no, it is too late for that now - a $300 fine. Now, Mr. Speaker, that cannot go on.

Let the truckers come into St. John's - one went out with a load of beer on the other day and at the weigh scales outside St. John's it was discovered he had a headlight gone - cracked. The inspector told him to pull his truck off the weigh scales, off to the side and call a garage in St. John's to come out and put his headlight in. Another one: a trucker came out, they inspected his truck and he had a spring gone in the front. He was told, Pull your truck over to the side there and you call a garage in St. John's.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Oh, yes, the Member finds it funny. But if it was a boat down in his district off the coast and someone was taking the fish out of it, or probably thinking there was too much weight in it, he would have another tune.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: But it is not funny, Mr. Speaker. It was not funny when this gentleman had to call the Royal Garage in St. John's and get a mechanic to come out and spend seven and a half hours changing a spring on his truck, out here in the middle of the winter, and he with a load of beer on. Now we all know they should obey the rules and regulations of the road, but to me, Mr. Speaker, that is harassment and it should not be tolerated in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave! By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, there are a few other comments I would like to make, but I do not want to take the time of my colleague, it is his resolution. One of the other ones I have to mention is this payroll tax and what it is doing to small business. We are talking about helping small business, creating jobs. What is the payroll tax doing to businesspeople in this Province? Ask the companies out there today, small and large, what they are doing. Go ask some of the consultants like I was talking to the other day what they have to do. They were going to hire an extra person or two, but they can not do it because they have to pay the payroll tax. And sooner or later this administration is going to have to address that. And I have a funny feeling, a funny suspicion that tomorrow they will be addressing the payroll tax in their Budget.

The amalgamation issue: What is that doing to municipalities in the Province? Mr. Speaker, I would venture to bet that if this is continued, the new grant system that the Minister and this administration has brought in, we will not get not fifty councils in this Province that will have a quorum (inaudible), or have anybody running for council in this Province. You just cannot do it. They are going to have to change it; they are going to have to come up with something new. And I will tell you that as sure as we are sitting here today or standing here today, if that grant system is not changed, it is going to bankrupt - not only won't they run, it will bankrupt municipalities in this Province, literally bankrupt them. But then, again, that is nothing new, because pretty well everything else is bankrupt, everything is going down the tube every day of the week.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take any more time from my colleague, but I could keep on going for a week on the bragging about the so-called economic situation of the Province and the good job they are doing. Mr. Speaker, it is time for this administration to sit up and stop listening to just the one man, who is sitting in the corner there -

AN HON. MEMBER: Right on.

MR. WOODFORD: - and start making decisions on their own, and listening to what their constituents are telling them. Because they are not listening, they are taking it from that one man, sitting in that seat.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have a few minutes just to clue up this debate and to respond to some of the things that were said by the two hon. gentlemen opposite who spoke. The Minister of Social Services in his speech - I guess you would call it a speech. He made a lot of noise, at least - was upset that I did not use my normal style which I am quite capable of doing, as hon. gentlemen know, and I no doubt will from time to time.

But as my colleague just pointed out, this is a serious debate. This is not a time for playing partisan politics, and I have no intention in this debate this afternoon of getting involved in that. This is a serious issue, and I am trying to make some serious points to the Ministers opposite, some of whom, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say are paying attention.

John Diefenbaker said one time in the House of Commons, it is a great, famous quote, he said: "When I am hunting elephants, I do not chase rabbit tracks." Well, Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Social Services, when I am hunting elephants, I do not chase fleas, either.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to get back to what I was talking about, because there are so many businesses in this Province that are having problems. The Minister of Social Services said well, you cannot blame that on us, do not blame the national recession on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and of course we do not. We are all feeling the effects of the recession; every Province in Canada is feeling it. We, in Newfoundland, feel it more than any other province in Canada because our economy is so fragile. We go down very quickly but we also come up very quickly. And the Government's own projections, as based in their economic review and forecast for 1990-1991, shows clearly that we will recover perhaps more quickly than the rest of Canada, as we can do because of Hibernia.

And we cannot blame the recession on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, but we can blame a lot more. We can blame the payroll tax on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. At a time when business and industry were feeling a recession, when they knew they were on a downturn, this Government introduced a 1.5 per cent payroll tax. And if hon. gentlemen opposite do not think that that is having a negative impact on businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador, then they are totally missing the boat.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you running for the leadership?

MR. WINDSOR: See? See? There is the degree of seriousness, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. WINDSOR: There is the degree of seriousness. The hon. gentlemen opposite, they are concerned that we have a dozen potential leaders over here, not one dictator like they have on that side!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: They are not allowed to consider any leaderships over there. If anybody ever breathed the concept of a leadership convention you would hear it.

MR. HEARN: We do not have to buy them, do we?

AN HON. MEMBER: Fifty-four grand a year.

MR. WINDSOR: Only one step behind Saddam Hussein in how he deals with people who threaten his leadership.

Mr. Speaker, outside of a payroll tax what do we see? A 2 per cent increase in personal income tax. That helped the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador. A 1 per cent increase in corporate taxes, Mr. Speaker. That is what this Government did for business and industry in this Province. Those are great moves forward -great moves forward.

MR. HEARN: Piggybacking the GST.

MR. WINDSOR: And the GST came in. And I say to whoever said that over there, the GST is good for business in this nation and it will make business and industry more competitive in the international marketplace and we will all see the benefits of it, and there is not an economist in Canada who will disagree with that. What we do not like is piggybacking RST on top of it. In fact, you are paying 13 per cent GST now. That was not announced in the Budget Speech.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: The Minister in his Budget Speech of last year made great to do about the fact that there are no taxation increases in this Budget. But we soon exposed him on that. People soon found out how many tax increases were in the Minister's Budget last year and what the impacts were on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly on businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Yesterday's Hansard is going to Labrador, anyway

MR. WINDSOR: The sales tax rate we are paying now. Speaker, is something that we are concerned about, and I warn this Government if they are considering broadening their tax base, and they can broaden the retail sales tax base, it is a very easy thing for him to do tomorrow, to say, ah, we will piggyback on GST all the way, we will use the same tax base as being used by GST - a political opportunity, and many people in this Province will blame that on the Government of Canada.

No question about it, there is a political opportunity here to drastically broaden the tax base and increase the taxes by about $90 million, Mr. Speaker. About $90 million they would gain if they were to do that tomorrow - if they were to do that. Mr. Speaker, even if they came clean and said because we are piggybacking and therefore picking up an extra per cent we will drop the RST rate back by 1 per cent. They are probably going to do that tomorrow and try to put forward an image to this Province of being great leaders.

AN HON. MEMBER: And we are.

MR. WINDSOR: Look what we are doing; we are lowering the tax rate to 11 per cent.

MR. HEARN: Who said that?

AN HON. MEMBER: Old wind bag!

MR. WINDSOR: Lowering the tax rate to 11 per cent, that is what they are going to say tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, I suspect, when all they are doing is saying we are putting it back to the 12 per cent it was last year. Because that is what it does in fact do. If they want to broaden the tax base, Mr. Speaker, to simplify it, I can hear the words coming out now. We are going to rationalize, the Premier said - rationalize - the tax regime in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are going to simplify it so there is no difficulty at the cash register. We will eliminate all this confusion. Anything that is taxable under GST will now be taxable under RST. He probably will not mention that he is going to pick up $90 million by doing that. He could lower the tax rate to 9 per cent, Mr. Speaker. He could lower RST to 9 per cent, broaden the tax base and be revenue neutral. Now a 9 per cent tax rate in this Province would stimulate the economy. That combined with lower interest rates, which was the announced policy of the Government of Canada last week in their Federal Budget, will increase consumer confidence, will stimulate the consumer to spend, will stimulate the businessperson to invest again in Canada, will stimulate investors from outside Canada to come into Canada, and will make us more competitive in the international marketplace. That is what we need to see, Mr. Speaker, to buoy up the economy in this Province, the money well directed, a tax regime that is designed to stimulate the economy not to choke it, as we have seen over the past one or two years. That is exactly what we have seen.

This Government is not responsible for the recession, Mr. Speaker. The Premier and the Premier alone is responsible for Meech Lake, and if hon. gentlemen opposite do not think that the action that the Premier took that day last June in scuttling the Meech Lake Accord is not having an impact on the economy of Canada generally, then they have their head in the sand, and the economy of this Province in particular. It is well documented, Mr. Speaker, that investors, the bond rating agencies, and the money markets of the world have increased by up to 1.5 per cent the cost of borrowing of Canadians generally, and that has a bigger impact on Newfoundland because of our high per capita debt, higher than any other province in Canada. I do not know what the Government will do tomorrow, but if they were to continue at an average rate of borrowing tomorrow for this next fiscal year, as we have been used to over the years, it will cost them an extra $7 to $10 million to borrow that money because of what is now known as the Meech Lake premium, and the Premier alone is responsible for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Not true?

AN HON. MEMBER: It is, so true.

MR. WINDSOR: It is absolutely true and that is only on what is being borrowed tomorrow. Now the President of Treasury Board will know that every year there is a certain amount of money that is going to roll over, that we will have to borrow again basically, or re-finance at the new interest rates and those interest rates would be 1.5 per cent higher as well; and if it is only 10 per cent of our $3 billion, then you have another $10 or $15 or $20 million increased interest costs because of the Meech Lake (inaudible), and I can, Mr. Speaker, lay that squarely on the shoulder of this Government.

There are other things that this Government will no doubt be looking at tomorrow in broadening the retail sales tax base, they may not go all the way; I suspect they are looking at taxing professional services, putting RST on professional services, on engineering fees, legal fees, accounting fees, that sort of thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), the GST did.

MR. WINDSOR: The GST is doing that, yes they are.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, this Government does it. GST is applied right across Canada. If every province in Canada were taxing engineering services and legal services, the Government would not have an argument, but they are not. If this Government adds 12 per cent on to the cost of those services, they have just made us non-competitive. Engineering work can be done outside of Newfoundland; a lot of legal work can be done outside, some invariably would have to be done here.

The hon. Gentleman opposite will know, the Minister of Mines and Energy will know, that one of the greatest achievements in the negotiating of the Hibernia deal, is that 50 per cent of the engineering work must be done in Newfoundland and I say to this Government if they are thinking tomorrow of putting 12 per cent on it, you can forget your 50 per cent of the engineering work; it will be done in Montreal. The 12 per cent will make us non-competitive.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oui, oui.

MR. WINDSOR: We will lose it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Non, non, monsieur.

MR. WINDSOR: If they are considering doing that tomorrow, then you are heading for trouble, let me tell you.

AN HON. MEMBER: No more control over that (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: And legal work the same way; legal work can be done just as easily in an office in Montreal as it can be done here. You can have a branch office here, just to flow it through but the work and the payroll and everything else will be done in Montreal. It will be billed in Montreal instead of here, the big national corporations that are paying the big legal fees will all be done through a Montreal office, to save 12 per cent, and why wouldn't you? Not only that, you will see a lot of engineering companies moving personnel out of here; we will lose a lot of our expertise and a lot of our legal expertise. People will move out of here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: The payroll does that now.

MR. WINDSOR: Well yes, that is right. My colleague next to me reminds me that the payroll tax in fact is doing that now.

Now, let me address the Economic Recovery Commission, Mr. Speaker. There are some good things to be said about it. There is some convenience there. There is some convenience - it is a one stop shopping. There have been a number of attempts over the years to try to simplify and streamline the structure for funding through Government programs, and there is some merit. I have some problems with it, but there is some merit in it.

The problem in it, Mr. Speaker, is that really it has accomplished nothing more than that. When the hon. gentlemen opposite stand up and talk about all the money that has been loaned out, the 1,500 jobs that have been created, I say they are being very misleading to the House - very misleading.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is being kind.

MR. WINDSOR: The Premier made a statement not long ago and the Leader of the Opposition responded to it, and he responded to it quite well, pointing out that many of the programs that were funded, projects that were funded, many of the jobs that were created, were created using ACOA money and had nothing to do with the Economic Recovery Commission. You are talking ACOA money. And I have looked through the list and I have talked with some of the companies, and they said, 'We had some advice from the Economic Recovery Commission, but the funding came through ACOA.' There might be some equity investment through NLDC, which has been done for twenty years probably. Not a new program, not a new initiative. Yes, the Minister can stand up and say, 'Well, the Economic Recovery Commission did that.' What he does not tell us is what the Economic Recovery Commission did that was not being done before. And the answer, Mr. Speaker, is very, very little if anything - very little.

We have an office here in the Crosbie Building or the Viking Building, I think, a business enterprise office or something, the Minister calls it. He had a great press release. He was kind enough to invite me to it, and I was not able to make it. That is a nice initiative. That is good for people coming in from outside the St. John's area, from rural Newfoundland, to have a place to go, to have an office, a fax machine and a typist and everything available. They could rent that. They could go down to the Radisson Hotel. There are fax machines and typists and everything available, and they could pay a couple of dollars for it. So, we have eliminated the cost of that. That is a nice touch. It is not going to create an awful lot of jobs because you have done it, but yes, it is an assistance to business. I cannot criticize it. Neither am I going to go jumping for joy over it. A nice touch. But other than that, regionalizing, my colleague talked about regionalizing, and the offices being there and being accessible in the region. We support that. I believe there are less regional offices of the Economic Recovery Commission than there were regional offices of NLDC. I think we have actually closed down a couple of offices. NLDC was in a number of places around the Province.

So there are probably I think less offices now than there were before, when you take NLDC and the development corporations which were there, and the regional offices of the Department of Development, and the regional offices of the Department of Rural Development. You take all of those regional offices and you find that now you have half a dozen somewhere scattered around the Province.

MR. WARREN: Labrador West is closing tomorrow.

MR. WINDSOR: Closing tomorrow? So you see, Mr. Speaker, that the Economic Recovery Commission has done precious little that would not have been done anyway. Incrementally is what I am talking. There has been no great advancement because of the Economic Recovery Commission. But we have spent a lot of money doing it. My colleague points out there are 170 employees taking home some $7-odd million. We have got some very luxurious offices, I am told, I have not been inside them. But I am told that they have some very luxurious offices.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: New Chryslers.

MR. WINDSOR: New Chryslers.

MR. MATTHEWS: Licence plate number A16....

MR. WINDSOR: A lot of political appointees are doing very well for themselves. But other than that nothing has been generated by the Economic Recovery Commission, absolutely nothing that would not have otherwise taken place at any rate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We got back one Blazer, we lost eight or ten in regional offices.

But, Mr. Speaker, I started to say earlier - there is only a moment left and I will have to try to clue up. But in spite of all this the message that needs to go out tomorrow in the Budget is that the economy is going to strengthen, that there are opportunities available over the next year, that we are going to have a growth of about 2.5 per cent, that inflation should be held down in check reasonably well, and that there is reason for optimism, that business and industry should get out there and invest and create some employment in this Province. And I say to this Government, Mr. Speaker, that they have to get out and help business and industry. Particularly, as I spoke earlier. I talked about the dilemma that business is facing now at the hands of the banks who have too much control over what is taking place, who are really kicking business now while they are down. And this Government either has to deal with the banks to change that attitude or put a programme in place which can help business and industry get out of the dilemma that they are now in.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Those in favour of the motion, please say 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: And those against, 'nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: In my opinion the 'nays' have it, and declare the motion defeated.

I do not know, hon. Members, if there are any instructions for tomorrow. None?

This House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.